In the basement of an "antique store" these two books of 35mm negatives were found. They were destined for the dumpster no doubt, but rescued for LOST GALLERY and the enthusiasts who treasure the history and memorabilia of the second world war.
The first book of contains 327 negatives. The photographs were scanned and uploaded to a set on Flickr in 2007 and then grouped generally by subject for the pages of LOST GALLERY. Most of the photographs in this set are of aircraft in world war two. Nothing was known for sure about the photographs but slowly over the years some information has accumulated. It was established that the date for most of the photographs is late 1944.
Most of the negatives had notations on the accompanying index pages. Mostly the photographer was concerned about the lighting and exposure of each frame but occasionally also made notes on the subject matter. Where possible these notations will be included under each picture on this page.
The 205 negatives in the other file were taken postwar, about half in England and the rest in Texas, USA. The photographs apparently show a bit of touring before leaving the England based AAF unit and the first photographs after arriving in Texas.
The negative file has about 40 photograph of just personnel on the base. We are starting with three shots of a man working at his desk. The photographer labeled this strip "Tibbons office desk brite sun out no data"
From Hawk914 on Flickr: On the wall behind him is a 91st Bomb Group calendar.
(Note: If the shot were clear enough the calendar would date this set of negatives quickly.)
From G. Asher on Flickr: The Thunderbolt in the background is P-47D 42-75151, formerly of the 82nd Ftr Sq, 78th FG - now a formation monitor for the 1st Combat Bomb Wing. On 15 May 1945, the ship crashed with MAJ James L. Griffin at the controls, killing him instantly. I have another image taken from the top of a hangar (to the left in the photo you have) showing this Thunderbolt with other 1st CBW 'hack' aircraft - the blurry triangle on the tail can only mean one thing.
Here's the photo I mentioned (posted on Footnote) straight from the AAF's WWII photo collection at NARA College Park:
From D. Sheley on Flickr: Capt. James L. Griffin and crew from the 91st Bomb Group in front of the 322nd Bomb Squadron's 'hack' aircraft, a B-17E (s/n 41-9023) named "Yankee Doodle", taken on February 15,1944.
Griffin eventually was made a Major, he was killed while flying a P-47 (s/n 42-75151) which was used as a formation assembly monitor by the 1st Combat Bomb Wing,1st Air Division,8th Air Force on May 15,1945.
This plane was originally assigned to the 414th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group when it was part of the 8th Air Force. It took part in the 8th's first operational mission to bomb Rouen,France on August 17,1942 and was carrying as its passenger General Ira Eaker.
It was later sent to the 91st Bomb Group when the 97th went to Italy and the 15th Air Force. While with the 91st it served with the 322nd Bomb Squadron (coded LG-X) and the 324th Bomb Squadron (coded DF-X). She was scrapped on July 26,1945.
From Peter Swanson on Flickr (not active): (Referring to photograph at left) That's a close up of my late father, Philip O. Swanson - Navigator of "Skunface II" I believe that Griffin is at his left shoulder.
Sadly, he (Griffin) was doing a celebratory barrel roll with the fighter plane (as he had completed his official tour of combat duty over Europe) when he looped too low and hit the runway. A tragic end to an exceptionally skilled and brave Fortress pilot. My Dad was back in the states when he heard of Griffin's death. He was devastated.
My Dad said that Griffin was the most gifted and 'natural' pilot he'd ever encountered. In the book "Ragged Irregulars of Basingborne" there's a shot of the "Skunkface II" with most of the rudder shot off, and some of the crew staring at the battle damage. JG brought home wounded 'birds' with a combination of skill & guts.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: General William Gross was the commander of the 1st Combat Wing,of which the 91st Bomb Group was part of. That's him on the right. A pilot from the 401st BS,91st BG sent me an e-mail telling me of flying the general over the D-Day beaches and getting shot at by the navy because they were in a restricted area. The pilot was a major at the time and ended up retiring as a Brig. General.
From Hawk914 on Flickr: The fella on the right is a Technical Sergeant and wears what looks to be aircrew wings. I'm no expert on awards and ribbons and such but looking at his ribbon rack, it seems that he served in the Pacific before he came to the ETO... the middle ribbon on the lower row looks like the Asiatic-Pacific campaign ribbon.
I recognize the good conduct ribbon (upper right), but I find the others a bit harder to ID. The one on the lower right almost looks like a reversed European-African-Middle Eastern campaign ribbon. The one in the middle on the upper row looks to have been awarded at least four times, judging by the three devices added to the ribbon... but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe the Air Medal? The one on the upper left may be the Distinguished Flying Cross, but again I'm not sure. No clue on the lower left ribbon...
