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12 August 1944

Official description

Not yet known


Not yet known

Mission details




Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator


This is an ANVIL [APHRODITE] mission (388th BG).The Navy supplies the Air Force with one of its radio controlled drones from Special Air Unit No1, a PBY-1 which was a B-24 modified for submarine patrol. The aircraft is packed with 24,240 pounds of Torpex, a new high explosive that was lighter and more powerful than the nitrostarch used on the previous APHRODITE missions. The jump pilot was Joseph P. Kenned, Jr., older brother of later President John F. Kennedy. Joseph was very familiar with the aircraft having flown over fifty missions on submarine patrol. The engineer selected for the mission was Sgt. Wilford J. Willey. They took off and brought the aricraft to an altitude of about 2000 feet near Dover, England. Once at altitude, they were to set the autopilot and arm the explosives. Col. Elliott Roosevelt, son of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States was flying directly above the PB4Y, nicknamed "Zootsuit Black" when the aircraft suddenly exploded in a blinding flash. Kennedy and Willy were both killed instantly, their bodies were never recovered.


  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped NA
Number of aircraft Sent 5
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 2
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Wounded in Action 1



  • David McCarthy

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator / Observer | 25th Bomb Group
    Served with 8th AF USAAF September 1943 - May 1944. ...

  • Robert Tunnell

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 25th Bomb Group
    Flew as camera chase plane for Anvil* bomber which exploded in front of the Mosquito causing an emergency landing at Halesworth. 12-8-44. ...


  • 42-3518 Lady Lillian

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 15/7/43; Rapid City 10/8/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 9/9/43; transferred RCM 803BS Sculthorpe /44; damaged by PB4Y explosion on APH mission 12-8-44; Salvaged 14/11/44. ...

  • NS569

    Chase camera A/C on Anvil mission to V3 long range cannon battery, Mimoyecques, France. Drone A/C explosion flipped NS569 up several hundred feet, knocking out the port engine with debris coming through the nose injuring the observer Lt Daniel J...

  • 42-110007 'Hedron 7'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned USAAF, B-24J 42-110007, re-designated as PBY-1 when assigned to USN, went on to be assigned to USN Special Air Unit No1 as Bu #32271. Utilised as remote controlled explosive laden flying bomb on Anvil* project. USN provides A/C and command...


Date Contributor Update
29 December 2015 16:46:05 Al_Skiff Changes to event

AAM DB Entry.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:07 AAM AAM ingest

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.