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42-8531

P-47 Thunderbolt

P-47 Thunderbolt Serial 42-8531 assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group/ 352nd Fighter Squadron was flown on D-Day, 6 June 1944 by Lt Clifford F. Armstrong.

Service

Units

  • 353rd Fighter Group

    353rd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 353rd Fighter Group was assigned to the Eighth Air Force on 7 June 1943. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, and from October 1944, P-51 Mustangs, as escorts for bombing missions across occupied Europe and to strafe targets on the ground. Tactical...

  • 352nd Fighter Squadron

People

  • Clifford Armstrong

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    A 1938 graduate of Coeymans High School, Clifford Armstrong enlisted in the Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in January 1942. Assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group / 352nd Fighter Squadron in England as a P-47 pilot. He flew fighter escort for 8th Air...

  • Glenn Duncan

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer of 353rd Fighter Group | 353rd Fighter Group
    Glenn E Duncan joined the 353rd Fighter Group in March 1943 as Group Executive Officer. He claimed 19 victories until he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the Group in November 1943. ...

  • Reavy Giles

    Military | Captain
    Assigned to Headquarters Detachment, 384th Bomb Group and detailed as Group Assistant Operations Officer on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #157 dated 30 November 1943.

  • Loren McCollom

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer, Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Liutenant Colonel (LTC) Loren G. McCollom served as the Commanding Officer of the 353rd Fighter Squadron at Metifield UK from 18-Aug-43 to 25-Nov-43. ...

  • Gordon Willits

    Military | Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot, Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) Hit trees and crashed near Bad Zwischenahn in P-47 #4222768

Missions

  • 395

    6 June 1944
    D-Day. Start of Operation Overlord.

Places

  • Metfield

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, Metfield had three concrete runways, 39 pan plus 15 loop hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied by the 353rd Fighter Group, equipped with P-47s, from August 1943 to...

  • Raydon

    Military site : airfield
    Although never used as such, Raydon was built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, with three concrete runways, 50 loop and one pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Initially on loan to the Ninth Air Force, it was first...

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned 7 September 1943

SX-C
The following is posted with grateful thanks to Lt Col. McCollom’s daughter, Patty McCollom Bauchman.
A/C 42-8531 P-47D-5-RE. This olive drab Thunderbolt appears to have come into the Squadron in early September 1943. Lt Col. Loren “Mac” McCollom took it as his personal aircraft and named it “Butch II” for his wife. As commander of the 61st FS, 56th Fighter Group, McCollom called his P-47 “Butch.” His daughter Patty explains that “Butch” was her father’s humorous nickname for her mother – a very diminutive, feminine and educated woman who you could never imagine calling “Butch.” When he left the 56th to join the 353rd, McCollom’s old P-47 would likely have remained on the 56th books and the natural thing to do would be to call the new 353rd aircraft “Butch II.” It seems that “Butch II” was disappointingly unreliable in the air. McCollom’s diary for the time recorded that “she’s a little rough I’m afraid” on September 7, 1943 and then “Butch II is still a little rough and not as fast as Butch” on the following day. McCollom’s frustration was evident in his diary entry for October 20 writing “[I] had to come back because she overheated. I’m going to have to give Butch II up. She’s just not dependable.” To add to these problems, Glenn Duncan had lost a wingtip from the aircraft in combat on September 23, 1943 so you can imagine that McCollom was probably not sorry to lose the aircraft.
After McCollom, the aircraft then became the assigned aircraft of Lt. Gordon L. Willits, but there are few records indicating that he ever flew it operationally. It did receive further battle damage while being flown by Major Bill Bailey on December 1, 1943. By the time records do become more comprehensive in January, 1944 it seems a variety of 352nd Squadron pilots flew it, but with no regular pilot it perhaps had a poor reputation in the Squadron. It last flew operationally with the Squadron on March 6, 1944 in the hands of Lt. Clifford F. Armstrong and probably left the Group soon after this date. There are no details about the ground crew for SX-C.
The aircraft shows up twice in subsequent accident reports after leaving the Group. The first is an accident at the hands of Reavy H. Giles while landing at RAF Woodchurch on April 23, 1944. The second was taxiing accident by Ansel J. Wheeler of the 373rd Fighter Group at Le Culot (A-89) on December 10, 1944.
Just as a final note on SX-C – the coding was only used once in the Squadron during the entire war. Inevitably this fact has brought some speculation that it was not used again as a tribute to Lt. Col. McCollom who was brought down by flak on the mission of November 25, 1943 to become a POW. This now seems unlikely to me as McCollom, it would appear, had given up the aircraft at some point in late October. Roger Freeman in his 56th Fighter Group (Oxford, 2000), p.21 also describes British Air Ministry recommendations not to use “C” in aircraft codes. This seems a much more plausible reason for the lack of “C” in the Group though I have no further information on this at this stage.

