Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Canvey Island

Crash site

Detailed history

On 19 June 1944, a formation of B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 379th Bomb Group were returning from a mission to bomb V weapons sites in north west France. While crossing the Thames, near Canvey Island, B-17 44-6133 experienced engine trouble and collided with B-17 42-97942 nicknamed "Heavenly Body II", the two aircraft became temporarily entangled.

B-17 44-6133 eventually fell away and crashed into the sea near Allhallows. After becoming free of the other aircraft Heavenly Body II began to lose height, but some members of the crew managed to bail out. Eyewitnesses reported that it appeared as if the aircraft was attempting to land on the nearby river mud, but suddenly fell nose first into the Thames near Canvey Island and burst into flames.

In 2014 local residents erected a memorial plaque to the crew of Heavenly Body II close to the site of the aircraft crash. In 2015 a commemorative mural was painted along Canvey sea wall which depicted the crew of Heavenly Body II, and Canvey Island Local Post issued a commemorative stamp the same year.

Connections

People

  • Richard Andrews

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 31 x missions. Returned from Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Returned to Duty (RTD) MACR 6983 ...

  • Lloyd Burns

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Lt Burns lied about his age, with his father's permission and joined the AAF at 18 instead of 19. Flew all his missions, between Apr 44 and June 44. He was just 20 years old when he completed them and the youngest...

  • William Farmer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 32 x missions. Returned from Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Returned to Duty (RTD) MACR 6983 Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Leonard Gibbs

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 31 x missions. Returned from Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Returned to Duty (RTD) MACR 6983 ...

  • Jack Gray

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 31 x missions. Returned from Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Returned to Duty (RTD) MACR 6983 ...

  • Frederick Kauffman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 29 x missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 6983 Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), PH

  • Leroy Monk

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 30 x missions. Returned from Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Returned to Duty (RTD) MACR 6983 Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Stan Pierce

    Civilian
    Stan Pierce was evacuated with his family to Canvey Island in 1943. ...

  • Edward Sadler

    Military | Flight Officer | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 28 x missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 6983. ...

  • Louis Schulte

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 29th mission. Failed to Return (FTR) Zudausques mission in B-17 42-97942; A/C collided with 44-6133 in the haze and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 6983 ...

Aircraft

  • 42-97942 Heavenly Body II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 11/4/44; Kearney 4/5/44; Dow Fd 23/5/44; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-K] Kimbolton 24/5/44. ...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
24 August 2021 08:47:29 Emily Created entry with name, known as, latitude, longitude, history, person associations, aircraft associations and media associations
Sources

Account of the crash written by Paul Wilkinson for Canvey Island Local Post

Share