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487th Bomb Group


The 487th Bomb Group began operations as preparations for D-Day were reaching their crescendo and played their part by bombing airfields in northern France. Like the 486th Bomb Group, the 487th switched to B-17 Flying Fortress for missions from 1 August 1944 and undertook strategic missions against targets in Germany. The Group led the largest Eighth Air Force mission of the war, 24 December 1944, when clear weather led to a concerted attack by more than 2,000 bombers on airfields and communication sites in western Germany.

The nickname "Gentlemen From Hell" has only been used in connection with the Group since the 487th Bomb Group Association was formed in 1967. It was not an official wartime nickname. The "Gentlemen From Hell" patch was used by a very few members of the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo, New Mexico during training Jan–Mar 1944, and during the early days of operations at Lavenham, England. Most veterans of the 487th Bomb Group knew nothing about it during the war.

Commanding officers
  • Beirne Lay

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Group commander | 100th Bomb Group
    Beirne Lay assumed command of the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico on February 28, 1944, his wife was Philippa Ludwell Lee. ...

  • Howard Todt

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer | 487th Bomb Group
    DFC/ Air Medal w 6Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Nicholas Perkins

    Military | Colonel | Group commander | 487th Bomb Group
    Commanding Officer, 94th Bomb Group, Bury St. Edmunds 16-Mar-1945 to 3-Jun-45; Commanding Officer 487th Bomb Group, Lavenham 3-Jun-45 to 24-Aug-45.

  • Robert Taylor

    Military | Major | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Graduate of West Point and rose to deputy commander of the 95th BW. On March 1, 1942, Captain Taylor was appointed a Major. In April 1942, Major Taylor became the operations officer of the 44th Bomb Group (Heavy) and in September of that year went with...

  • William Martin

    Military | Colonel | Group commander | 487th Bomb Group
    Commanding a great group of young men, sent to preserve the peace in the world. A great privilege to be their commander. Retired in 1968 after 29 years of service. ...


Part of
Previously was
Not yet known
Not yet known


  • 347

    9 May 1944

  • 350

    11 May 1944

  • 412

    14 June 1944
    Mission #10. Bombed an airfield south of Brussels. Bob Martin flew in place of Hussong.

  • 412

    14 June 1944
    Mission #10. Bombed an airfield south of Brussels. Bob Martin flew in place of Hussong.

  • 8th Air Force 760

    24 December 1944
    1. Decision. ...

  • 8th Air Force 760

    24 December 1944
    1. Decision. ...


Station Location Date
Based Lavenham 5 April 1944 – 24 August 1945



  • Emile Abadie

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 487th Bomb Group
    Shot down 28 May 1944 in B-24 #42-52651. Evaded.

  • Anthony Abatsis

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 487th Bomb Group
    Flew on B-24 'Satan's Lady'

  • Frank Abbote

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 487th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 14 January 1945 Purple Heart Note: His family name was Abbate, but the spelling of his surname was changed to Abbote in military records by February 1942, when he registered for the draft.

  • Bert Abel

    Military | Lieutenant | Supply Officer | 487th Bomb Group

  • James Abercrombie

    Military | 487th Bomb Group

  • Harvin Abrahamson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 487th Bomb Group

  • Jerome Abramowitz

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 487th Bomb Group
    Flew on B-17 #42-98014.

  • Cedric Ackerson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 487th Bomb Group

  • James Acocks

    Military | Captain | Flight Surgeon | 487th Bomb Group

  • Thaddeus Adamiec

    Military | 487th Bomb Group

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  • 41-28822

    B-24 Liberator

  • 41-29468 Peg O My Heart

    B-24 Liberator

  • 41-29479 The Big Bad Wolf

    B-24 Liberator
    Initially assigned to 487th Bomb Group, 838th Bomb Sqdn; transferred to 448th Bomb Group, 715th Bomb Sqdn in April 1944

  • 42-102497 Flak Hack

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/3/44; Hunter 10/4/44; Dow Fd 29/4/44; Assigned 836BS/487BG [2G-A] Lavenham 1/5/44; Missing in Action Darmstadt 24/12/44 with Willard Curtiss, Frank Callaghen, Salvaged Saporito (3 Killed in Action); Tom Collins, Ed Ghezzi, Jim...

  • 42-107188 Ramp Rooster

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 18/3/44; Kearney 29/3/44; Dow Fd 6/4/44; Assigned 602BS/398BG [K8-G] Nuthampstead 5/5/44; (42m) Missing in Action Bingen, Ger 29/12/44 with Mahlon Erickson, Navigator: Paul Nachtwey, Radio Operator: Claiborne Graves, Ball turret gunner:...

  • 42-30298 Ragin Red II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/5/43; Gore 24/5/43; Smoky Hill 29/5/43; Dow Fd 3/6/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-M] Kimbolton 13/6/43 TENDER TIT TILLIE, then RAGIN' RED II; transferred 837BS/487BG [4F] Lavenham 15/7/44; 78th Fighter Wing 24/10/44; transferred...

  • 42-3507 "DUFFY'S TAVERN"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 15/7/43; Scott 20/10/43; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-D] Deenethorpe 26/10/43; transferred 838BS/487BG Lavenham 15/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) South Plains 1/10/45. DUFFY'S TAVERN.

  • 42-37760 'Avenger'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 19/8/43; Assigned 532BS/381BG [VE-F] Ridgewell 20/9/43; after 6 missions transferred AFSC, 487BG Lavenham; APH & Azon duties at Knettishall /44. AVENGER.

  • 42-39811 Donna Mae

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 8/9/43; Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-C] Chelveston 17/10/43; then to 422NLS [JJ-E] 23/5/44; transferred 838BS/487BG Lavenham. Missing in Action French leaflet drop 6 July 1944, with Pilot James R. Brown, Co-pilot John H. Mann,...

  • 42-52444

    B-24 Liberator

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Date Contributor Update
05 October 2016 10:28:15 Lucy May Changes to nicknames and description

Added qualifications to nickname after correspondence with Paul Webber, Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association (
For details see:

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2015 16:11:11 rossingtonj Changes to type, nicknames, aircraft types, commanding officers associations, mission associations and stations

487th Bomb Group website:

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:46 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)