42-40127 - Bucket Of Bolts - First Sergeant

Object Number - UPL 15079 - B-24D Liberator, 42-40127, named, First Sergeant, in the 754th BS, the 458th BG, in the 8th AF, ready for lead assembly ship duties.

The B-24D Liberator, 42-40127, was flown on Operation Tidal Wave to Ploesti by Lt. Charles T. Merrill and his crew, with the 329th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, TDY to the 9th Air Force, to Ploesti, supposedly, returning to Benghazi, Libya, safe but not unscathed. 1 Aug 1943. - See note at the end of this biography.
- The 1 Aug 43, damage report for A/C [42-40127] : "Bulkhead in fuselage badly damaged by [a 40mm flak round]. Elevator control cables damaged. AFCE rudder, elevator, and trim tab control cables damaged. Left vertical stabilizer damaged by light flak. Leading edge left wing damaged by barrage balloon cable."
On another mission the A/C [42-40127] took a direct 88mm hit in the [ball] turret well aft of the bomb bay. No ball turrets were carried [on the Ploesti mission], so the crew used this space to store their heavy flying clothes and other supplies. The shell detonated in those clothes, and the concussion knocked all the gunners to the floor and knocked the tail gunner from his tail turret.

After its return to the ETO, the B-24D, 42-40127, was given a new crew and the name, Bucket of Bolts, and was also given further missions. Later, the airplane was declared "War Weary", and renamed, First Sergeant, and became a high visibility assembly ship for the 458th Bomb Group.
On, 27 May 44, while preparing for a mission, 42-40127, was destroyed by a fire on the ground at Horsham St. Faith/Sta 123, England, caused by a radio operator accidently discharging a flare gun at his station. Four crew members on board escaped the fire via the open bomb bay, with the pilot and engineer suffering 2nd degree facial burns.

Note : "Literally every book on [Operation] Tidal Wave claims the B-24D-30-CO, 42-40127, a verified Ploesti participant, was named either, Thar She Blows, or, Thar She Blows Again. The confusion comes, initially, from the 93rd Bomb Group’s, 1 Jul 1943, letter listing the nicknames for all 93rd Bomb Group ships in the [Libyan] desert, which states, "42-40127, was named, Thar She Blows." Further confusion has arisen, since it is conclusively documented that Capt. Chuck Merrill flew, 42-40127, to Ploesti, and that he had previously flown a ship named, Thar She Blows. "Official" letter and all that, right ? " - Dave Klause

"But the [aircraft's] name [Thar She Blows, and, Thar She Blows Again] is not correct, and here’s why. The actual [photographic] proof [of the airplane in question, 42-40127], is immutable, but there are still some open questions at the bottom of this article. It is now very clear that neither, Thar She Blows, nor, Thar She Blows Again, were ever the same ship as, 42-40127." - Contributor : Col. David H. Klause, USAF, Ret.

Connections

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

Units served with

Personnel of the 458th Bomb Group gather around a B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-29303) nicknamed "Liberty Lib" in order to transfer a casualty into a waiting ambulance. Image via Harry Holmes. Written on slide casing: '458th BG.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 93rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 458th Bomb Group 754th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32220382
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 458th Bomb Group 754th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35621166
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 458th Bomb Group 755th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12120461 / O-811448
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 458th Bomb Group 754th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12162769
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer

Places

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: - Thar She Blows
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Thar She Blows Again
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron 409th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Bucket Of Bolts - First Sergeant
  • Unit: 458th Bomb Group 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron 330th Bomb Squadron 754th Bomb Squadron

Events

Event Location Date Description

Other

2nd Career

27 February 1944 Declared as War Weary and renamed, First Sergeant. It became a high visibility assembly ship for the 458th Bomb Group in England. 27 Feb 1944.

Other

Destroyed

RAF Horsham Saint Faith, Norwich, Norfolk, UK 27 May 1944 While preparing for a mission, aircraft was destroyed by a fire on the ground at Horsham St Faith/Sta 123, England. The fire was caused by a radio operator accidently discharging a flare gun at his station. Four crew members on board escaped the inferno via the bomb bay, with the pilot and engineer suffering 2nd degree facial burns. 27 May 44

Assigned

RAF Hardwick, Norwich, Norfolk NR15, UK 330th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF.

Assigned

Benghazi, Libya 329th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF. TDY 9th AF.

Assigned

RAF Horsham Saint Faith, Norwich, Norfolk, UK 754th BS, 458th BG, 8th AF.

Revisions

Date16 May 2022 10:29:23
ContributorAl_Skiff
Date9 Feb 2022 07:22:31
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40127 - Bucket Of Bolts - First Sergeant

Date9 Feb 2022 06:21:46
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell at Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date9 Feb 2022 06:07:36
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth Of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 13:39:34
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Aircraft added. - Kickapoo

Date8 Feb 2022 13:24:05
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 13:20:27
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 13:16:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 12:41:30
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 12:30:33
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date8 Feb 2022 12:28:05
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - David Klause

Date15 Apr 2015 20:26:53
ContributorAl_Skiff

42-40127: Gallery (9 items)