8th Air Force, 55th Fighter Group, 38th Fighter Squadron
2/Lt. Albert A. Albino was a bit of a mystery to me for a few years. When I used to visit the town of Hoogeveen, The Netherlands at least a few times each month for work, and there was this large column standing next to a office building of sorts with a pice of a propeller perched on top of it. One day the pillar was blown away by a heavy storm and the prop disappeared. My Google-Fu failed to find anything about that prop or what had happened to it after that storm. I did find the story about that column, so I assumed somebody, probably the owner, took it home and it was sitting in a shed somewhere.
A few years I found myself at Hoogeveen railway station for one reason or another, and when I exited the tunnel passing under the tracks I noticed a peculiar looking statue right in front of the exit. It was the propeller I saw years earlier on that column. It now had a brass plaque informing people that the same tunnel I just walked through was the place where the P-38H (s/n 42-67051) “Spirit of Aberdeen” from the 38th FS, 55th FG, 8th AF with 2/Lt. Albert A. Albino as pilot had crashed into the ground.
But you didn’t answer the question! Why him?!
This part of the Netherlands has quite a few places where allied and german aircraft have crashed during WW2. But they are most often found in the less populated places. This is one of the few that I know of that is easily accessible, even if you’re just passing through the area by train. And the memorial has a slightly interesting story to it.
The plaque reads:
At this place, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning of the 55th Fighter Group of the US Air Force crashed in the afternoon of November 29, 1943, killing 24-year-old Second Lieutenant Albert A. Albino. Albino escorted allied bombers on that fateful day on a bombing mission to Bremen when he was shot down by a German fighter on his way home to England. The uncontrollable Lightning crashed right next to the station building between the tracks and disappeared deep into the ground. The pilot did not have the time to abandon his doomed aircraft. During the construction of the pedestrian tunnel in March 1978 this propeller was recoverd. Also, the remains of Albert A. Albino were found and transferred to his native Portland, Oregon, USA, and buried there.
- Station 131
- American Air Museum in Britain
- Historische Kring Hoogeveen (Dutch)
- Krant van Hoogeveen (Dutch)
- RTV Drenthe (Dutch)
- RTV Drenthe (Dutch)
- Eduard 1/48 Early Lightnings
- Hasegawa 1/48 P-38 F/G/H Lightning ‘Beautiful Lass’
- Hasegawa 1/72 P-38H/J Lightning ‘European Theatre’