Hamilton County


Lt. LeRoy Winfred Newby, Jr.



W. C. welcomes another new author with publication of ‘Target Ploesti’ book

Webster City, with a population of around 8,500 people and with a record 37 published authors, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, has added its 38th writer with the publication of a new World War II book, “Target Ploesti: View from a Bombsight.”

The author is LeRoy Newby, who has already received a commendation from the Fifteenth Air Force for his new publication that tells of Newby’s experiences as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator, the “Hangar Queen.” The plane was forced down while returning from its 50th and final combat mission over the oil fields of Ploesti, Romania.

Newby, the account manager at Webster City Products Co., kept a record of his tour of duty with the Fifteenth Air Force from Nov. 9, 1943, to that final mission Aug. 12, 1944.

Given Commendation

The Fifteenth Air Force commendation comments, “He has captured the spirit of the time and the excitement, or terror, of the Ploesti raids.

With so little available about our WWII exploits, we commend LeRoy Newby’s efforts to preserve a significant chapter of our history.”

The book has been selected as the feature book in August by the Military Book of the Month club.

Started 4-1/2 Years Ago

Newby started work on his book four years and six months ago, and tried for two years to interest publishers in the volume, until the Presidio Press accepted the manuscript. It will hit the bookstands in August.

The book will also be published in England by Arm and Armour Co. of London which also publishers military books.

The Webster City author joins the ranks of local writers who include the late MacKinlay Kantor, who won the Pulitzer price for fiction in 1956 with his novel, “Andersonville,” and Clark Mollenhoff who won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting in 1958 involving the Jimmy Hoffa conviction.

Newby met Monday noon with members of the media and the Chamber of Commerce at which time the publication of the new book was announced. Chamber of Commerce President Jo Abens said today, “We are very pleased that LeRoy Newby’s name has been added to the list of Webster City’s distinguished authors. Webster City can rightly lay claim to being the nation’s top city, population-wise, in producing authors. On a per capita basis, Cleveland, for example, would need 3,380 published authors and Chicago would need more than 15,000 to equal Webster City’s achievement.”

“Target Ploesti kindles the feel of combat as it takes you over the oil refineries of Ploesti in August, 1943, in Nazi-held Romania, where a mere 500 feet above the ground, 178 Liberators, including Newby’s Hangar Queen, bore in through flak and anti-aircraft fire to destroy Germany’s largest oil fields,” a brief review of the book states.

“Battling more than 100 Nazi aircraft and 400 artillery pieces, the Liberators carried out one of the most audacious—and important—bombing missions of the war.

“More than just a recounting of one mission and more than just another overview of the European air war, “Target Ploesti” is a stunningly powerful evocation of one man’s death-defying experiences that will pull you inside a Liberator—and into the Luftwaffe-infested skies above war-torn Europe.”

Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, famous air general, has said of the book, “The first time I have seen so well recorded the bombardier’s side of the story.”

World War II statistics indicate that the Ploesti raids were among the most costly of the conflict, with some 339 bombers lost and more than 3,000 airmen killed because of the heavy flak and aerial defenses.

Author, LeRoy Winfred “Ted” Newby, Jr.  US AIR FORCE

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - July 20, 1983

LeRoy Winfred ‘Ted’ Newby, Jr. was born Apr. 6, 1921 to Leroy W. and Hazel Z. Constance Newby. He died June 14, 2002 in Venice, FL.

Lt. Newby, bombardier on a B-24 Liberator (Hangar Queen) of the 460th Bomb Group (H), Fifteenth Air Force describes in detail his experiences with the U.S. Air Force in World War II with the publication of his books “Target Ploesti: View from a Bombsight” and “Into the Guns of Ploesti”.

The 460th Bombardment Group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for the 20 July 1944 mission to the Zwolfaxing, Airdrome in Austria.

Lt. Newby’s wife Nellebell Christman Nickel ‘Chris’ Newby was also a World War II veteran, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Source: ancestry.com; Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - June 17, 2002 and Nov. 5, 2002