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Author Topic: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944  (Read 92168 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #60 on: December 27, 2012, 04:52:14 PM »

From Mario:

Here are some pictures showing hand-painted letters on the Sperry Turret, on the right and left sides, just above the outlet hole of the Browning machine guns  barrels.

Because the turret is upside down, we have the letters  I L E  in the upper left and the letters  I S ( or maybe  O I S ) in the upper right.

The other letters are still covered by mud. Perhaps some veteran airmen might remember a B-17 at the Air Fields of LUCERA, CELONE or AMENDOLA (South Italy) with these letters on the Sperry Turret.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Rolland Swank

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #61 on: January 04, 2013, 07:27:00 AM »

On 15 January 1944,   B-17F 41-24364 from the 2nd BG went down in the vicinity of Lake Bolsena,  (MACR 1814). In the MACR there is reference to Bolsena.    Unfortunately, as was apparently standard in the 2nd  Bomb Group, while they did record the engine serial numbers they did not record the serial numbers of guns in the MACRs. All the crew were either captured or evaded.  I have reason to believe the plane went into the lake.   I suspect this the "January" 1944 plane that is referenced earlier in this thread.

The ball turret gunner on the plane was Ralph Whitfield Truesdale.    In 1947 Ralph divorced his wife,  Lois Eileen Truesdale.   Note the difference in spelling on "Eileen" .  I suspect the "E"  is there on the turret, just covered up.
From the gunner's perspective, the names would be Lois - Eileen from left to right.   

You can read about the crew in the book "The Second Was First"  here starting on page 121.
http://www.2ndbombgroup.org/TheSecondWasFirst.pdf
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Francesco Battelli

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #62 on: January 04, 2013, 10:58:57 AM »

Hi my name is Francesco, i am a frend of Massimilano.
 I've found one article talking about our plane 42-24364 in Italian language by Claudio Biscarini (well known by Mario I guess), at the following link:
http://www.dellastoriadempoli.it/?p=9117
It is very promising, it gives many details.
I hope that it cold be useful for the research.
Bye,
Francesco
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Francesco Battelli

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #63 on: January 04, 2013, 11:25:47 AM »

Hi again.
More details about Sg.t Ralph W. Truesdale, B17 sperry gunner.
It seems that he was coming from Pinellas County in Florida, see the link:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article498534.ece
Bye,
Francesco
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #64 on: January 04, 2013, 02:14:28 PM »

Hi my name is Francesco, i am a frend of Massimilano.
 I've found one article talking about our plane 42-24364 in Italian language by Claudio Biscarini (well known by Mario I guess), at the following link:
http://www.dellastoriadempoli.it/?p=9117
It is very promising, it gives many details.
I hope that it cold be useful for the research.
Bye,
Francesco

Here is a link to the microsofttranslator translation of the article into English.
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2013, 11:43:49 AM »

I've fallen behind on Mario's updates.

Some new pix confirming that "Eileen Lois" is painted on the turret.

Mario and the gang would love to learn more about the flight and the crew, if anyone has any leads.  He says, "I would love to find at least one photo of the crew in the vicinity of the plane."
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 08:09:49 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #66 on: May 24, 2013, 08:59:02 PM »

Looks like the guys have recovered more wreckage. Would be nice to see some photos of the B-17 in the air though.

http://www.ontuscia.it/cronaca/vigili-del-fuoco-recuperata-torretta-con-mitragliatrici-dai-fondali-del-lago-di-bolsena-foto-90702

B-17F    41-24364
This must be the place
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #67 on: May 24, 2013, 09:18:25 PM »

Even stranger. The USAAF Serial number 41-24364 B17-F was once a Royal Air Force B-17 serial number FA 679? to be confirmed by photographic evidence though...

