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IWM catalogue record

This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.

Airmen of the 452nd Bomb Group with their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-102622) nicknamed "Borrowed Time". Image via William C Gaither. Letter from Gaither enclosed with print: ‘These photographers were taken at Poltava, Russia on June 22 1944. On June 21st my group, the 452d and others flew from England to Poltava en route hitting oil refinery at Rhurland, Germany. That night after landing German dive bombers bombed the field destroying ninety or more B-17 aircraft. Our P-51 fighter escort which has landed at another field were denied permission to take off and intercept the German attack planes. My crew and I were assigned to the 730Sq. My aircraft “Borrowed Time”. Was hit by an ME-109 over Yugoslavia. No 4 engine was knocked out and feathered, a hole was put in horizontal tail and hydraulic system damaged. Without brakes I ground looped on landing to stop the ship. There it remained isolated from the other ships which were destroyed that night. PHOTO NO 1- "Borrowed Time" after raid. Not feathered no 4 engine. Left to right- Lt Roger Soth, Bombardier, 2nd and 3rd Unknown, 4th Lt Ernest Demaray, Front Lt John Stull, Navigator. The Germans directed their attack at the B-17s and not at the crew’s bivouac area. Only later did we learn that we were also a target- butterfly bombs were found in the tent area. Young Russians were used to search and destroy these bombs.’



  • 452nd Bomb Group

    452nd Bomb Group

    The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...


  • William Gaither

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot
    B-17 #42-38145 'Rosalie Ann' Crashed near Buckenham, England, due to mid-air coll. w/ #42-31242 from 388th BG on 19 May 1944, Returned to Duty (RTD).


  • 42-102622 Borrowed Time

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 19/3/44; Hunter 9/4/44; Dow Fd 29/4/44; Assigned 728BS/452BG [9Z- ] Deopham Green 1/5/44; destroyed by enemy aircraft at Poltava with Edward Armm 21/6/44; Salvaged 2/7/44. Borrowed Time: The ball turret gunner on this plane, John F....


Date Contributor Update
14 April 2019 19:21:42 terveurn Changes to caption

correct serial number

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2014 15:25:30 AAM AAM ingest

IWM, Roger Freeman Collection