B-17 Crew ID no pics yet but have a question

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by racerguy00, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. racerguy00

    racerguy00 Member

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    A friend of my family has two photos of B-17s in transit over the Atlantic to Europe. They were in formation and a crew member on each plane took a photo of the other. One of them was piloted by the grandfather of our family friend who was then shot down on a mission over Germany soon after.

    My question is this: once I get a copy of the photos with tail numbers etc. is there any way to ID which plane was the grandfathers?

    I also have a basic story as to how the plane went down but it would be nice to verify it. Supposedly the bomber had two engines shot out and had a massive fuel leak but was escorted to within 100 mi of the English coast by P-47s. There I guess it suddenly dropped into the sea with no chutes.
     
  2. D.James

    D.James Member

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    A simple google of "B-17 4x-xxxxx" would be a good starting point.The tail number most likely will be missing the number 4 and more than likely followed by a 2,3,4,or 5. Narrow down air force(IE; 8th,15th) and bomb group.
    There are many bomb group sites out there with search able data bases by SN,plane name, aircrew names,etc.

    Many aircrews did not routinely flew the same AC, but rotated through them, so the AC in the photo may or may not have been the AC on his final mission. Once you have a little info though, you should be able to dig up quite a bit for free.
    If you know the date his ship went down, try searching MACR's (Missing Air Crew Reports) for that date...A good start would be at armyairforces.com
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice info D.J. And it's right, if you have the unit concerned, 'google' for that, (for example) Bomb Group. You'll probably find listings of all known aircraft, by serial number, with codes where known, used by the Group from it's formation and, in most cases, details of crew(s) and its ultimate fate. There are normally (but not always) details of the Operational Log, and also photographs as available. Links to other sites and Veterans Associations are normally included.
     
  4. racerguy00

    racerguy00 Member

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    Thanks for the help everyone. With help from members at ArmyAirForces.com I found out alot of new info and located a veteran who was close friends with the relative I'm researching. They were members of the 94th Bomb Group, 332nd Squadron


    Here's a side note. On Aug 30, 1944, B-17 43-38165 "St. Christopher's Kids" was struck by a bomb in the tail by a plane above due to being out of formation with the tail gunner KIA. The a/c was repaired and fitted with secret expiramental exhaust devices designed to eliminate contrails. I believe that this may be the a/c and accident seen in many publications over the years but need confirmation. In Sept/Oct the Hummel crew that I am looking for info on took over this a/c and were lost on Nov. 4, 1944 returning from a raid on Hamburg.

    If the a/c that they went down in is indeed the one seen being struck by a bomb earlier, it is very ironic because I had seen that series of photos so many times over the years.

    Other photos are of Lt. Hummel and crew in front of a B-17 with the ferry number 1641 and of B-17 "Dimples Darling" in formation during their ferry flight. Sorry for the poor quality.
     

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