B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-31424

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31424

Manufacturer:
Boeing

MACR: 2062 / KSU/ME/KU: 702

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History of
B-17 42-31424

Delivered Cheyenne 1/11/43; Assigned 353BS/301BG Cerignola 30/12/43; Missing in Action {13m} Villaorba, It. 30/1/44 with Joe Perkins, Thigpen, Reynolds, Tracy, Oldroyd, Richardson, Weed, Gresham, Browning, Murphy, (fate ?); flak, crashed Udine; Missing Air Crew Report 2062.

Last updated: 17. August 2020

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B-17 42-31424 Details

Witnesses’ Statements from MACR 2062

424 was on bomb run, and as I was flying on its wing looked up after my bombs started to go to see if their bombs were leaving. I saw part of their frags leave, then a second or so later saw a few more leave, apparently the bombardier had to salvo a few. The bomb bay doors started to close, then there was quite a explosion. One of the bomb bay doors looked as if it were blown off and the bomb bays themselves looked as if they had been blown out. The A/C started to smoke considerably and started down. As I had a frag hung up in my own bomb bay, I didn’t wait around to observe any more, but went back to my own bomb bay. We had a hald cluster of frags hung up on our top left outboard rack, apparently the new shackle (A-10) it not suitable for carring frags, as one of the lugs of the bomb was hanging from one of the hooks of the shackle, and the weight of the bomb was not enough to release it. Later on our tail gunner (his statement follows) reported seven chutes had been seen coming from 424 and the A/C had hit the ground and was burning.

2Lt. Walter Buckpitt
Bombardier, B-17 #42-97526
Piloted by 1Lt. Albert M. Baldwin


We were on the bomb run when our bombardier called out that bombs were dropping from the A/C in question. After a moment the bombs stopped falling. A moment later they started again. Then I saw part of the life raft pass by our A/C. I immediately looked over my right shoulder and saw holes in the approximate vicinity of the upper bomb bay and also smoke pouring out of the radio hatch and the holes. One hole was at least a foot and one half in diameter. It looked to me as though it was an internal explosion. As the A/C passed under ours I noticed six chutes come out in quick succession. Then the A/C went into a bank and I saw another chute come out. There may have been more chutes but I was to busy watching fighters.

Sgt. Felton P. Pullin
Tail Gunner, B-17 #42-97526
Piloted by 1Lt. Albert M. Baldwin


I saw said A/C over the target smoking apparently from the right wing. The A/C left the formation and immediately six parachutes were to be seen. The A/C then dove about on a 60° angle for about thousand feet. The A/C then levelled off and another man bailed out. The rest of the formation was then rallying from the target on 170° heading. The A/C (424) was then headed about 200°. I followed the A/C with my binoculars and the smoke ceased. The A/C was very slowly losing altitude, and at the last view I had of the A/C, it was over the coast and still flying straight and level out to sea on the 200° heading, at about 14-15000 feet altitude. I was flying in the second group, No. 6 squadron, low on the left and made my observations with the aid of binoculars.

1Lt. Robert A. Cole
Navigator, B-17 #42-3392
Piloted by Capt. Thomas P. Duffy

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B-17 42-31424 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P F/O Joseph B. Perkins EVD
CP 2LT Gaylon S. Thigpen KIA
BOMB 2LT Donald L. Tracy POW
ENG/TT T/SGT John M. Oldroyd POW
RO T/SGT Roy E. Richardson POW
BT S/SGT David G. Wood POW
WG T/SGT William P. Gresham, Jr. POW
TG S/SGT John M. Browning POW
PHOTO SGT Paul J. Murphy KIA

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