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42-29591

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 12/1/43; Rapid City 21/2/43; Kearney 12/3/43; Salina 31/3/43; Memphis 8/4/43; Dow Fd 16/4/43; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-K] Alconbury 22/4/43; 2m, transferred 401BS/91BG [LL-Z] Bassingbourn 16/6/43; AFSC 15/4/44; Returned to the USA 4135 BU Hill Fd 22/6/44; 617 BU Tooele 1/3/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 13/11/45.

Before being transferred into the 91st on 16th June 1943, this camouflaged B 17F served with the 95th at Framingham. When the 95th transferred its base to Horham in mid June several of their Fortresses were re-assigned to other groups.
The plane had been known at Framingham as Easy Aces but it only flew on two combat sorties with the 95th on 11 th and 13th June. On the latter of these, one of the 8th Air Force's 'ace' gunners, Donald Crossley, scored his 4th and 5th fighter kills. The plane was transferred just three days later and it is probable that the title Easy Aces was only bestowed on the ship briefly for publicity purposes surrounding that event.

Once in the 91 st, the plane was assigned to the care of crew chief M/Sgt Bob Dalton and his assistant Jack Gaffney. Jack recalled the plane well, "After losing Invasion No.2, Sergeant Dalton was assigned a new plane 42-29591 and I was responsible for naming it The Shamrock Special after my step-father's Irish ancestry. I painted both sides of the nose section, a different girl on each side. Then, in October of' 43, while it was in the Sub-Depot hangar for repairs, I painted the 'Hollywood 337' girl on the right vertical stabilizer". The number was part of his home telephone number. "As far as I can establish this was one of the very few war planes with three different pieces of artwork on it". It certainly seems to have been unique amongst the planes at Bassingbourn.

In November, The Shamrock Special was struck while parked by a battle damaged Fort called, ironically, The Careful Virgin. Jack continued the story "The Shamrock Special was parked outside the 401st hangar on the grassy area near the taxi strip. I was working on some oxygen lines in the tail section. A small voice told me to take a break; I put it off but I could hear it again so I decided to drop out of the tail door. At that moment a 323rd plane was landing on the short runway, returning from a mission with its brake hydraulics shot out. It could not slow down enough to make the turn at the end of the runway and it hit the tail section of The Shamrock Special just as I was dropping out. I was thrown clear uninjured but shook up. The 323rd plane hit our ship with its No.4 engine, sending the prop dome through the 'Hollywood girl's' stomach and tearing hell out of the tail section, not very far from where I had been working".

Back to the Sub-Depot it went, where the plane was taken apart at No.6 bulkhead at the rear of the radio room and rebolted to the rear section from another plane badly damaged in the front.
On 30th December The Shamrock Special was put back into combat and completed another 12 missions - a tribute to the incredible skill of the ground crew who rebuilt her. In mid April 1944, the plane was reassigned to Air Force Service Command, and left Bassingbourn with 26 combat sorties to its credit.

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-24639 'Careful Virgin'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/9/42; Boise 16/9/42; wrecked on landing with broken crankshaft, rep; Cheyenne 11/10/42; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-W] Bassingbourn 29/1/43 and first in group to have AFCE fitted at 2 SAD Lt Staughton 8/3/44; transferred 7/5/44 50+m...

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Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • VIII Air Force Service Command
  • 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...

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 335th Bomb Squadron
  • 336th Bomb Squadron
  • 401st Bomb Squadron

People

  • Gilbert Carlson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 12 August 1943 in B-17 #42-3162 'Buccaneer'. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Donald Crossley

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 333BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF. Crossley was credited with 12 confirmed e/a kills. A record for 8th AF gunners. ETD Awards: DFC (OLC), AM (3OLC), GC, WWII Victory, EMEA, American Campaign.

  • Robert Dalton

    Military | Master Sergeant | Crew Chief; Ground Crew | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Jack Gaffney

    Military | Master Sergeant | Crew chief | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    In addition to his mechanic duties, Sgt Gaffney created "nose art" for seven different 91st BG Fortresses. He painted nose art for "Invasion II" (42-5070), "The Bad Egg" (41-24484), "The Sky Wolf" (41-24527), "Shamrock Special" (42-29591), "Destiny's...

  • Julian Hexum

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier / Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Julian Hexum married Janet Hegele before shipping out in December 1942 with the 91st Bomber Group. A bombardier/navigator with 322 Squadron he flew on some 25 missions and was awarded the DFC. ...

  • Forrest Seaver

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: DFC, WWII Victory, EAME.

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 62

    11 June 1943
    The harbour facilities, port areas and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. This is the largest number of heavy bombers yet despatched on a single mission - 252. This is the first mission flown...

  • VIII Bomber Command 63

    13 June 1943
    German naval facilities and port areas at Bremen, Germany and Kiel, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A formation of 151 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (21); 92BG (17); 303BG (27); 305BG (24); 306BG (28); 351BG (21); and 379BG (13) are to...

Places

  • Alconbury

    Military site : airfield
    Alconbury had been constructed as a satellite airfield for RAF Upwood and Wyton and was used by RAF Squadrons: Nos. 15, 40 and 156. In preparation for the arrival of American heavy bombers, the base was developed in 1942 with the runways extended. When...

  • 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...

Events

Event Location Date
Delivered Cheyenne, WY 12 January 1943
Assigned RAF Bassingbourn, UK 16 June 1943

91BG
401BS

Ground collision Bassingbourn, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8, UK November 1943

41-24639 'Careful Virgin' returned from sortie with combat damage and without brakes and collided with A/C. Rear fuselage was written off, a 'cut n shut' was performed with a rear fuselage from another B-17.

Repaired and RTD Bassingbourn, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8, UK November 1943 – 29 November 1943

'Cut and shut' repair, back on Op's on 30-12-43.

Returned Stateside Hill Field Rd, Layton, UT 84041, USA 22 June 1944

Returned to the USA 4135 BU Hill Field 22/6/44.

Transferred Tooele, UT, USA 1 March 1945

Transferred to 617 BU Tooele 1/3/45.

Assigned RAF Alconbury, UK

95BG
336BS

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2021 00:39:54 acbernstein1 Changes to description
Sources

http://www.91stbombgroup.com/crewphotos/shamrockspecial3.html

Date Contributor Update
30 June 2021 00:42:45 acbernstein1 Changes to markings
Sources

http://www.91stbombgroup.com/photo_history/shamrock.html

Date Contributor Update
25 September 2020 21:36:48 466thHistorian Changes to production block number
Sources

https://95thbg.mmsw.eu/aircraft/19

Date Contributor Update
25 September 2020 21:35:00 466thHistorian Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

"The B-17 Flying Fortress Story" - Roger Freeman
https://95thbg.mmsw.eu/aircraft/19

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2017 16:24:06 Al_Skiff Changes to media associations
Sources

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date Contributor Update
22 December 2015 11:14:23 Al_Skiff Changes to events and aircraft associations
Sources

B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Eighth Air Force By Martin W. Bowman

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 13:33:29 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

AAM DB Entry Correction.

Date Contributor Update
07 December 2015 23:14:14 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

AAM DB Entry.
http://95thbg.org/j3migr/95thbg-aircraft/95th-b-17-s-1942

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:22 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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