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42-31812

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 24/12/43; Kearney 7/1/44; Grenier 24/1/44; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-H] Bassingbourn 20/2/44; (completed first 44 missions on original engines for which crew chief Jack Gaffney awarded Bronze Star). Missing in Action on its 53rd mission, to Leipzig 20 July 1944 with Pilot Charles E. Van Ausdall; Navigator: Richard D. Loomis; Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Charles E. Sullivan; Tail gunner: Vernon Winters (4 Killed in Action). Co-pilot: Joseph F. Sammon; Bombardier: John R. Butler Jr; Radio Operator: Richard H. Hamilton; Ball turret gunner: Anson M. Riley; Waist gunner: Winton W. Blevins Jr (5 Prisoner of War). Hit by Me 109s which KO’d engine #4 and riddled ship. Crashed near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany. Missing Air Crew Report 7281. DESTINY'S CHILD. Note : MACRs 7281 and 7283. Confusion in the MACR and German KU reports about #42-31812 and #43-37624, shot down the same day, 20 July 1944. MACR 7281, linked to #42-31812 has translations of the German KU 2526 report ( https://catalog.archives.gov/id/147890293 ) which mentions aircraft letters as LL-P (which is #43-37624) and LL-H (#42-31812). Names of both planes’ crews appear in MACR 7281, most of them concerning Lt Fusco’s crew from #43-37624… Page 17 of MACR 7283 for #43-37624 has #42-31812’s Radio Operator Hamilton’s name as part of the Fusco crew… German report AV-1215/44 on pages 205 and 206 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/18238571 about the death of Navigator Loomis of #42-31812 has that plane’s crash location near Chemnitz-Borna. On the other hand, MACR 7283 (linked to 43-37624) refers to KU-865A ( https://catalog.archives.gov/id/142687464 )… where #42-31812’s Radio Operator’s name (page 3) and dog tag (page 9) appear, although he’s not listed on the MACR 7283 page where all the names and home addresses of the Fusco crew are listed… On many of the German records pages, #43-37624 is mentioned as crashed near Sankt Egidien, 6km SE of Glauchau (27km West of Chemnitz).

Service

Units

  • 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...

  • 401st Bomb Squadron

People

  • Winton Blevins

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Prisoner of War (POW). Shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna on 20 July 1944 in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812. MACR 7281. (See note on the Aircraft Biography page)

  • John Butler

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna on 20 July 1944 in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812. Prisoner of War (WAR). MACR 7281. (See note on the Aircraft Biography page).

  • 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...

  • Richard Hamilton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Richard Hamilton flew 9 missions as Radio Operator/Gunner. Shot down in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812 on 20 July 1944. Plane crashed near Chemnitz-Borna after being hit by fighters. Prisoner of War (POW) from July 20, 1944 to April 24, 1945. After...

  • Richard Loomis

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812 was shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna on 20 July 1944. Navigator Richard Loomis was found dead in Bahrmühle, near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 7281.

  • Anson Riley

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Anson Riley was Ball Turret Gunner on B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812 shot down by fighters. Crashed near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany on 20 July 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 7281.

  • Joseph Sammon

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany on 20 July 1944 in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812. Badly wounded in the lungs, he was hospitalized in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, near Chemnitz before being sent to Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan/Zagan...

  • Charles Sullivan

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA). Shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812.

  • Charles Van Ausdall

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed In Action (KIA). Died in hospital in Wiltgensdorf, NW of Chemnitz, Germany, after the crash of B-17 #42-31812 "Destiny's Child", near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany. MACR 7281.

  • Vernon Winters

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA). Shot down by fighters and crashed near Chemnitz-Borna on 20 July 1944 in B-17 "Destiny's Child" #42-31812. MACR 7281. (See note on the Aircraft Biography page)

Missions

  • 484

    20 July 1944
    A rough one. Bombed an oil refinery near Leipzeig. Flak put several holes in the plane; ine in number 3 gas tank. Came back on 3 engines.

Places

  • 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
Failed to Return (FTR) Germany 20 July 1944

Hit by enemy fighters, crashed near Chemnitz-Borna, Germany

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 July 2021 14:04:34 acbernstein1 Changes to markings
Sources

http://www.91stbombgroup.com/nose_artists/gaffney.html

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2020 10:44:26 ED-BB Changes to description and events
Sources

MACRs 7281 and 7283. Corrected #42-31812 crash location. Confusion in the MACR and German KU reports about 42-31812 and 43-37624, shot down the same day, 20 July 1944. MACR 7281, linked to 42-31812 has translations of the German KU 2526 report ( https://catalog.archives.gov/id/147890293 ) which mentions aircraft letters as LL-P (which is 43-37624) and LL-H (42-31812). Names of both planes’ crews appear in MACR 7281, most of them concerning Lt Fusco’s crew from 43-37624… Page 17 of MACR 7283 for 43-37624 has 42-31812’s Radio Operator Hamilton’s name as part of the Fusco crew… German report AV-1215/44 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/18238571 about the death of Navigator Loomis of 42-31812 has that plane’s crash location near Chemnitz-Borna. On the other hand, MACR 7283 (linked to 43-37624) refers to KU-865A ( https://catalog.archives.gov/id/142687464 )… where 42-31812’s Radio Operator’s name (page 3) and dog tag (page 9) appear, although he’s not listed on the MACR 7283 page where all the names and home addresses of the Fusco crew are listed… 43-37624 crash location on many of the German records pages indicate near Sankt Egidien, 6km SE of Glauchau (27km West of Chemnitz)...

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2020 11:48:50 ED-BB Changes to markings, description, events and mission associations
Sources

Corrected typos in Biography ("for clarity's sake"...). Completed crew names. Co-Piot's name is Sammon, not Sammons...
MACR 7281

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2020 04:15:47 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
15 September 2017 13:33:29 Al_Skiff Changes to media associations
Sources

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:41 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 7281 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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