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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 16/11/43; Kearney 3/12/43; Presque Is 9/12/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-D] Deenethorpe 1/1/44; Missing in Action Evere A/fd 10/4/44 with Gaston Fox, Co-pilot: Francis Hoad, Navigator: Darrel Wilson, Bombardier: Leon Mendelson, Ball turret gunner: Don Van Booven, Waist gunner: Chas Sierra (6 Prisoner of War); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Allen Brown, Radio Operator: Duane Brandt, Waist gunner: Joe Gallas, Tail gunner: Cecil Estess (4 Killed in Action); enemy aircraft, ditched Channel, three miles W of Calais, Fr; Missing Air Crew Report 3939. FOOLS LUCK III.



  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 612th Bomb Squadron


  • Joseph Amber

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Togglier, Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. Don Currie crew. 38 x combat missions. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (1 x Battle Star).

  • Donald Anderson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator; Bombardier | 401st Bomb Group
    DFC/ AM w/ 5 Oak Leaf Cluster/ Unit Citation w/ Oak Leaf Cluster 1 Damaged

  • Clifford Barker

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Left Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Barker, a native of Yorktown, Ind., was a burly 6-foot-2 inch forward on the 1948 Kentucky team that finished the season with a 36-3 record, the national title and the nickname of the Fabulous Five. The other starters were Wallace (Wah Wah) Jones at...

  • Duane Brandt

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator / Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 56 x combat missions. Gaston Fox crew. Failed to Return (FTR) Evere A/D in B-17 42-31511 'Fool's Luck III'; Shot down, ditched in Channel, 3 miles W of Calais 10-Apr-44. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 3939 ...

  • Allen Brown

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. Gaston Fox crew. Shot down 10-Apr-44 in B-17 42-31511 'Fool's Luck III'. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 3939 Awards: AM (2OLC), PH.

  • William Chapman

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Right Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group

  • Rico Convertino

    Military | Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 32 x combat missions. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Harold Cyr

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Tail Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down during bombing mission over Brunswick, Germany 30-Jan-44 in B-17 42-37856 'Fancy Nancy III'. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2876 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Foster Dewees

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio operator | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 29 x combat missions. James Goodman crew. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Kenneth Dickerson

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Ball Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Shot down during bombing mission over Brunswick, Germany 30 Jan 1944 in B-17G #42-37856 'Fancy Nancy III. ' Killed in Action (KIA).

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  • 8th Air Force 176

    5 January 1944
    This mission consists of five elements: The first element is a combined force of 131 B-17s are despatched by 1st Bomb Division: 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 379BG; 384BG; and 482BG to bomb the shipyards and industrial areas of Kiel, Germany. 119 are...

  • 8th Air Force 182

    11 January 1944
    Three aviation industry targets in Germany are bombed. The bomber force consists of 291 B-17s despatched from 1st Bomb Division in two elements, one element of 177 B-17s is despatched to Oschersleben, Germany as the primary target, the other 1BD...

  • 8th Air Force 187

    21 January 1944
    This mission is directed at 36 V-Weapon sites (34 in the Pas-de-Calaise area and 2 in the Chrebourg area of France) 24 of these are bombed successfully. All three Bomb Divisions participate in the attacks and the bomber gunners claimed 5-1-2 of...

  • 8th Air Force 198

    29 January 1944
    The primary target for this mission was the railroad marshalling yards and industrial areas of Frankfurt, Germany. A combined force of 863 heavy bombers were despatched in three elements to make the attack. The combined bomber gunner claims on enemy...

  • 8th Air Force 200

    30 January 1944
    This mission has the aviation industry at Brunswick, Germany as the primary target. The mission is composed of a combined force pf 777 heavy bomber aircraft despatched in three elements: 1st Bomb Division; 2nd Bomb Division and 3rd Bomb Division. The...

  • 8th Air Force 206

    3 February 1944
    The port area and Naval facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany was the primary target for this mission. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Bomb Divisions all participated. ...

  • 8th Air Force 208

    4 February 1944
    The railroad marshalling yards at Frankfurt, Germany were focus of this mission, but other railroad marshalling yards in the area were attacked as well. Weather and navigational errors frustrate target acquisition.748 heavy bombers were despatched in a...

  • 8th Air Force 210

    5 February 1944
    German airfield in France are the targets for this mission. All three Bomb Divisions despatch aircraft. The combined bomber gunner's claims of all three Bomb Divisions were 5-0-5 (displayed with Chateauroux element of 1BD). Summary as follows: ...

  • 8th Air Force 212

    6 February 1944
    German airfields and V-Weapon sites in France are the primary targets of this mission. A combined force total of 642 heavy bombers are depatched from 8th Air Force 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions. The primary targets of 1st Bomb Division were the...

  • 8th Air Force 230 BIG WEEK - DAY 3

    22 February 1944
    The German aircraft industry is again targeted in Day 3 of BIG WEEK. A combined total od 789 bombers (maximum effort) are dispatched from 1st 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. Fighter opposition is heavy and bomber losses in 1st Air Division are massive - 39...

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  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...

  • Presque Isle Army Airfield

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Delivered Denver AAF, CO 16 November 1943

Delivered Denver AAF 16-Nov-43.

Crashed 3 miles W of Calais 10 April 1944

Failed to Return (FTR) Evere Airfield 10-Apr-44 with Fox crew; downed by enemy aircraft, ditched, three miles W of Calais, France; 6 x POW, 4 x KIA MACR 3939

Assigned Deenethorpe, UK

Assigned 612BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF.


Date Contributor Update
17 May 2022 12:58:36 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations

Date Contributor Update
14 September 2021 21:31:11 acbernstein1 Changes to mission associations

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2020 13:23:05 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, markings, events and unit associations

Date Contributor Update
19 January 2020 23:45:56 jmoore43 Changes to description

Added a space in front of the words "Tail gunner" in the A/C “Description” for clarity.

Date Contributor Update
18 January 2020 04:59:00 jmoore43 Changes to nicknames

Added the nickname mentioned in the A/C “Description”.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:38 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 3939 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database