42-40003 TOPPER/ Ol Gappy

A bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-0003) nicknamed "Ol' Gappy". Printed caption on reverse: '.'70915 AC A crew of the 379th Bomb Group poses in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Ol' Gappy" at an 8th Air Force base in England on 12 June 1944.'

Object Number - FRE 1251 - A bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-0003) nicknamed "Ol' Gappy". Printed caption on reverse:...

Delivered Long Beach 1/11/43; Denver 27/11/43; Presque Is 11/12/43;
Assigned 524BS/379BG [WA-H] Kimbolton 21/1/44; transferred 490BG Eye; with 157 missions was top aircraft in 8AF, and only one abort; returned to US 121 BU Bradley 28/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/9/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 10/11/45. TOPPER aka OL’ GAPPY.

Her Nickname was first "Ol' Gappy" but her Nose Art had the ghostly figure of a dapper gentleman much like in the movie "Topper". So it was known by either/or. Her claim to fame is her 157 Combat Missions which is considered the most of any other Heavy Bomber in the ETO. Her Ground Crew Chief was M/Sgt Joe Sligoski.

Connections

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Units served with

The insignia of the 379th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 490th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

A bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-0003) nicknamed "Ol' Gappy". Printed caption on reverse: '.'70915 AC A crew of the 379th Bomb Group poses in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Ol' Gappy" at an 8th Air Force base in England on 12 June 1944.'
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 682039
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio operator
A bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-0003) nicknamed "Ol' Gappy". Printed caption on reverse: '.'70915 AC A crew of the 379th Bomb Group poses in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Ol' Gappy" at an 8th Air Force base in England on 12 June 1944.'
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group
A bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-0003) nicknamed "Ol' Gappy". Printed caption on reverse: '.'70915 AC A crew of the 379th Bomb Group poses in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Ol' Gappy" at an 8th Air Force base in England on 12 June 1944.'
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 07025171
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19059744 / T-12194 / O-2045047
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot

Places

Eye, home of the 490th Bomb Group, photographed from the air. Image via Mark Brown, AFA. Written on slide casing: 'Eye from air.'
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Brome

Revisions

Date4 Feb 2020 21:46:34
Contributorphil marchese
Sources

Freeman; ...Story..., block ranges and changes.

Date9 Jan 2020 15:22:49
Contributorphil marchese
Sources

Famous Fortresses

Date18 Sep 2019 17:38:24
Contributorlateralus2
Sources

Corrected "Ole" to "Ol;" in second paragraph.

Date18 Sep 2019 17:37:01
Contributorlateralus2
Sources

Corrected name from "Ole" to "Ol'". This is the name notation noted in all documents I have reviewed (you can also review https://sites.google.com/site/379thbgnoseart/home as one citation). I also flipped the names from "Topper / Ol Gappy" to "Ol' Gappy / Topper." This is also in line with typical naming on other websites and documentation.

On 17 September 1944, Missy Rung-Blue received an email from Mike Lilley, son of Thomas Lilley, who was also assigned to the 379th BG, 524th Squadron out of Kimbolton. His father flew many missions on Ol'Gappy/Topper. This is what he had to say (assuming this came from his father):
"If you see references to an 8th Air Force plane named "Ol' Gappy", which flew the most missions of any bomber in the 8th, that was his plane. The real name was "Topper", with the image of a top hat and gloves on the nose. It also had "Ol' Gappy painted on the nose turret, but that was a reference to the crew chief, who had a wide gap in his teeth. The "Topper" name wasn't painted by the nose art, so people began calling it by the other name."

Date16 Sep 2019 19:03:07
Contributorlateralus2
Sources

Associations - People. Added James E. Rung, my father. He was the navigator on Ole Gappy/Topper on the ONLY aborted mission that plane had. Source: https://b17navigator.com/dads-log-book/mission-no-aborted-august-3-1944/

Date26 Nov 2015 10:33:34
ContributorLucy May
Sources

Added information from user 'cody1947', Richard Lewis.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:40:51
ContributorAAM
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

42-40003: Gallery (3 items)