On the morning of Friday, July 16, 1943 a formation of B-24 bombers left Berka, Libya, on a mission to destroy the airport facilities at Bari, Italy. The planes belonged to the 513th Bomb Squadron of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group of the United States Air Force.
On the return flight from their mission the group encountered Italian Royal Air Force and German fighters. The Fyrtle Myrtle was shot down. Only three of the airmen were able to exit the plane before it crashed. Two of them, Cyrus F. Johnson Jr. and Edward T. Dzierzynski, were later interned in Camp 59 at Servigliano.
Aircrew of the Fyrtle Myrtle
In 2012, the Salerno Air Finders, a group of volunteers from the Italian organization Salerno 1943, explored the crash site of the Fyrtle Myrtle and published a report of their findings on the Salerno 1943 website. That report is now one of 25 investigations included in a newly published volume by Matteo Pierro entitled Salerno 1943: Gli aviatori, le storie, i ritrovamenti dell’Operazione Avalanche (Salerno 1943: The aviators, the stories, the findings of Operation Avalanche).