Skip to main content

IWM catalogue record

This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.

Second Lieutenant Donald A. Gaylord, a pilot of the 351st Bomb Group with the damaged fueselage of his B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-3532) nicknamed "Lucille Ball". Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for Publication'16 Nov 1943.' [stamp] and '293129.' [Censor no.]. Printed caption on reverse: 'PILOT RISKS LIFE TO KEEP FLYING FORTRESS FROM CRASHING ON ENGLISH TOWN. It has just been disclosed that a 23-year-old American pilot 2nd Lt. Donald A Gaylord of Waterloo, IA, risked his life to keep his badly damaged Flying Fortress, "Lucille Ball" from crashing into the centre of Ipswich, England, as the bomber returned from an attack on Gelsenkirchen, on November 5. Crossing the coast of England the Fortress was flying on a single engine and at 3,000ft Gaylord ordered the crew to bail out. He then set the bomber on automatic pilot on a course which would take it out over the channel but the automatic pilot was unable to keep the ship in level flight and it started a dive for the centre of the city. Gaylord, however managed to pull the bomber out of its dive at 200ft and belly landed in a field on the outskirts of the city. Associated Press Photo Shows: 2nd Lt Donald A Gaylord, 23, of Waterloo, IA, who risked his life to prevent his badly-damaged Flying Fortress, "Lucille Ball", from crashing into the centre of Ipswich.' Handwritten on reverse: 'Photo posed some time after incident, other photo shows wood braces under a/c.'



  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...


  • Donald Gaylord

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot
    Second Lieutenant Donald Gaylord from Waterloo, Iowa, was a pilot of the 351st Bomb Group, based at Polebrook in Northamptonshire from April 1943. During his second mission on 5 November 1943, Gaylord’s B-17 (serial number 42-3532) “Lucille Ball” was...


  • 42-3532 "Lucille Ball"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 21/7/43; Dyersburg 8/8/43; Assigned 511BS/351BG [DS-O] Polebrook 21/9/43; 4m battle damaged Gelsenkirchen 5/11/43 with Don Gaylord, crew ? (10RTD?); on return crash landed Ipswich (?) A/fd, Sfk. UK, Salvaged 7/11/43. LUCILLE BALL.


Date Contributor Update
08 September 2014 15:39:01 AAM AAM ingest

IWM, Roger Freeman Collection