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42-5715

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne, 3 September 1942. To New Castle, 4 October 1942. Assigned 94th Bomb Group, 22 October 1942. Transferred 342BS/97BG Depienne, November 1942. Piloted by 1st Lt John C. Nicholson on the 18 December 1942 mission to bomb the Bizerte, Tunisia docks, B-17 42-5715 was attacked by three enemy fighters minutes before their bombing run. After Flak hits over the target took out engines Nos 2 and 4, the Fortress couldn’t keep up with the rest of the Squadron and, falling behind, was attacked again by fighters. Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Clarence B. Nichols was killed instantly. A fire broke out in the cockpit and the plane rapidly lost altitude. The bail out signal was given, but the Fortress was too low for a safe evacuation. Only the Bombardier, Lt Paul A. Blaida, managed to jump at less than 800 feet, hit the ground hard and helped rescue some survivors when he reached the crash site near Bizerte where Lt Nichols had managed to crash-land the plane. Co-Pilot 1st Lt John B. Mayes, Navigator 1st Lt George E. Monda and Ball Turret Gunner Sgt William M. Ivanhoff were killed. Besides Lieutenants Nichols and Blaida, Radio Operator Sgt Thomas G. Burton, Right Waist Gunner S/Sgt Eugene H. Evans, Lef Waist Gunner S/Sgt Grover C. Williams and Tail Gunner S/Sgt Frederick M. Wilson survived. The is no Missing Air Crew Report for this loss.

Service

Units

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942. Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 342nd Bomb Squadron

People

  • Paul Blaida

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Flew 36 missions and was also with the 12th, 15th Air Corps & Air Force. Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters; 4 Campaign ribbons, two theatres of operation Europe and North Africa; Caterpillar Club. ...

  • Thomas Burton

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Thomas Burton was on board B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland. Burton...

  • Eugene Evans

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Right Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    According to his widow Margaret, Eugene enlisted at 18 in Louisiana. ...

  • William Ivanhoff

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    William Matthew Ivanhoff (also known as Matthew Ivanhoff) was on board B-17E-BO A/C #41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35...

  • John Mayes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    June 1942 B-17E-BO AC#41-9090 crash landed near Narsak island due to bad weather conditions. All 12 crew members left uninjured and the plane sank within a minute. Crew was transitioning to England.

  • George Monda

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    George Monda was Bombardier on board of B-17 Serial 42-5715 on a mission over Tunisia on 18 December 1942. He was killed in the crash-landing of the battle-damaged Fortress.

  • Clarence Nichols

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 97th Bomb Group
    Text from Lakeview Junior High School History teacher Rebecca A. Duda (November 2017) : “In 1938, Dracut native Clarence Buxton Nichols dropped out of Dracut High School to enlist in the Army for a three-year enlistment. He served in the infantry and...

  • John Nichols

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt John Nichols was pilot of B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland....

  • Grover Williams

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Left Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Grover Williams was a passenger on board B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One,...

  • Frederick Wilson

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Frederick Wilson was on board B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland....

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2021 22:11:52 phil marchese Changes to production block number and markings
Sources

Added series.

Date Contributor Update
14 November 2017 09:11:24 ED-BB Changes to description and person associations
Sources

Corrected names of some crew members, on the basis of data at “The Hour Has Come - The 97th Bomb Group in World War II”, pages 68-69 .

Date Contributor Update
12 November 2017 09:32:47 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

Corrected George Monda's middle initial

Date Contributor Update
11 November 2017 15:17:46 ED-BB Changes to manufacturer, nicknames, description, unit associations and person associations
Sources

Research on crew members led to corrections and additions to Biography...

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:56 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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