42-29591 The Shamrock Special

The nose art of a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "The Shamrock Special" of the 91st Bomb Group.

Object Number - FRE 3665 - B-17F serial 42-29591 "The Shamrock Special" (coded LL-Z) of the 401st Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.

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.

Connections

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

Units served with

The insignia of the 95th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-795199
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
Staff Sergeant Donald W. Crossley, a tail gunner of the 95th Bomb Group in position inside a B-17 Flying Fortress. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp] Handwritten caption on reverse: '21/9/43.' A printed caption was previously attached to the reverse of print, this has been lost, however considering the publication date, press agency and subject matter this was likely to have read: 'AWARDS TO THE HIGH-SCORING GUNNER. The Distinguished Flying Cross and an oak leaf cluster- the equivalent
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 334th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 15107390
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade)
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Crew Chief; Ground Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 39167239
  • Highest Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Crew chief
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-?
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Role/Job: Bombardier / Navigator

Places

Missions

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Careful Virgin
  • Unit: 2nd Strategic Air Depot VIII Air Force Service Command 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 323rd Bomb Squadron

Events

Event Location Date Description

Delivered

Cheyenne, WY 12 January 1943

Assigned

RAF Bassingbourn, UK 16 June 1943 91BG 401BS

Other

Returned Stateside

Hill Field Rd, Layton, UT 84041, USA 22 June 1944 Returned to the USA 4135 BU Hill Field 22/6/44.

Other

Transferred

Tooele, UT, USA 1 March 1945 Transferred to 617 BU Tooele 1/3/45.

Other

Ground collision

Bassingbourn, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8, UK 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.

Other

Repaired and RTD

Bassingbourn, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8, UK 29 November 1943 'Cut and shut' repair, back on Op's on 30-12-43.

Assigned

RAF Alconbury, UK 95BG 336BS

Revisions

Date17 May 2022 19:00:34
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date25 Sep 2020 21:36:48
Contributor466thHistorian
Date25 Sep 2020 21:35:00
Contributor466thHistorian
Sources

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

Date19 Sep 2017 16:24:06
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date22 Dec 2015 11:14:23
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

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

Date14 Dec 2015 13:33:29
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

AAM DB Entry Correction.

Date7 Dec 2015 23:14:14
ContributorAl_Skiff
Date27 Sep 2014 18:40:22
ContributorAAM
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

42-29591: Gallery (12 items)