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Author Topic: Tough One  (Read 18922 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Tough One
« on: March 02, 2014, 07:05:15 AM »

We have the following inquiry from "Glenn" (no surname)

"40 years ago I was given a WWII flight jacket. I would like to get it back to the family whose grand or great grand farther who earned it. The aircraft was called Chatterbox and the airman nickname was Blackie. Can you help me find them."

A noble gesture but a seemingly impossible task unless the Chatterbox nose art was photographed and included in one of the books on the subject.

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Doug Ledlie

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 08:37:47 AM »

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John Ousterhout

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 12:03:48 PM »


"Australian and American crew pose with B-25C "Chatter Box" 41-13088 parked at Port Moresby
(Left to right) RAAF Sgt E. McCarthy, SSgt J. M. Hume USAAF top turret gunner, F/Sgt Ivan Wilkinson, Co-Pilot Lt. Edward T. Slomon, USAAF, SSgt Herbert W. Divers, USAAF
Credit: RAAF via AWM OG0015 Date: c1943"
(from same website as above)

Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 12:37:00 PM »

B-17 named "Chatterbox" interned in Switzerland listed here
http://swissinternees.tripod.com/aircraft.html

and one named "Chatterbox!"here (different one -lost)
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.aviation.military/rG4PI_AFW0Y

A picture of the B-17 interned in Switzerland named Chatterbox on page 69 in the book Clark Gable in Pictures
42-31899 noted as being in 510 squadron in 351 bomber group
Crew search for that plane here
http://www.351st.org/loadlist/search.php
3971R
 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 01:51:16 PM by Greg Daspit »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 11:54:50 PM »

Interned in Switzerland B-17 Chatterbox crew list...

http://www.351st.org/loadlist/search.php?type=m&mission=133&ac=42-31899
This must be the place
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 11:29:15 PM »

A reference to a B-17 crew member nickname 'Blackie' appears in the best seller A Higher Call: The Incredible True Story of Heroism and Chivalry during the Second World War

"Five days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. Suddenly a German Messerschmitt fighter pulled up on the bomber's tail - the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day - the American - 2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown and the German - 2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler."

The German fighter pilot escorted the badly damaged B-17 out to the North Sea.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DjUUAAAAQBAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s

The bomb group isn't the one which B-17 'chatterbox' was part of though, the 351st bomb group. The 'Blackie' mentioned in the book flew with the 379th bomb group B-17s. Still, their bases here in England were very close together and, its a lead worth following up. Plus the added bonus of the crew describing how they decorated their crew jackets because every other bomb group had done so. Now, who is this 'Blackie' character?
This must be the place
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 01:20:42 AM »

“Ye Olde Pub” crew:
Back row, L-R:
S/Sgt Bertrand O.Coulombe, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Sgt Alex Yelesanko, Left Waist, Sgt Richard A. Pechout, Radio Operator; Sgt Lloyd H. Jennings, Right Waist; S/Sgt Hugh S. Eckenrode, Tail Gunner; Sgt Samuel W. Blackford, Ball Turret
Front row, L-R:
2nd Lt Charles L. Brown, Pilot; 2nd Lt Spencer G. Luke, Co-Pilot; 2nd Lt Albert Sadok, Navigator;
2nd Lt Robert M. Andrews, Bombardier 
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Doug Ledlie

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 07:08:07 AM »

Appears then that possibilities exist for both the Pacific (B-25) and European (B-17) theatres.  I ponder if there is anything more to be learned from the flight jacket itself that would point to one or the other.  Were jacket manufacturers, styles and/or "weight" consistent between theatres and/or aircraft.  I suppose given the significant difference (per wikipedia anyway) in max ceilings between the B-25 and B-17, that the B-25 might might not "need" as heavy a jacket...Dunno
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 07:18:04 AM »

Appears then that possibilities exist for both the Pacific (B-25) and European (B-17) theatres.  I ponder if there is anything more to be learned from the flight jacket itself that would point to one or the other.  Were jacket manufacturers, styles and/or "weight" consistent between theatres and/or aircraft.  I suppose given the significant difference (per wikipedia anyway) in max ceilings between the B-25 and B-17, that the B-25 might might not "need" as heavy a jacket...Dunno

Good point Doug, maybe some markings on the jacket may help? I have a description of what the 'ye olde pub' crew had on theirs.

Incidentally, the ball turret gunner on 'ye olde pub' B-17, Sgt Samuel W. Blackford, Ball Turret, his nickname? Blackie.
I'll post the crew group photo later.
This must be the place
 
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JNev

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 10:04:20 AM »

Maybe "Blackie" was first of the 351st with intent for "Chatter Box", and later of the 379th and "Ye Olde Pub"... the proximity raises some possibilities.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 10:20:26 AM »

Maybe "Blackie" was first of the 351st with intent for "Chatter Box", and later of the 379th and "Ye Olde Pub"... the proximity raises some possibilities.

Yes that's one possibility Jeff. Another is that some aircraft were flown with composite crews, guys that had one or two missions left before rotating back home to the USA. The crew members would meet up for the first time for these missions. Might explain why one of the crew members from 'Chatterbox', the plane that was interned in Switzerland couldn't, only days later, remember the names of some of the crew he flew with on that mission.
This must be the place
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 10:34:49 AM »

And just to add more to the mystery Jeff, there was another B-17 named 'Chatterbox II'. Even more avenues to explore  :-\
This must be the place
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 12:34:59 PM »

'Ye Olde pub' crew members
Sgt Samuel W. 'Blackie' Blackford, Ball Turret...



This must be the place
 
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 05:41:38 PM »

Good get.

Dan Brown, #2408
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Tough One
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 06:18:12 PM »

To do a crew search for the different crews for each mission 42-31899 flew, use the crew search link in reply 3. Click aircraft search. Enter 42-31899. Click on mission number
3971R
 
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