UPL 31083


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On May 1st, 1944, a dozen Flying Fortresses of 452 Bomb Group were heading towards Schaarbeek/Brussels Marshalling Yards when the formation was intercepted by Flak cannons stationed around the Belgian capital city. Sunrise Serenade, a 730 Squadron's ship piloted by 21-yr Lt Francis Smedley, got a hit and left the formation. This was their 20th mission, having attacked Berlin twice and raiding other targets as Frankfurt, Posen, Augsburg, Brunswick. Nine of the crew got out of the plane and landed in Brussels and the outskirts. Francis Smedley was last to leave the plane. What happened is still unsure. Some sources stated that his chute caught the tail plane, while eye witnesses on the ground said that he baled out but his parachute caught fire. He met his end at Bekkerzeel and was buried at Brussels cemetery. The 21-year old pilot now rests at Neuville-en-Condroz (near Liège). Sunrise Serenade circled around the estate of the Viscount de Ghellinck at Sint-Ulriks-Kapelle, where his family stood outside their beautiful water castle. Moments later it crashed a few hundred yards away.


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The insignia of the 452nd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Sunrise serenade
  • Unit: 452nd Bomb Group 730th Bomb Squadron



Date: 5 Nov 2022 07:39:47

452nd Bomb Group Assoc.

Date: 26 Dec 2017 18:13:05

452nd Bomb Group Assoc.