B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-102560 / The Thomper

B-17 #42-102560 / The Thomperzoom_in

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


  • RCL: BG-X

MACR: 10840 / KSU/ME/KU: 3397

Missions: 62


History of
B-17 42-102560 / The Thomper

Delivered Cheyenne 14/3/44; Gr Island 1/4/44; Dow Fd 8/4/44; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-X] Horham 11/4/44; 62m, Missing in Action Merseburg 30/11/44 with Chas Wicker, Co-pilot: Alf Rivas, Navigator: Fred Johnson, Bombardier: Warren Briggs, Radio Operator: Gordon Bryce (5 Killed in Action); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Jim Robinson, Ball turret gunner: Jim Knighton, Waist gunner: Don Dale,Tail gunner: Ed Kobley (4 Prisoner of War); flak, crashed Merseburg, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 10840. THE THOMPER.

Last updated: 28. February 2021


B-17 42-102560 / The Thomper Details

Eyewitness Statement to the loss of 42-102560 ‘The Thomper’

B-17G 42-102560 piloted by 1st Lt. Wicker was first hit by flak in the fuselage near the bomb bay and the aircraft burst into flames. This occured at target at 1320 hours. At about 5000 feet below the formation the fuselage broke in half at almost the radio room. Two chute were seen to leave the aircraft.

Source: MACR 10840

Research about the picture

This is a very famous picture of B-17G #42-102560 named „The Thomper“ with the hole in the right wing and the tail gunner is firing his guns.

Only the date of that picture was unknown. I couldn’t find any sources which mention the date of that picture. Only known is the date of loss of „The Thomper“. – 30 November 1944.

But I found it now. Because of the damage in the right wing, I was very sure, that „The Thomper“ will be under repair after returning. And it will not fly any combat mission for a while. So, I checked the mission history and I found a break between 07 October 1944 and 25 October 1944.

Next, I checked the mission reports for 07 October 1944 and there it is in the mission report: „The hole is 5 ft. long and 2 ft. wide.“

With that result of research, I got the names of the men inside in this picture:

  • Pilot: Lt. Nelson E. Day
  • Co-Pilot: Lt. John J. Ferreter
  • Navigator: Lt. George C. Hood
  • Bombardier: Lt. Everett D. Andrews
  • Radio Operator: T/Sgt. Bernard Cooper
  • Top Turret Gunner: T/Sgt. David C. McQueen
  • Ball Turret Gunner: S/Sgt. James E. Minaghan
  • Waist Gunner: S/Sgt. Esker S. Downing
  • Tail Gunner: S/Sgt. William Ling

All survived the war and flew over 30 combat missions.

By the way: The camera ship is #43-38317 ‚Flak Evader‘ with 1Lt. W. G. Heim’s crew. Photographer was T/Sgt. Oscar J. Hunter.


B-17 42-102560 / The Thomper Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Charles C. Wicker KIA
CP 2LT Alfred Rivas KIA
BOMB 1LT Warren E. Briggs KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT James F. Robinson POW
RO T/SGT Gordon K. Bryce KIA
BT S/SGT James E. Knighton POW
WG S/SGT Donald C. Dale POW
TG S/SGT Edward J. Kobley POW

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