B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-31333 / Wee Willie

B-17 #42-31333 / Wee Williezoom_in

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


  • RCL: LG-W

MACR: 13881

Missions: 128


History of
B-17 42-31333 / Wee Willie

Delivered Cheyenne 22/10/43; Gr Island 3/11/43; Memphis 9/11/43; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-W] Bassingbourn 20/12/43; Missing in Action 129m Stendahl 8/4/45 with 1Lt Robert E Fuller (POW), 2Lt Woodrow A Lien, T/Sgt Francis McCarthy, S/Sgt Richard D Proudfit, S/Sgt Wylie McNatt Jr, S/Sgt Ralph J Leffelman, S/Sgt Willian H Cassidy, S/Sgt James D Houtchens, Sgt Lemoyne Miller (9 Killed in Action); flak hit between fuselage and #2 engine caused massive fire which detached the port wing, exploded in the resulting dive, crashed Stendal, Germany; MACR 13881; (oldest G in group) 1 x POW, 9 x KIA. WEE WILLIE.

Last updated: 22. July 2022


B-17 42-31333 / Wee Willie Details

Wee Willie was the oldest B-17G still in service with the 91st Bomb Group, and the next to last B-17 lost to enemy action by the group before cessation of hostilities. The War in Europe came to an end with the unconditional surrender of Germany just 31 days later, 8 May 1945.

Witness reports form MACR 13881:

We were flying over the the target at 20000 feet altitude when I observed aircraft B-17G 42-31333 to receive a direct flak hit approximately between the bomb-bay and the No. 2 engine. The aircraft immediately started into a vertical dive. The aircraft fuselage was on fire and when it had dropped approximately 5000 feet the left wing fell off. It continued down and when the fuselage was about 3000 feet from the ground it exploded, and then exploded again.when it hit the ground. I saw no crew members leave the aircraft or parachutes open.

S/Sgt. George Little
401st Bomb Sq., 91st Bomb Gp (H)

Sgt. Luke A. Pegoraro
401st Bomb Sq., 91st Bomb Gp (H)

I first obersved aircraft 42-31333, at about 3 minutes after bombs away. I did not see the aircraft at the time it was hit, but saw the fuselage and a wing which had broken off falling downward. The fuselage was on fire and I saw no crew-member leave the ship or parachutes open. The aircraft passed from my view at approximately 16000 feet altitude.

Sgt. Allen S. Bender, Jr.
401st Bomb Sq., 91st Bomb Gp (H)

B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie
www.americanairmuseum.com // B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie
www.americanairmuseum.com // B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie

B-17 42-31333 / Wee Willie Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Robert E. Fuller POW
CP 2LT Woodrow A. Lien KIA
ENG/TT S/SGT Wylie McNatt, Jr. KIA
RO S/SGT Ralph J. Leffelman KIA
BT S/SGT William H. Cassiday KIA
WG S/SGT James D. Houtchens KIA
TG SGT Le Moyne Miller KIA
TOG S/SGT Richard D. Proudfit KIA

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