42-51195 Belle Ringer

Object Number - UPL 20227 - "Belle Ringer" - B-24 Serial # 42-51195

B-24 # 42-51195 "Belle Ringer" is listed as having been first in the 493rd Bomb Group at Debach. Transferred to the 491st Bomb Group / 852nd Bomb Squadron, it was hit by Flak on the way to the target, the Gütersloh marshalling yards in Germany on 14 March 1945 with a 854th Squadron crew. Despite one engine out, the crew decided to go on with the mission and dropped their bomb load. On the return flight, another engine quit and Belle Ringer was rapidly losing altitude. It seemed impossible to fly back to England and the crew agreed with Pilot Robert Heichel's decision to try to land the plane on an airfield in liberated Belgium. Navigator Seymour Eisenstat located one near the city of Namur, but as another engine had quit also, probably due to lack of fuel, the pilot finally had to aim for a field and began a wheels-down approach. On the downturn, the B-24 hit the roof of a combo-farm with its left wing. The wing and engines 1 and 2 were found in the remains of the farm, while the rest of the plane crashed in an adjacent field in Florée, about 10km NW of Ciney (SE of Namur), Belgium. No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR). Engineer Sgt Kenneth S. Kingsland died after the crash; the 8 other crew members safe, some wounded : Pilot Robert E. Heichel; Co-Pilot Thomas J. Alexander; Navigator Seymour Eisenstat; Radio Operator Anthony P. Turco; Gunner Rheudolph W. Cain; Gunner Lacy C. Gilliam; Gunner Glen C. LeBleu and Gunner Philip E. Trimmer Jr. No civilian victims. Salvaged 23 March 1945, 42-51195 never flew again.
The exact location of the crash could be determined in 2013 with the help of Belgians Amand Collard and Denis Abel (who found the place). During a ceremony at the edge of the field where the Liberator crashed, a ceremony took place on 12 March 2016 to inaugurate a plaque
dedicated to Sgt Kenneth S. Kingsland and the crew of "Belle Ringer". See details and photos on Sgt Kingsland's page at http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/140382

Connections

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

Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 493rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: 10105080 and O2022747
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 854th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35847379
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 854th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32966605 and O-944688
  • Highest Rank: Flight Officer
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 852nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 38554536
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: 13084865 and 2061944
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Places

Missions

  • Date: 14 March 1945
  • Official Description: Mission 886: 1,262 bombers and 804 fighters are dispatched to hit oil, rail and industrial targets in Germany; they claim 17-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air; 3 B-17s and 2 fighters are lost: 1. 526 B-17s are sent to hit oil refineries at Nienhagen...

Events

Event Location Date Description

Crashed

Florée, Belgium 14 March 1945 Hit by Flak, low on fuel on the flight back from the mission to the Gütersloh marshalling yards, Germany; crash-landed in a field in Florée, between the Chaussée de Dinant and the Rue de Wagnée.

Revisions

Date18 Mar 2016 13:57:04
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Added details about the 12 March 2016 ceremony at the crash location in Florée,

Date30 Jan 2016 14:11:00
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Added photos from http://www.inexpensiveflighttraining.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=8801…
Corrected typos and added details

Date26 Jan 2016 15:05:49
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Added names of crew and photo of nose art

Date30 Dec 2015 15:16:26
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Photos of crashed plane at http://www.inexpensiveflighttraining.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=8801… (website of Pilot Robert Heichel's nephew Jay Heichel)
Personal research on the crew members on board
ABMC page for the sole KIA, Engineer Kenneth S. Kingsland
Contacts with Kenneth Kingsland family

42-51195: Gallery (10 items)