Landing Accident Woodchurch, UK 23 April 1944

Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8531).
Organization: / BAD1 of Burtonwood, Lancashire.
Pilot: Giles, Reavy H.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Woodchurch/Sta 419 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2018 21:26:32 Will Willits Changes to events, person associations and place associations
Sources

Source https://353rdfightergroup.wordpress.com/352nd-fs/

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2018 21:13:12 Will Willits Changes to nicknames and events
Sources

SX-C
The following is posted with grateful thanks to Lt Col. McCollom’s daughter, Patty McCollom Bauchman.
A/C 42-8531 P-47D-5-RE. This olive drab Thunderbolt appears to have come into the Squadron in early September 1943. Lt Col. Loren “Mac” McCollom took it as his personal aircraft and named it “Butch II” for his wife. As commander of the 61st FS, 56th Fighter Group, McCollom called his P-47 “Butch.” His daughter Patty explains that “Butch” was her father’s humorous nickname for her mother – a very diminutive, feminine and educated woman who you could never imagine calling “Butch.” When he left the 56th to join the 353rd, McCollom’s old P-47 would likely have remained on the 56th books and the natural thing to do would be to call the new 353rd aircraft “Butch II.” It seems that “Butch II” was disappointingly unreliable in the air. McCollom’s diary for the time recorded that “she’s a little rough I’m afraid” on September 7, 1943 and then “Butch II is still a little rough and not as fast as Butch” on the following day. McCollom’s frustration was evident in his diary entry for October 20 writing “[I] had to come back because she overheated. I’m going to have to give Butch II up. She’s just not dependable.” To add to these problems, Glenn Duncan had lost a wingtip from the aircraft in combat on September 23, 1943 so you can imagine that McCollom was probably not sorry to lose the aircraft.
After McCollom, the aircraft then became the assigned aircraft of Lt. Gordon L. Willits, but there are few records indicating that he ever flew it operationally. It did receive further battle damage while being flown by Major Bill Bailey on December 1, 1943. By the time records do become more comprehensive in January, 1944 it seems a variety of 352nd Squadron pilots flew it, but with no regular pilot it perhaps had a poor reputation in the Squadron. It last flew operationally with the Squadron on March 6, 1944 in the hands of Lt. Clifford F. Armstrong and probably left the Group soon after this date. There are no details about the ground crew for SX-C.
The aircraft shows up twice in subsequent accident reports after leaving the Group. The first is an accident at the hands of Reavy H. Giles while landing at RAF Woodchurch on April 23, 1944. The second was taxiing accident by Ansel J. Wheeler of the 373rd Fighter Group at Le Culot (A-89) on December 10, 1944.
Just as a final note on SX-C – the coding was only used once in the Squadron during the entire war. Inevitably this fact has brought some speculation that it was not used again as a tribute to Lt. Col. McCollom who was brought down by flak on the mission of November 25, 1943 to become a POW. This now seems unlikely to me as McCollom, it would appear, had given up the aircraft at some point in late October. Roger Freeman in his 56th Fighter Group (Oxford, 2000), p.21 also describes British Air Ministry recommendations not to use “C” in aircraft codes. This seems a much more plausible reason for the lack of “C” in the Group though I have no further information on this at this stage.

Date Contributor Update
12 July 2017 19:08:55 bombercommand Changes to events
Sources

http://www.8thafhs.org/new/get_one_mission.php?mission_id=874

Date Contributor Update
12 November 2015 14:59:57 ED-BB Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, markings, description, unit associations, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

https://353rdfightergroup.wordpress.com/

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