The fella on the left is a Staff Sergeant and non-aircrew. Although the specialist insignia on his lower right sleeve is not fully visible, it looks like he could be an armament specialist. The service bars on his lower left sleeve indicate two years of overseas service. (six months for each mark)
The lone ribbon above the left breast pocket looks to be the European-African-Middle Eastern campaign ribbon, and there are two devices added indicating two separate campaigns. (I think)
Above the right breast pocket is a DUC... a Distinguished Unit Citation.
Sgts Clink and Armstrong PanX lite good sun 4 5
From D. Sheley on Flickr: Hawk is pretty much spot-on.
The man on the left has a Presidential Unit Citation Medal over his right breast pocket and is wearing the ribbon for the European-Africa Middle Eastern Campaign with 2 stars.
Here is what I think the ribbons are on the man on the right:
Top row (L-R):
Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Good Conduct Medal
Bottom row (L-R):
American Defense Service Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
European-Africa Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Sgts Clink and Armstrong PanX lite good sun 4 5
From D. Sheley on Flickr: Could be a special event. The man on the left has what looks to be 3 oak leaf clucters on his Air Medal. The clusters were given for additional Air Medals received, which were usually given for the number of missions flown. It could be this man is finishing his tour, depending on how the 91st gave out the medal.
Capt Newquist f9
From D. Sheley on Flickr: Capt. Newquist was the squadron opperations officer for the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: It seems the air force collection was put together post-war when a whole lot of material - original negatives, original prints - was gathered from various sources. The captions to the photos are sometimes unreliable too - date given can be the date the photo was taken, the date it was approved for release by the censors, or the date it was received at a given place.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr(continued): There are even "blanket dates" - November 1944 was sometimes given for photos of aircraft that had been lost in action months earlier.
As dougsheley noted, Newquist was 322nd Operations Officer when your photo was taken. In February 1945 he was transfered to group headquarters and promoted to major, so this photo was taken sometime before that.
(The B-17 in the background of the photograph to the left) I think is 42-32083, Flatbush Floogie from the 452nd Bomb Group's 731st Bomb Squadron, based at Deopham Green in Norfolk.
The tail marking breaks down this way: black square indicates Third Air Division, the L and the horizontal bands in yellow signify the wing and group, the + following the letter identifies the squadron and the J is an individual aircraft letter.
This B-17 was shot down on the February 26, 1945 Berlin mission, so that's another definite date to work with.
An interesting sidelight is that this aircraft is just seven planes away from 42-32076, Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby, on display at the Air Force Museum in Ohio.
Just a note of caution. The nickname Flatbush Floogie is credited to both 42-97083 and 42-32083 in Ed Hinrichs' book Missing Planes of the 452nd Bomb Group.
Normally this would be nothing too unusual, but the similarity in the serial numbers does make me wonder.
I don't know which is correct as far as the nickname goes, but 42-32083 was certainly lost with Lt Allen Marksian and his crew on February 26, 1945.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: I've also noticed that "Flatbush Floogie" was given the serial number of 42-97083 and a serial number search said it was shot down on April 11,1944. The search also said she was from the 728th Bomb Squadron.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: The fact that 42-97083 was shot down ten months before 42-32083 would usually mean it was nothing special for them to have the same name.
But two "083's" with the same play on words . . . ?
After spending a little more time on this, I am sure that 42-32083 definitely carried the name "Flatbush Floogie" on her nose.
Maybe 42-97083 did too, but I think it's more likely that somebody was told that "Flatbush Floogie" was number "083" and leaped to a wrong conclusion. Easily done.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: I'm adding a photo of 2ndLt. Newquist and his first combat crew in front of their plane, "Chow-Hound".
From D. Sheley on Flickr: "Buck" Rogers was either a maintenance or ordinance officer with the 401st Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. One of the original pilots from the 401st sent me an e-mail with the info.
This last shot is a helpful one. It is a "selfie" in today's terminology. The photographer took a picture of himself in a mirror.
We can see what camera he was using. It is a Leica
CLICK HERE to view the
from the other negative file from this same photographer.
Look at the bazookas on that little honey!
Click here for the whole story!
Here are more stories about the 91st Bomber Group and some of the missions flown on a fine website by
For others in the AAF Bassingbourn series see also
The P-61 Black Widow
The Lancaster Bomber
The Avro York
The Short Stirling Bomber
The Piper Cub with the Bazookas
The B - 26
The Aerial Shots
The Personnel (This One)
The Christmas Party
The Photographer Tours England
And Miscellaneous clouds, landscapes and snow
Bassingbourn from a Window on the base.
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THE KIDS It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.