41-24311 - Hadley's Harem

Object Number - UPL 45770 - Lt. Gilbert Hadley's plane, the B-24D he named, Hadley's Harem, serial number 41-24311. - 1943.

The B-24D, named, Hadley's Harem, was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's personal airplane and the one he flew, with his CoPilot, Lt. James Lindsey, on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. As Hadley was approaching his target refinery, code named, "White IV", his plane, Hadley's Harem, took two direct flak hits, killing his bombardier. Lt. Leon Storms, instantly, badly damaging his plane's nose section and number two engine, which caught on fire. “We were two to three miles from our target, flying about 50 feet off the ground when we got hit,” one of the gunners, SSgt. Newton, remembers. “We couldn’t turn because we were in a tight formation with the other planes next to us and behind us in our flight, Flight 1, so we kept flying straight ahead, powering up to climb over and clear the 200 foot tall smokestacks ahead of us."

As they were leaving the refinery area behind them, Lt. Hadley and Copilot James Lindsey of Texarkana, Texas, pointed their damaged airplane south toward Turkey and Cyprus. They jettisoned their bombs and ordered their crew to jettison everything else, ammunition, fire extinguishers, Mae West life preservers, parachutes, anything to lighten the airship, which was struggling to stay in the air on only three good engines. South of Ploesti, they joined up with another group of shot up straggler B-24s, like themselves, Robert Sternfels' B-24D, The Sandman, led by the 98th Bomb Group's Leader, Col. John R. "Killer" Kane, in his B-24D that he had twice named, Hail Columbia, and Lt. Royden Lebrecht in, The Squaw, flying with the other planes for cover, relatively intact, and continued following the entire group of planes south, first, to make it out of the greater Ploesti area alive, and, then, if possible, to make it all the way to the British airbase at Nicosia, Cyprus.

Lt. Hadley made it all the way past, the southern coast of Turkey in his badly crippled plane. But, almost out of gasoline and engine oil for the three big Pratt & Whitney engines, still running, he had to break away from Hail Columbia, The Squaw, and, The Sandman. Hadley radioed a goodbye to the group of his friends and turned his plane back in the darkness toward the Turkish coast. “We got 25 miles off the coast of Turkey and were flying barely above stall speed,” SSgt. Newton recalled. “Hadley had turned left toward land. It was about 8 o’clock at night, and we were losing oil pressure and altitude.”

Newton remembers Hadley asking his fellow crew members, “You want to bail out, or try for the beach or the water ?” Shortly thereafter, two of the three remaining engines failed and froze, out of gas and engine oil, and the ship plunged 150 feet, hitting the water, nose first, breaking into pieces, in the sea off the coast of Antalya in Turkey. Neither Lt. Hadley, nor CoPilot Lt. Lindsey, emerged from the sinking wreckage. They were caught, trapped in their collapsed cockpit and drowned. Seven of the crew of ten escaped their sinking B-24D after crashing while trying to ditch, and were able to swim to shore. The seven survivors were captured by the Turks, and survived the war, interned. 3 KIA. 7 INT-TURK. ~ Aircraft Failed To Return (FTR) - 1 Aug 1943.

All crewmen who flew on the Ploesti mission received DFCs for flying the mission. Both pilots, Lt. Gilbert Hadley, Lt. James Rex Lindsey, and Bombardier Lt. Leon M. Storms, received their Distinguished Flying Crosses and Purple Hearts, posthumously, for their valor and sacrifice over Ploesti. August 1, 1943. MACR 167.

The Crew on Hadley's Harem On The Ploesti Mission :
Pilot Gilbert B. Hadley - KIA -
CoPilot James R. Lindsey - KIA -
Bombardier Leon Storms - KIA -
Navigator Harold Tabacoff - INT-TURKEY-WIA -
Top Turret Gunner Russell B. Page - INT-TURKEY -
Ball Turret Gunner William F. Leonard - INT-TURKEY -
Tail Gunner G. Frank Nemoth - INT-TURKEY -
Gunner Pershing W. Waples - INT-TURKEY -
Waist Gunner Leroy Newton - INT-TURKEY -
Waist Gunner Christopher N. Holweger - INT-TURKEY -

