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43-38272

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 14/7/44; Kearney 24/7/44; Grenier 8/8/44; Assigned 379BG Kimbolton 27/8/44; battle damaged Pilsen 25/4/45 with tail gunner Bill Meikle (Killed in Action); pilot Jim Blain, Grant White, Sid Messeri, John Brooks, Cliff Lager, Duffy Hornbeck, Bob Piva; mid air coll with 43-38178 (379BG); crashed Allied territory.

Service

Aircraft

  • 43-38178 Seattle Sue

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 4/7/44; Kearney 13/7/44; Dow Fd 20/7/44; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-P] Kimbolton 14/8/44; battle damaged Pilsen 25/4/45 with Clair Evans, Dennis Lang, Leland Slane, Bill Fanning, Bob Dobson, Vic Stewart (6 Killed in Action), Abe Teller...

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Units

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

People

  • James Blain

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B-17 338272 RTMC

  • John Brooks

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B17 338272

  • Duffy Hornbeck

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B17 338272 RTMC

  • Clifford Lager

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B-17 338272

  • William Meikle

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA). Pilsen, Czechoslovakia 25 April 1945. Mid-air collision. Only death on 'Thumper'.

  • Sidney Messeri

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B17 338272

  • Robert Piva

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B17 338272 RTMC

  • Grant White

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Plane went missing on 25 April 1945 Mission to bomb Skoda power Works near Pilsen, Mid air collision caused by flack is assumed, 7 men from crew returned to base safely. B17 338272 RTMC

Places

  • Kimbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned for RAF use, Kimbolton airfield was built by W and C French Ltd. in 1941. The airfield was increased in size to accommodate a full US heavy Bomb Group, and the first such unit to us it was the 91st Bomb Group, who arrived in September 1942....

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Germany 25 April 1945

Previous entry's for this A/C and 43-38178 (Seattle Sue) contain several inaccuracies which can be traced back to a mistake on the MACR for Seattle Sue which mixes the serial numbers. This can be verified by viewing a photo of the nose of Seattle Sue which clearly shows the serial number as 43-38178.

Blain piloted Thumper. The crew of Seattle Sue was the one with Evans as pilot. Two of that crew survived by bailing out (Norman Cooler and Abe Teller). Both were captured by the Germans and later returned to US Control.

Thumper was damaged in the tail section and the tail gunner was killed. Rest of the crew survived a crash landing in allied territory.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
30 September 2016 14:09:15 Lucy May Changes to description
Sources

Changed spelling of 'Meilke' to 'Meikle'.
See: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Meikle+&GSfn=willi...

Date Contributor Update
30 September 2016 13:36:28 Lucy May Changes to description, person associations and place associations
Sources

Information provided by Norman Cooler's nephew, Wes:
'Like many sources, your site has the crews of these two aircraft confused, most likely due to the fact that 1) they had a mid air collision and 2) the MACR on the two aircraft have the serial number transposed.'

'On mission 300 of the 8th Air Force, her last mission, Seattle Sue was piloted by Claire Evans. My Uncle, Norman Cooler, was the Flight Engineer no top turret gunner on that aircraft. I have a photo from the National Archives that clearly shows both the name Seattle Sue and the serial number 43-38178. My uncle, Norman Cooler, and Abe Teller both parachuted from the aircraft and survived. All other crew members perished when the aircraft crashed just past the target area southwest of Pilsen, CZ. I have been to the crash site and have photos of the wreckage taken just after the crash. I also have a photo of my uncle after his capture by the Luftwaffe.'

'The only crew member of Thumper to die was the tail gunner, Bill Mielke who was last seen in the wreckage in the tail of the aircraft. All other crew members parachuted from the crippled plane over allied territory and survived. '

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2015 18:05:10 EWCIII Changes to events
Sources

Personal research. See previous sourcing by me..

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2015 17:44:03 EWCIII Changes to nicknames and events
Sources

Based on personal research, including photos of Seattle Sue, the MACR for Seattle Sue, a personal visit to the crash site and personal papers of SGT. Norman B. Cooler.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:26 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 14221 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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