B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-5908

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-5908


MACR: 3069


History of
B-17 42-5908

Delivered Long Beach 30/4/43; Smoky Hill 6/5/43; Sioux City 19/5/43; Smoky Hill 10/6/43; Presque Is 14/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 16/6/43; Missing in Action 29/7/43 with Heywood Curling, Co-pilot: John Greene, Navigator: Bill Koffman, Bombardier: Bill Gray, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Tom Willis, Radio Operator: Steve Molnar, Ball turret gunner: Alex Gadding, Waist gunner: Hobart Perry, Waist gunner: Larry Holmborn,Tail gunner: Francis Kierszak (10 Killed in Action); coll with 42-30370 (96BG), crashed North Sea, off Cromer, Nfk.; Missing Air Crew Report 3069.

Last updated: 10. July 2021


B-17 42-5908 Details

Mid-air-collision with B-17 #42-30370 Little Caesar on 29 July 1943

S-2 Interrogation

Lt. Curling was flying lead of the low squadron in ship #908. The group was composite formation between the 96th and 388th, the ship of the 96th Group composing the lead squadron, the lead element of the hight group, and one or two of the ships on the second element of the high group. The low squadron was entirely composes of 388th ship.

Lt. Curling bombed the target in formation and stayed with and returned with the formation until it was nearly to the English Coast. At a point approximately three miles off Cromer, when the ships were at approximately 2500 feet, the left wing ship of the second element of the lead squadron slid over on-top of Lt. Curling’s ship and then either lost altitude or Curling’s ship gained altitude, or both. At any rate, the two ships collided, one ship broke on half and both fell into the sea flaming. No members from this crew have been rescued and it is assumed that all were killed. Lt. Curling was completing his third mission at the time of the mishap.

Source: MACR 3069


B-17 42-5908 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Heywood Warren Curling Jr. KIA
CP 2LT John Etheridge Greene KIA
BOMB 2LT William Emery Gray KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Steve Molnar KIA
RO T/SGT Thomas Howard Willis KIA
BT S/SGT Alexander J. Gadding KIA
WG S/SGT Hobart Ellsworth Perry KIA
WG SGT Laurence Gust Holbom KIA
TG S/SGT Francis Edmund Kierszh KIA

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