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Old Nov 10, 2010, 6:49 PM   #31
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A number of those rivets are genuinely ourstanding.
Ted
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 7:16 PM   #32
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A number of those rivets are genuinely outstanding.
Ted
Yes, you are right. I even took a closer photo of the rivets while I was there.

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Old Nov 10, 2010, 7:52 PM   #33
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Yes those are the rivets I was referring to.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 6:50 AM   #34
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Really good shots Steven, great planes and like Greg said a great sound. Every now and then they'll come up home to Boeing Field here.

Warning, Old fart speak...: When I was a kid in England in the late 40's, I actually remember seeing and hearing these monsters taking off and landing at Manston Air Base in Kent. The base was up behind our houses.
One of the pilots lived off base in our street. I remember his wife tell my aunt that he'd she'd wake up at night with him pushing her out of bed, yelling "Jump, you bloody fool, we're on fire."

Oh wait. They didn't have PTSD in those days did they?
from one old fart to another .... couldn't resist responding.
My Father John (89) is now in my care . In 1943 whilst on leave he went up to the 306BG at thurliegh to visit his Sister who had just married one of the American servicemen at the airdrome.

Whilst there he was taken up in one of the brand new Fortresses (Boeing B-17F -120- BO Flying Fortress 42-30811. ) which had just arrived at the base. They went out over the Wash on a test run and practised bombing runs and made several low passes to try out all the guns etc .

When they got back the pilot gave my Father a copy of the flight report which showed the crew with my Father listed as AB John Earley ( is this the only case of an able seaman flying as crew in a bomber I wonder ?)

My Father was also give a complete flying kit from the Fortress including a flight suit Jacket, trousers, Helmet, Goggles Mitts and boots all sheepskin lined .

Most of the clothing got cut up by the family to make sheepskin moccasins and gloves etc but the Jacket and goggles survived and I wore those with great pride on my Lambretta scooter in the late 60's (Mods & Rockers)

I have since done some research on the bomber and flight crew and was deeply saddened to hear that the bomber was lost on its first mission the following week over Germany on what became to be known as Black Thursday. The only original crew member to survive was gt. Pierre L. Noisat Jr. Tail Gunner - POW.

I post this story as a personal tribute and in rememberance of everyone who served in WWll weather land sea or air . God bless you all
Hope you'll all excuse the reminisces of an old fart


For those that are interested there are some excellent forums http://forum.armyairforces.com/default.aspx
http://www.306bg.org/
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 8:16 AM   #35
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Hi Earleybird: what an interesting story and thank you for sharing it with us. We have a lot of guys in this forum who are history buffs, and I know that they will really appreciate your comments.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 8:45 AM   #36
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...I did enjoy the story, thank you Earlybird. I also enjoyed browsing the link.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 9:20 AM   #37
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Earleybird, I'm also one of the history buffs - thanks for that story!

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Old Nov 16, 2010, 9:35 AM   #38
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Great tale EB, bet you looked really cool with a bomber jacket and goggles back then. Were you involved in the Battle of Hastings, the great M&R fight of the early 60's

Interestingly the story of those raids and Black Thurday was on TV last night, 73 B17's went down that day, which sounds bad enough but multiply by 10 for the crew and that's horrific.

A few years back I was invited to a day out at Boeing with a group of Canadian and British WWII Tail gunners. (Mostly Lancasters) Crazy old coots who knew that they had lived extended lives. Most had done 50 or more night trips to Germany. a few of them spent time as POW's and wore catapillar pins. The visit was to see the B17 they were refurbishing there, they got a kick out climbing over that. (wonder how many had nightmares and flashbacks that night) I got offered a job there, as a volunteer that is. In one of my past lives I was an aircraft sheetmetal man. To far to travel though.

Look after your old Dad EB, nice you can spend this time with him.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 4:35 PM   #39
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thanks everyone for the warm welcome.

Scouse ....a bit spooky that there was a program on last night about black thursday ! Your mention of the visit to Boeing to look over a B17 has given me an idea. I'm sure that there must be one in a Museum somewhere in the UK. I'll have to do a search as it would be a great day out for Pops .

My Father has dementia and his memories are slipping away fast. In the year he has been with us he has lost most of his wartime memories.

I found out last year that his first ship escorted the Atlantic convoys and his second ship HMS Glenearn ( A troop carrier)was one of the first ships to arrive at the Normandy beaches on DDay to drop off all the special forces , US Marines , SAS etc who had to silence the big guns and clear the beaches of mines etc. (It was also the first ship to arrive at Hiroshima after the bomb had been dropped) He sure kept that secret all his life.

He is 89 now and its sad to think that pretty soon there will not be anyone left alive that served in WWll to tell us the stories from memory.

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Old Nov 17, 2010, 2:07 PM   #40
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thanks everyone for the warm welcome.

Scouse ....a bit spooky that there was a program on last night about black thursday ! Your mention of the visit to Boeing to look over a B17 has given me an idea. I'm sure that there must be one in a Museum somewhere in the UK. I'll have to do a search as it would be a great day out for Pops .

My Father has dementia and his memories are slipping away fast. In the year he has been with us he has lost most of his wartime memories.

I found out last year that his first ship escorted the Atlantic convoys and his second ship HMS Glenearn ( A troop carrier)was one of the first ships to arrive at the Normandy beaches on DDay to drop off all the special forces , US Marines , SAS etc who had to silence the big guns and clear the beaches of mines etc. (It was also the first ship to arrive at Hiroshima after the bomb had been dropped) He sure kept that secret all his life.

He is 89 now and its sad to think that pretty soon there will not be anyone left alive that served in WWll to tell us the stories from memory.
That is very interesting Earlybird. Thanks for sharing.

I'm not knowledgeable of the local English geography, but the only currently flying B-17 in Europe is based in England at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
http://duxford.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.178

Imperial War Museum Duxford link to map
Cambridgeshire
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