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42-50291

B-24 Liberator

Classy Chassis II was one of two refurbished B-24 heavy bombers, being made ready for delivery when it departed Base Air Depot 2 (BAD2) at Warton on a test flight.

Due to an approaching storm, both aircraft were recalled, but by the time they had returned to the area over the airfield wind and rain had significantly reduced visibility.

On approach from, the pilot First Lieutenant John Bloemendal reported to the control tower that he was aborting landing at the last moment and would perform a go-around. Shortly afterwards, and out of sight of the second aircraft, the aircraft hit the village of Freckleton, just east of the airfield.

Already flying very low to the ground and with wings near vertical, the B-24's right wing tip hit a tree-top and was ripped away as it impacted with the corner of a building. The rest of the wing continued, ploughing along the ground and through a hedge. The fuselage partly demolished three houses and the Sad Sack Snack Bar that catered specifically for American servicemen from the airbase, before crossing Lytham Road and bursting into flames.

After part of the aircraft hit the infants' wing of Freckleton Holy Trinity School, fuel from the ruptured tanks ignited and produced another sea of flames.

52 people (the three crew members on the B-24, 34 children, one teacher, six American servicemen, one RAF airman and seven Snack Bar staff) died instantly, with nine others (four children, one teacher, an American serviceman and three RAF airmen) later dying in hospital from their injuries.

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 486th Bomb Group

    486th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 486th Bomb Group flew both B-24s and B-17s, swapping from the former aircraft to the latter in late July 1944 after 49 missions. In total the Group flew 292 missions during the war and remarkably the 834th Bomb Squadron lost no aircraft or...

  • 490th Bomb Group

    490th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 490th Bomb Group, like the 486th and 487th Bomb Groups transitioned from flying B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses, which were used in combat missions from late August 1944. Based at Eye, Suffolk, the Group were focused in the early months...

  • Base Air Depot 2

    Base Air Depot 2

    Group
    During 1942 to 1945 Warton Aerodrome was Base Air Depot No. 2, Station 582 of the U.S. 8th Air Force. In the three years it was active it processed over 10,000 aircraft and saw over 45,000 aircraft movements. Every type of American aircraft used in the...

  • 832nd Bomb Squadron

People

  • John Bloemendal

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | Base Air Depot 2
    Assigned to 2BAD, 8AF USAAF. Test pilot on B-24J 42-50291 'Classy Chassis II' which had completed an air test, when hit be lightning in a thunderstorm, having aborted it's landing at base. A/C crashed into the Frekleton school and adjacent snack bar....

  • Stanley Bond

    Military | Private | Airplane Mechanic-Gunner | 490th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 849BS 490BG, 8AF USAAF. Member of Borman crew. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME(2 battle stars).

  • Fred Borman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 490th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 849BS 490BG, 8AF USAAF. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • George Brown

    Military | Private | Base Air Depot 2
    Assigned to 2BAD, 8AF USAAF. Customer of Freckleton snack bar, severely wounded by crash of B-24J 42-50291 'Classy Chassis II'. Died of his wounds two days later. Died non Battle (DNB) Awards: PH.

  • Herbert Cross

    Military | Corporal | Base Air Depot 2
    Assigned to 2BAD, 8AF USAAF. Customer of Freckleton snack bar, killed by crash of B-24J #42-50291 'Classy Chassis II'. Died non Battle (DNB) Awards: GC, PH

  • Clarence Gill

    Military | Sergeant | Airplane Armorer-Gunner | 490th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 849BS 490BG, 8AF USAAF. Member of Borman crew. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Minas Glitsis

    Military | Private
    Assigned to to 10th Station Compliment, 8AF USAAF. Customer of Freckleton snack bar, killed by crash of B-24J 42-50291 'Classy Chassis II'. Died non Battle (DNB) Awards: PH.

  • Edward Healy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-pilot / Pilot | 490th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 849BS 490BG, 8AF USAAF. Member of Borman crew. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Donald Holbrook

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Airplane Mechanic-Gunner | 490th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 849BS 490BG, 8AF USAAF. Member of Borman crew. ETD Awards: DFC (OLC), AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Gordon Kinney

    Military | Sergeant | Crew Chief; Aerial Engineer | Base Air Depot 2
    Assigned to 2BAD, 8AF USAAF. Killed aboard B-24J 42-50291 'Classy Chassis II' which was being air tested, when hit be lightning in a thunderstorm, having aborted it's landing at base. A/C crashed into the Frekleton school and adjacent snack bar. Died...

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Places

  • Eye

    Military site : airfield
    Eye air base was not a Class A base but was constructed to a less demanding standard by the 827th and 859th Battalions of U.S. Army Engineers in 1943 and was finished in early 1944. Unusually, a group of its hardstandings were on the other side of the...

  • Sudbury

    Military site : airfield
    Situated between the villages of Great Waldingfield and Acton, the airfield was used by the 486th Bomb Group from March 1944 to August 1945. Facilities for administrative offices for the Combat Wing were also made available here and along with barrack...

  • Warton

    Military site : airfield
    Built as a satellite airfield for Squires Gate, it was earmarked for US use even before America entered the Second World War. Its location made it ideal for use as a depot station, where incoming US aircraft could be processed and moved on to active...

  • Freckleton

    Crash site

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned Eye, UK 1944

Assigned to 490BG, 8AF USAAF.

Assigned Sudbury, UK June 1944

Transferred to 832BS, 486BG, 8AF USAAF

Crashed Freckleton, Preston PR4, UK 23 August 1944

Crashed Freckleton after aborting a landing at base and flying through severe thunderstorm.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2019 17:16:36 Al_Skiff Changes to events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com/classychassis1.htm
http://www.b24bestweb.com/classychassis2.htm
http://www.b24bestweb.com/classychassis3.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freckleton_air_disaster
https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=17126
https://laituk.org/B-24%2042-50291.htm
https://bad2.co.uk/2017/08/10/the-freckleton-air-disaster/

Date Contributor Update
30 November 2019 18:24:07 Al_Skiff Changes to person associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freckleton_air_disaster

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2018 11:26:15 Emily Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

Freckleton Air Disaster

Date Contributor Update
17 August 2018 18:49:01 gfeindel Created entry with serial number, aircraft type and nicknames
Sources

486th bomb group web site

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