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P-47 Thunderbolt

P-47C-5-RE 41-6400 "Indianapolis" [QP:O] was assigned to 4thFG/334FS at Debden, UK. On 9-Sep-43 it was being piloted by CPT Vernon A. Boehle on a bomber escort mission. On return the aircraft sustained an engine failure over the English Channel and CPT Boehle ditched the aircraft in the sea and spent two days in a liferaft before being rescued by Air-Sea Rescue (ASR). No MACR was issued for this loss.



  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...


  • Vernon Boehle

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    A 71[Eagle] Sqn RAF Spitfire pilot, transferring to the 334th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF USAAF. ...

  • George Russell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Asst. Crew Chief | 4th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Assistant Crew Chief. One time Crew Chief for (then) Lt. Robert Dickmeyer. There is some confusion regarding middle initial - 'C', 'P' or 'F' ???


  • VIII Fighter Command FO-128 BOMBER ESCORT

    9 September 1943
    215 P-47s from: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; and 353FG are despatched is support of OPERATION STARKEY to escort the 330 bombers participating in VIII Bomber Command mission 94. This si the first combat operation for 352FG as they fly a patrol over the...


  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...


Event Location Date
Ditched English Channel 9 September 1943

Aircraft ditched into the English Channel after sustaining engine failure on return from a bomber escort mission.


Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 21:34:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to production block number, markings, description, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 5_Jun-2015. Made connections to Unit, PLace and Mission within existing website data; added Ditched event and crafted Description based on "The Losses of the 8th & 9th AIr Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2015 19:12:12 apollo11 Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, manufacturer, nicknames and person associations

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank Speer.