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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 17/3/44; Kearney 1/4/44; Dow Fd 14/4/44; Assigned 708BS/447BG [CQ-] Rattlesden 22/4/44; returned from Caen 6/6/44 with Phil Chase, Co-pilot: George Phillips, Navigator: Francis PrendercastWounded in Action, Bombardier: George Betker, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dave Portnoy, Radio Operator: Marion Cherry, Ball turret gunner: Lew Domond, Waist gunner: Elmer Price, Waist gunner: Sumner Stacey,Tail gunner: Maynard Smith (10 Returned to Duty); landed too fast and skidded off runway with full bomb load; Salvaged 6/6/44.

While returning from a mission over Caen on 6 June 1944 at 23:49PM, D-Day, B-17 (serial number 42-102591) nicknamed "Cactus Pete" called for landing instructions and was advised to land at Rattlesden. The aircraft landed too fast and skidded into B-17 (serial number 42-31104). Despite the fact it was still carrying its bomb load, the aircraft did not explode, though all 10 members of the crew were wounded in action.

The origin of the name "Cactus Pete" is not fully known, but it is assumed to be named by the Philip Chase crew, and possibly was a nickname for Lt. Chase, who was a transplant to Southern California.



  • 42-31104 Stinky

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/9/43; Harvard 5/10/43; Assigned 708BS/447BG [CQ-C] Rattlesden 19/11/43; returned from Caen 6/6/44 with Gerald Carter, Co-pilot: John Zannett, Navigator: Dale Kelly, Bombardier: Lester Frantz, Flight engineer/top turret gunner:...

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  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 708th Bomb Squadron


  • George Betker

    Military | First Lieutenant | 447th Bomb Group

  • Robert Boudon

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 334BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Philip Chase

    Military | First Lieutenant | 447th Bomb Group

  • Marion Cherry

    Military | 447th Bomb Group

  • Lewis Dumond

    Military | 447th Bomb Group

  • Raymond Gaswint

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down at Ohlum on 6/18/44 in B-17 #4337714 POW

  • Mark Golden

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down at Ohlum on 6/18/44 in B-17 #43-37714, Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • James McColgan

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier | 447th Bomb Group
    Lt. James A. McColgan was the third of 9 siblings: Joseph, Mary, August, Andrew, John, Patrick, Patricia, and Timothy. Jimmy went to Mount Saint Josephs School then the City College of Baltimore, joining the Maryland National Guard in 1935 while in HS...

  • George Phillips

    Military | First Lieutenant | 447th Bomb Group

  • David Portnoy

    Military | 447th Bomb Group

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  • 394

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


  • Rattlesden

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the Eighth Air Force in 1942, Rattlesden had three concrete runways, 50 hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. Intended to be a twin-engine B-26 bomber base, it was originally a satellite for nearby Rougham, and first occupied from...


Event Location Date
Crashed Rattlesden 6 June 1944


Date Contributor Update
13 December 2020 03:05:28 pamccolgan Changes to description


Date Contributor Update
26 September 2020 00:07:21 pamccolgan Changes to media associations

From 447 pictorial History

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2020 02:40:54 phil marchese Changes to production block number, markings and description

Noted finish from block notes.

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2020 02:38:42 phil marchese Changes to description

Conformed narrative.

Date Contributor Update
18 January 2019 16:03:39 Emily Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events, aircraft associations, unit associations and person associations

Bishop & Hey, Losses of the 8th and 9th

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:10 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log