Clyde O. Primrose, Jr.
Clyde Odis Primrose, Jr. was a young lad of 19 when he entered the United States Army in 1942. He had grown up on a farm near Hemphill, Texas, the oldest of what would eventually be eleven children his mother and father would rear. The family had no electricity or running water, but they had each other and a wonderful work ethic. From the first time he saw an airplane in the sky as a young child, he wanted to fly. As did thousands of others, Odis answered his nation’s call and joined the Army, with only a dream that he could somehow make it through cadet training, mechanics training, flight school, and advanced training and become a pilot. By sheer hard work and determination, he competed with college educated men, and did indeed become a flight cadet, earn his wings, and eventually see service as a co-pilot on a B-24 heavy bomber.
By 1944, Flight Officer, and then later, 2nd Lt. Clyde Odis Primrose, Jr. was an experienced pilot, having flown many missions out of Italy. On July 15, 1944, Lt. Primrose was flying co-pilot in the lead aircraft of the 450th Bomb Group, 47th Wing, 15th Air Force. The oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania were to be bombed again this day from 21,000 feet. The flak was heavy, and while on its bombing run, Lt. Primrose’s B-24H was hit near the bomb bay and exploded. The plane’s pilot, Lt. Col. William Snaith was somehow blown clear, and managed to pull his parachute rip cord. Col. Snaith was the only survivor of the event. Lt. Primrose and the rest of the crew were lost.
Submitted by Lt. Primrose’s brother, William E. Primrose, May 23, 2009
Did you or a family member serve in the Army Air Forces during World War II? Please contribute your own biography, or that of a loved one, to the Keep ‘em Flying memorial at the AAF Collection. Contact the curator for details.