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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Tulsa 8/2/44; Assigned 398BG - Rapid City 2/3/44; Grenier 14/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 24/4/44; no ops, transferred 549BS/385BG [XA- ] Gt Ashfield; Returned to the USA Bradley 26/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 29/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 20/11/45. VAT 69.

A bottle of Vat 69 is on display at the Mighty Eighth Museum. This caption explains why:
'The navigator suggested the name VAT 69 since this was the Scotch whiskey the crew drank at their parties... Fifty years later the 398th Bomb Group had a reunion in England at the site of the old air base. The distillery in Scotland found out about the reunion and sent a case of VAT 69 for the crew. This last bottle is reserved for the co-pilot who was killed in action.'



  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 398th Bomb Group

    398th Bomb Group

    The 398th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire on strategic bombing raids over Germany. The Group switched focus in the days before D-Day, when they targeted enemy positions on the Cherbourg peninsula. When the Allies...

  • 549th Bomb Squadron
  • 600th Bomb Squadron


  • John Rice

    Military | Major | Pilot | 398th Bomb Group
    Distinguished Flying Cross


  • Great Ashfield

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was built in 1942 by John Laing & Son Ltd. 108,000 tons of concrete was used in its construction, creating a Class 'A' airfield suitable for heavy bombers. The 385th Bomb Group took up residence in the summer of 1943, and remained at the...

  • Nuthampstead

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43, Nuthampstead was the nearest Eighth Air Force heavy bomber base to London. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied from September 1943 to April 1944 by the 55th...


Event Location Date
Delivered Tulsa, Oklahoma 8 February 1944
Assigned Nuthampstead Airfield, UK April 1944

385 BG


Date Contributor Update
22 December 2019 16:10:52 terveurn Changes to description

from record cards

Date Contributor Update
11 January 2019 20:45:00 466thHistorian Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames and events

B-17 Flying Fortress Story - Roger Freeman

Date Contributor Update
26 May 2017 15:38:39 Lucy May Changes to description, unit associations, person associations, place associations and media associations

Photos of display at the Mighty Eighth Museum were sent through by Chiles Cross.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:15 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log