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"Anti-aircraft defences include gun-toting jeeps like the one shown above, able to cover any spot on the base in a matter of minutes during an emergency. Gunner and driver, who also acts as ammunition feeder can use their mobile .50 calibre weapon with equal effectiveness against invader troops or low flying enemy planes. Here S/Sgt's Ben W. Bailey, Los Angeles,CA and Hilliard E McKeeby Joplin, MO unlimber their weapon for action."

381st Bomb Group B-17G 42-97238 GD-I “OUR CAPTAIN” Ridgewell, England 1944



  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 534th Bomb Squadron


  • Ben Bailey

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Heavy Machine Gunner
    Assigned to 7th Station Complement Sqn, 432 ASGp, 381BG, 8AF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Hillard McKeeby

    Military | Master Sergeant (1st Grade) | Administrative Non-Commissioned Officer 8th Army Air Core
    Assigned to 7th Station Complement Sqn, 432 ASGp, 381BG, 8AF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME Post war: Re-enlisted into USAF, serving in Korean and Vietnam conflicts.


  • 42-97238 'Our Captain'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/2/44; Kearney 25/2/44; Presque Is 22/3/44; Assigned 534BS/381BG [GD-I] Ridgewell 6/4/44; Missing in Action 3m Kerlin-Bastard, Fr 8/6/44 with John Martyniak, Co-pilot: Dick Kellum, Navigator: Jim Manion, Bombardier: Ray Stewart,...


  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...


Date Contributor Update
13 May 2019 20:53:47 Al_Skiff Created entry with caption, unit associations, person associations, place associations and aircraft associations