Official caption: Lt. John T Hardin, pilot of the 322nd Bomb Squadron, looks out of his plane, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "The Bearded Beauty" at the 91st Bomb Group base at Bassingbourne [Bassingbourn], England 27 February 1943.
US B-17F Fortress 41-24453 "Mizpah" "The Bearded Beauty" Force-lands at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton. 22 January 1943.
The crew of the American Flying Fortress which made a forced landing at RNAS Yeovilton with Captain M S Thomas, DSO, RN, and Lt H R Arnold, RNVR.
John T Hardin was a pilot with the 91st Bomb Group.
His most memorable mission was the one when they went to bomb the U-Boat Pen at La Pallice, France. His plane "Mizpah" collided with "Fury" but both planes were able to land. Only two crew members were injured, from flak: top turret gunner lost one eye, navigator got a cut on one arm.
Completed 25 missions 22 June 1943. Promoted from Lieutenant to Captain on 19 June 1943 after his last mission.
Pilot for Eastern Air Lines from 1945 to 1979.
View an interview with John T Hardin by Georgia WWII Oral History Project here:
AM w/ 4 Oak Leaf Cluster/ DFC
Units served with
The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-O] Bangor 29/8/42; Bassingbourn 29/9/42; in taxi accident with John Hardin 18/11/42 at RNAS Yeovilton; MIZPAH - THE BEARDED LADY aka THE BEARDED BEAUTY.
14 November 1942
The U-Boat pens of La Pallice, France are the Primary(P) target for a combined bomber force of 21 B-17s from 91BG (14) and 306BG (7); 93BG also joins the raid with 13 B-24s. However, La Pallice is completely clouded over, so instead, the bombers attack...
18 November 1942
The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...
6 December 1942
The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA.
30 December 1942
The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the target for this mission. A combined force of 77 B-17s are despatched by 91BG (19); 303BG (16); 305BG (13) and 306BG (18). Only 40 are effective on the target. All but 1 B-17 from the 18 despatched by 306BG is...
3 January 1943
The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...
27 January 1943
First successful attack by 8th Air Force into Germany. The 306th Bomb Group gets the distinction of being the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on Germany. O Original target was Vegesack but clouded over. Col. Frank Armstrong lead the group. Two...
26 February 1943
After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...
27 February 1943
With weather and cloud cover continuing to frustrate bombing efforts against targets in Northern Germany, VIII Bomber Command decides to mount a raid against the harbour facilities at Brest, France. A total of 60 B-17s are destached: 91BG (18); 303BG ...
8 March 1943
The railroad marshalling yards at Rennes and Rouen, France are the primary targets for this mission. A formation comprised of 67 B-17s: 91BG (14); 303BG (19); 305BG (16) and 306BG (18) is despatched to bomb at Rennes. Conditions are good with no cloud...
12 March 1943
The railroad marshalling yards at Rouen/Sotteville, France is the primary target for 72 B-17s. 91BG (18); 303BG (18) ; 305BG (17) and 306BG (19). Of this formation, 63 are effective on the target. There are no aircraft losses or claims on enemy...
Military site : airfield
Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...
||17 December 1919
||Jackson, MS, USA
||15 August 1941
||September 1942 – July 1943
|Returned to the USA
||15 July 1943
||Marietta, GA, USA
||8 July 2013