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Thomas F Flemming

Military

Thomas F Flemming served as a pilot with the 323rd Bomb Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group.

From the 91st Bomb Group newsletter:
'Raymond G Barnes, Framington, MA, who like Flemming, was an original crew member of 1/Lt John R Stevens' 'Seattle Sleeper', says "luck" spared Flemming and him from going down with Stevens' crew on 26 Nov 1944 Altenbeken mission.'

'Flemming, their Co-Pilot, had been displaced by trainee CP 2/Lt Stanley F Johnson that day while Barnes had earlier been re-assigned to another crew after flight crews were reduced to nine. Though all of Stevens' survived, Barnes says the description of 'Seattle Sleepers'' fall in the Mar 1994 National Geographoc article, 'The Wings of War', justifies his enduring memory of sharing war-time luck with Flemming.
Reported by Barnes, whose phoned contact with Flemming's widow provided this report.'

Thomas F. Flemming flew 35 missions from Bassingbourn. His first mission was to bomb the airdrome at Metz/Frescaty, France on August 14th, 1944. This mission was flown in B-17G, #43-38083, "Happy Valley Express." Thomas's last mission was sometime in March of 1945.

Service

People

  • Max Shambaugh

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Max Shambaugh served as a pilot with the 323rd Bomb Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group, flying missions out of Bassingbourn, England.

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Units served with

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 323rd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31909 Nine-O-Nine

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 3/1/44; Kearney 12/1/44; Romulus 24/1/44; Grenier 29/1/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-R] Bassingbourn 24/2/44; 140m Returned to the USA 1321 BU Bradley 11/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 18/6/45; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 43-37540

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/4/44; Kearney 13/5/44; Grenier 24/5/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-B/Z] Bassingbourn 2/6/44; 100+m took part in POW return trips; t/o accident with Forrest Hunt at Merville, France 14/5/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 11/7/45; 4185...

  • 43-37913 Seattle Sleeper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 3/6/44; Hunter 13/6/44; Presque Is 28/6/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-T] Bassingbourn 29/6/44. ...

  • 43-38379 Margie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/7/44; Hunter 5/8/44; Dow Fd 20/8/44; Assigned 571BS/390BG Framlingham 2/9/44; transferred 323BS/91BG [OR-O] Bassingbourn 10/9/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 21/5/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 3/6/45; Reconstruction...

Missions

  • 552

    14 August 1944

  • 568

    24 August 1944

  • 570

    25 August 1944

  • 591

    30 August 1944
    End of Operation Overlord.

  • 605

    5 September 1944

  • 614

    9 September 1944
    A burst of flak put a big hole in the nose throwing glass in Antonacci's eyes. Other hits were in the wing and tail. One went through the waist and exploded an oxygen bottle.

  • 628

    13 September 1944

  • 644

    21 September 1944

  • 647

    25 September 1944

  • 648

    26 September 1944

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Associated Place

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

  • Columbus Army Flying School

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Born Pennsylvania, USA 18 October 1918
Enlisted Miami Beach, FL, USA 4 February 1943
Died Fort Myers, FL, USA 30 September 1994
Mission Story #1

Tom spoke mostly of how lucky he was to make it through 35 mission. One story in particular demonstrates how much of a factor "luck" was.
"He never said what mission it was on, only that it was with Lt. John Stevens as first pilot, Tom was CP. They were taking a lot of FLAK on the way to the target. One of the engines was hit and started loosing oil pressure. The oil pressure gauge was kind of bouncing around so Tom bent down to tape it and have a look. Just as he did that, a FLAK burst happened straight ahead and came through the wind screen. A baseball size piece of FLAK embedded itself in the head rest of the seat where Tom's head had been before he bent down."

Other stories that Tom told were lighthearted. One in particular exemplifies how even in the face of danger the crews retained their sense of humor...

" From time to time, members of the regular crew were pulled from missions to make way for training of replacements. The replacements flew with the experinced crews first to get some combat time before being on their own. One such mission, resulted in a few laughs at the expence of a newbee...Tom never said what mission it was on, however, approaching the target, the newbee proclaimed , "Hey Skipper, it looks like we got a thunderstorm out ahead!". One of the gunners got on the intercom and said, "You dumbass, that's FLAK!""

They said at times the FLAK was so thick it looked like you could walk on it.

Buried Bushnell, FL 33513, USA

At Florida National Cemetery

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 June 2018 17:03:57 SeattleSleeper Changes to mission associations
Sources

Lt. Thomas F. Flemming records

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2016 17:12:07 SeattleSleeper Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Lt. Thomas F. Flemming

Date Contributor Update
16 September 2016 18:03:18 SeattleSleeper Changes to events
Sources

As related verbally to son Terrence E. Flemming

Date Contributor Update
16 September 2016 18:01:51 SeattleSleeper Changes to events
Sources

As related verbally to son Terrence E. Flemming

Date Contributor Update
16 September 2016 17:57:00 SeattleSleeper Changes to biography
Sources

As related to Terrence E. Flemming (Son)

Date Contributor Update
22 July 2016 15:25:26 Lucy May Changes to service number
Sources

NARA enlistment record: https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=1&cat=all&tf=...

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=flemming&GSfn=thom...

Date Contributor Update
22 July 2016 15:24:39 Lucy May Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and media associations
Sources

91st Bomb Group Association:
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Guestbook/gbook38.html
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Ragged_Irregular/RI_1995_July_V28_N3.pdf

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