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B-17G - Dry Gulcher

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, November 27, 2017 18:38:35

On 4th August 1944 whilst forming up for a raid on Peenemunde B-17 'Dry Gulcher' flying out of Ridgewell caught fire:

"Capt. Moore yelled at me to bail out and I didn't argue. I grabbed my chute from under the seat, buckled it on, and dropped down to the cat-walk. The engineer, S/Sgt. Carl T. Yankton, pulled the release handle and I kicked the escape door with my right foot and then the engineer bailed out. Then I hollered to the nose, and the navigator, 1st Lt. James W. Sneed bailed out next. The bombardier, 1st Lt. Charles Young wasn't ready to go, so I was third man to bail out." Capt. Moore said " I heard a sizzle, a rushing of air, and looking around saw a burst of flame in front of #4 bulkhead. The cockpit filled with smoke and due to the intense head, I yelled for Lt. Cupernall to bail out. I leaned over, rang the bail-out bell and called over the interphone as the ship started into a dive. I levelled the ship out, hooked on my parachute, opened the side window and stuck my head out so I could breathe. Opening the window made the flames burn all the more. By this time the entire cockpit was ablaze. I tried to pull the ship out of another dive, but realized that the cables were broken. I started to bail out but saw the bombardier fastening his chute. I yelled and motioned to him, he nodded, I grabbed his foot to be sure he was coming as I tumbled out of the escape hatch not realizing that the tail gunner, S/Sgt. Harold T. Norris was trapped in the plane by the cables."

Nine of the crew bailed out successfully but the tail gunner sadly perished in the crash as the aircraft came down, badly damaging Shalford Hall.

Today there is a memorial to the incident in Shalford village as I saw at the weekend.

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