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.
It seems appropriate to start off with a photograph of the 384th BG "assembly" ship, variously titled "Patches 11" and "Spotted Cow" and "Speckled Hen."
From D. Sheley on Flickr: An assembly ship! This is a B-17F-60-DL that was originally was "Patches II" of the 547th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group. An assembly ship was used to guide the other aircraft in the direction they needed while forming up the group after takeoff. They were usually aircraft that had been retired from combat and painted with some wild schemes,like these polka dots,and bright colors like red and yellow for easy visibility.
From Hawk914 on Flickr: In her role as the 384th BG's assembly ship, 'Patches II' was referred to as the 'Spotted Cow', or the 'Speckled Hen'. She was overall white with blue polka dots. More info and photos HERE...
(LOST GALLERY note: One photograph that you see on that link IS the same as the one at the right. It was apparently "borrowed" without credit from the Flickr set.)
From Hawk914 on Flickr: This is a B-17G, serial number 42-31515, of the 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. The ship was named 'The Wild Hare', and also served with the 91st's 401st Bombardment Squadron.
She entered service in the ETO in January 1944 and was lost on November 26th, 1944 during a mission to Bremen. MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) #10836
You can see two photos of this ship, its nose art, and two different crews, HERE and HERE.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: That's a badly broken tail of a B-17G.
From Hawk914 on Flickr: This is 42-107040, Shirley Jean of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: This is 42-107040, Shirley Jean of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.
(The damage) .. was apparently the result of a mid-air collision over England with another 91st B-17, 44-6151 Shure Shot, which also suffered tail damage.
Happily, nobody was hurt in either B-17..
From John Wilkerson on Flickr: Eighth Air Force bombers carried tail marks to identify their group. This consisted of a letter inside either a triangle, circle or square. The A inside a triangle marks these B-17's as belonging to the 91st Bomb Group. During their time in England they were stationed at RAF Basingbourn, three miles north of Royston in Hertfordshire.
Wiki on USAF markings
Wiki on 91st Bomber Group
From D. Sheley on Flickr: B-17G "Ack Ack Annie" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This plane has an impressive scoreboard of missions on the nose. "Ack Ack Annie" ended up flying a total of 143 missions.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: B-17G "Rusty Dusty" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG.
From Hawk914 on Flickr: This ship entered service with the 91st BG on December 7th, 1944 and was written off after a taxiing accident on April 4th, 1945 at the 91st BG's home base of Bassingbourn, England.
From D. Sheley on Flickr:"Stinky" was a B-17G-50-DL serial #44-6308 from the 322nd BS, 91st BG. It's very possible that "Stinky" took over the code LG-S after "Skunkface" went down. I know that usually several planes would carry a squadron code over the course of the war due to losses and crews rotating out after completing tours. A quick search found that "Skunkface", "Stinky" and "Heavyweight Annihilators II" all carried the code LG-S at some point during the war.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: I believe the aircraft tucked in behind Stinky is 43-37707, named Madame Shoo Shoo.
From Hawk914 on Flickr: B-17s of the 91st Bombardment Group.
The ship in the foreground, a Lockheed/Vega-built B-17G, serial number 44-8588, was assigned to the 324th BS, 91st BG, but had been previously assigned to the 381st BG, denoted by the over-painted 'L' inside the triangle on the tail. The 91st's 'A' has yet to be added.
This is a 'Mickey Ship'... a pathfinder equipped with H2X radar for blind-bombing through overcast. The belly turret has been replaced by the H2X radome. More info about how the term 'Mickey' came to be used for the H2X can be found HERE...
The Fort behind the Mickey ship is a Boeing-built B-17G, serial number 43-38379, named 'Margie'. This ship was assigned to the 323rd BS... more info can be found HERE, and a photo of the nose art can be seen HERE. (Scroll up just a bit, it's on the left.)
Looking at the other photos from this series, it appears that the ship on the right may also have been an-ex 381st BG aircraft re-assigned to the 91st BG.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: The name of the B-17G 44-8588 is Klette's Wild Hares. It was named for Lt Col Immanuel J. Klette, commander of the 91st Bomb Group's 324th Bomb Squadron, which had evolved into a pathfinder unit. According to historian Roger Freeman, Klette "was probably the most knowledgeable combat pilot in the whole 8th Air Force".
There's a photo of Klette and the artwork on this aircraft at Footnote.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: This is a great photo. The aircraft nosing into the frame on the right is pretty special: Ack-Ack Annie was 42-32095, one of the early uncamouflaged aircraft, and she survived the war with a total of 143 missions. Nelson Van Blarcom, her last pilot, told me that when he was assigned to Ack-Ack Annie, "our crew felt the percentages were against us, but after four or five missions we all fell in love with her . . . you cannot live with something this close without getting emotionally involved . . . we felt there was nothing that could stop the old girl . . . I still feel this way".
From D. Sheley on Flickr: B-17G-85-BO "The Biggest Bird" S/N 43-38306 of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This plane was damaged in the raid on Pilsen April 25,1945 and made a forced landing at an emergency field on the continent. The plane was abandoned.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: I believe this a plane called "Star Dust" from the 322ns Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. I've been digging through the dailies from the 91st BG and saw a reference to plane #901 from the 322nd BS and it would be in the right time frame for this plane. They usually refered to planes by the last three numbers of the serial.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: It took a lot of digging and a little guess work,but I finally figured out the name on this plane. This is B-17G-85-BO "Extra Special" from the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.
From Steve Birdsall on Flickr: I believe that the camouflaged aircraft behind Extra Special is 42-31678, Little Patches of the 401st Bomb Squadron. She survived the war.
From D. Sheley on Flickr: B-17G of the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. This plane survived the war and returned to the US,was scrapped at Kingman AAD on July 1,1946.
Information on the two photographs below of a B-17 parked in the snow.
From Hawk914 on Flickr:You gotcher-self a photo of a celebrity here...
B-17G, serial number 42-31909, named 'Nine-O-Nine', of the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group.
'Nine-O-Nine' completed 140 missions without one crew fatality, and I believe there were no injuries either. She survived the war and was scrapped at the great bone-yard in Kingman, Arizona.
A restored B-17 operated by the Collings Foundation carries this ship's markings...
Could you please add this photo to the USAAF group?
Fade to Black...
From G.Asher on FlickerNote: The 323rd's parking area where "Nine-O-Nine" normally sat, across the A1189 east of the main base, was originally the drive up to Wimpole Hall, an estate that doubled as a convalescent center for American airmen during the war. Dutch Elm disease necessitated the removal of the trees in the 1970's; today the only thing left to indicate the 323rd's presence is a memorial marker.
(Note:The photographs below were taken from almost the same point but not quite. They have been positioned here so that if you cross your eyes just right, they will fuse into a 3D image!)
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
P-51 Mustang (This one)
The Avro York
The Short Stirling Bomber
The Piper Cub with the Bazookas
And Miscellaneous personnel and landscapes
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.