Geschichte der
B-17 #42-31255 / Miss Liberty Belle

Delivered Cheyenne 12/10/43; Gr Island 22/10/43; Memphis 28/10/43; Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-O] Chelveston 4/12/43; detailed mission to Merkwiller, Fr. 3/8/44 with Tom Barnett, Co-pilot: D. Morrill, Navigator: J. Rutherford, Bombardier: E. Bonas, Radio Operator: Don McQueary, Ball turret gunner: R. Jasionowicz{died in base hospital from his injuries},Tail gunner: C. Naden (7 Killed in Action); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: F. Rowe, Waist gunner: F.Schmidmeister (2WIA); battle damaged over Saarbruken but on return crashed Wymington, Bedfordshire, UK; Salvaged 10/8/44. Missing Air Crew Report ? . LIBERTY BELLE.

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  1. von Jay Tischendorf am 28. Januar 2018 22:37 Uhr

    I believe there is a discrepancy with this report. Please refer to the B-17 aircraft 42-31408 report within this site at:

    I posted a comment there earlier today in reference to the older brother, Neil Curtiss, of my Uncle Bob. Bob was a WW II infantryman killed in Italy. Neil, piloting what I believe to be the real Miss Liberty Belle, died in a crash during or following a mission to Merkwiller. This is detailed in the FindAGrave post here:

    According to this posting, the other 8 crewmen of that ill fated flight, which was to be the 22 year old Neil’s final mission before returning home, all survived. According to my stepdad, Jerry Wiland, who served in the South Pacific in WW II and grew up with the Curtiss brothers in Kent, Ohio, Neil was able to hold the terminally injured aircraft steady enough and long enough for the entire crew, including the copilot, to bail out. My stepdad furthermore recounted that after the war each of those men visited Neil’s parents, who in the war had tragically lost both of their sons – their only children – to pay their respects.

    While it is certainly possible and perhaps likely there was more than one aircraft named Miss Liberty Belle, I doubt there would be two B-17s on the same mission. Based on what I knew of the story as a child, I am inclined to accept the 42-31408 report on this site, which is corroborates the FindAGrave account and fills in other details of my stepdad’s stories, as the correct version. I am hoping to locate and speak with children or other family members of the the crewmen who survived, in hopes of gaining further information. So many people in so many wars have made the ultimate sacrifice for this beautiful country. It is sobering to think that as time passes their names and stories will be lost… my thanks to whoever oversaw creation of this site , which adds much to the historical record of WW II and our nation.


    • von am 29. Januar 2018 8:10 Uhr

      This B-17 #42-31255 is from 305 Bomb Group. Neil Curtiss was in 92nd Bomb Group. So I believe #42-31408 is the right B-17 which he had flown on the fatal day.


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