B-24D - 41-24311 - Hadley's Harem
23 Nov 42 through 5 Dec 42 - Built in San Diego
10 Dec 42 - 2 Test Flights
12 Dec 42 - ACC AAF
13 Dec 42 - Delivered
24 Dec 42 - Flown to Fort Worth for MOD
01 Jan 43 - MODs Completed
12 Jan 43 - ACC again by AAF
26 Mar 43 - Went Overseas
09 Jun 43 - Cairo
15 Jul 43 - Flew First 98th BG Mission (Flew 10 missions including last)
01 Aug 43 - Crashed off Turkish Coast - MACR 167
1995 - 2 Crew Recovered
1996 - Cockpit and forward aircraft section recovered from the sea
Dec 1997 - Installed in Rahni M. Koc Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Squadron
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-661482
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: B-24D Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 490th Bomb Group 848th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35469030
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Airplane Mechanic-Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-29680
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer / Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 16023226 / O-54160
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: - B-52 Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 18065645 / O-726423
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Places

  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Berka, al Birkah
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Bengazi Airfield, Wheelus Airbase

Missions

  • Date: 1 August 1943
  • Official Description: 177 B-24’s, of IX Bomber Command (including Heavy Bombers on loan from Eighth AF) are dispatched to bomb oil refineries at Ploesti and nearby Campina. The operation (TIDALWAVE) is costly, 54 planes and 532 airmen being lost, but damage to the targets...

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Sleepy, The Squaw
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 98th Bomb Group 343rd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Raunchy
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy
  • Unit: 376th Bomb Group 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - The Vulgar Virgin - Hell From Heaven - Shoot Youre Faded
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Joisey Bounce - Utah Man
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 330th Bomb Squadron

Events

Event Location Date Description

Crashed

FTR Failed To Return

Antalya, Turkey 1 August 1943 Failed To Return - Ploesti oil refinery raid. Pilot Gilbert B Hadley. MACR 167 Approaching the target, the A/C was hit by a shell, causing a fatality and serious damage. The crew managed to drop their bombs and then set course for home. Subsequent engine problems led to a decision to divert to Cyprus, but the aircraft couldn’t maintain flight and it ditched in the sea off the coast of Antalya in Turkey.

Assigned

344th BS 98th BG 9th AF.

Revisions

Date16 May 2022 11:07:59
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

AAM Database.

Date24 Jan 2022 09:56:22
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added, spelling, word spacing changes. - Kickapoo

Date24 Jan 2022 09:53:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added, spelling, word spacing changes. - Kickapoo

Date24 Jan 2022 09:51:25
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Wording, punctuation, detail, changes. - Kickapoo

Date19 Dec 2021 20:42:12
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - Hadley's harem

Date19 Dec 2021 18:53:15
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - Hadley's Harem

Date2 Dec 2021 01:17:00
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date14 Oct 2021 02:47:51
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

black Sunday - Ploesti - Michael hill

Date4 Oct 2021 08:13:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Added information, spelling, spacing errors. - Kickapoo

Date30 Aug 2021 12:23:39
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Removed and added some details to "Markings" per standard practices. - Kickapoo

Date17 Aug 2021 13:39:08
ContributorEmily
Sources

Changed all instances of aircraft name into sentence case to as per best practice for accessibility.

Date16 Aug 2021 09:45:13
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date16 Aug 2021 08:39:09
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Word changes to text. - Kickapoo

Date15 Aug 2021 10:42:02
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date1 Aug 2021 11:17:28
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date18 May 2021 19:33:34
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added punctuation in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date13 Mar 2021 21:17:23
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Corrected a typo in the A/C "Description" - "crew" was misspelled.

Date21 Feb 2021 23:01:21
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - 'Hadley's Harem' - Info Contributor - Robert Livingstone

Date21 Feb 2021 22:55:07
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - 'Hadley's Harem' - Info Contributor - Robert Livingstone

Date20 Feb 2021 11:52:35
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date20 Feb 2021 11:01:57
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - Hadley's Harem'

Date6 Jul 2020 21:10:18
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S. Young. Jr. - personal archives

Date6 Jul 2020 21:07:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S. Young. Jr. - personal archives

Date11 Aug 2019 22:57:23
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S.Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date11 Aug 2019 22:52:03
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S.Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date11 Aug 2019 22:44:03
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S.Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date11 Aug 2019 22:31:09
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S.Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date11 Aug 2019 22:27:23
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

FindAGrave Memorial Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- The Return Of Hadley's Harem - Michael Schultz ---- John S.Young, Jr. - personal archives

Date13 Mar 2015 15:05:42
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

AAM Database.

41-24311: Gallery (4 items)