"Air Ministry Serials Applied to USAAF B-17Fs (pages 30 to 32 and 151)
Britain ordered 300 B-17s, ‘nominally B-17Es’, in June 1941 under Defense Aid contract DA-16. They were allocated Air Ministry serials FA675 to FA823 (149 serials) and FH467 to FH617 (151 serials) but in the end none of these serials were applied to RAF-bound B-17Es. At least some of the 20 serials from the beginning of the first series, FA675 to FA694, are known to have been applied to early B-17Fs subsequently operated by the USAAF while the 19 B-17Fs delivered to Britain were allocated the next serials, FA695 to FA713. The rest of the FA serials, FA714 to FA823, and all the FH serials allocated to B-17s were never used.
No records for the application of these Air Ministry serials appear to have survived and there is no indication on their Individual Aircraft Record Cards, as there is for B-17Es assigned to Britain, that these B-17Fs were ever formerly intended for Britain.
One possible explanation for the application of the Air Ministry serials is that Boeing and Air Ministry personnel at Seattle initially understood that B-17Fs would follow the 45 B-17Es delivered to Britain after production of the latter ended. Boeing then applied the first available FA serials to up to 20 early B-17Fs, leaving FL465 to FL502 from the FL449 to FL502 allocation previously applied to B-17Es unused.
More photographs of the 20 B-17Fs have recently come to hand and an analysis of available images strongly suggests that all 20 Air Ministry serials FA675 to FA694 were applied in sequence with a contiguous block of USAAF serials as follows. Interestingly, the 19 Air Ministry serial numbers applied to smaller blocks of B-17Fs that were delivered to Britain ran in sequence with their respective USAAF serials.
USAAF Serials
41-24360 – 41-24379 Air Ministry Serials FA675 – FA694 (20)
Notes Confirmed match-up
41-24360 – 41-24362 FA675 – FA677 (3)
Matchups unconfirmed
41-24363 FA678 Photographic confirmation
41-24364 – 41-24367 FA679 – FA682 (4) Matchups unconfirmed
41-24368 FA683 Photographic confirmation
41-24369 FA684 Photographic confirmation
41-24370 FA685 Photograph indicates this aircraft had an over-painted Air Ministry serial
41-24371 – 41-24375 FA686 – FA690 (5) Matchups unconfirmed
41-24376 FA691 Photographic confirmation
41-24377 – 41-24379 FA692 – FA694 (3) Matchups unconfirmed


Full article....

http://mmpbooks.biz/Amendments%20-%2012.03.09.pdf


This must be the place
 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 09:21:00 PM by Jeff Victor Hayden »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #68 on: May 28, 2013, 07:55:43 AM »

From Mario:

After a long time I'm back to give you news. This is due to the complex recovery operation that I had to organize.

This is the result of  the great help and encouragement that you have given me.

Without it we would never have been able to write this page of history.

Thanks to you and to all the friends of your Forum.

A presto.

 Mario
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #69 on: December 14, 2013, 06:11:58 AM »

Good news from Mario received in e-mail:

Finally, and thanks to your great help, the Sperry Ball Turret is now in the Museum of Bolsena. We have created a special section dedicated to this historical story. I was able to reconstruct the life of every single crewman after they bailed out of the plane over Italy and of those people who saved their lives by hiding from the Germans.

The new section of the museum will open on Saturday, January 11, 2014, at 11:00 am. The event will be attended by sons and families of some of the crewmen and also the families of the Italians who helped them. The American Embassy in Rome and the Military Attache will have representatives at the event.

Comment by MXM: It would be splendid if some member of the Forum could show up at the ceremony and take a bow on behalf of all who helped Mario with this research.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #70 on: December 14, 2013, 08:09:42 AM »

Never underestimate the power of the Forum! I learned that one a long time ago.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2013, 10:47:33 AM »

Its good to see that the TIGHAR community, members and non members have had an input into a recovery as such (even if it was mostly about IDing the plane and its history)  Cudos to the Italians for their perseverance.

Maybe this is an avenue TIGHAR should be perusing, International cooperation in identifying and recording lost planes through research by forum members.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2014, 08:50:54 AM »

From Mario about the opening of the exhibit:

It was a beautiful day, very excited audience for the presence of the families of the crewmen of the B-17. I invited the three daughters of Lt. JosephTownsend the co-pilot and the son of Tail Gunner Horace Mahabirsingh. In all 14 people were just thrilled to get to know also the places where their fathers bailed out and the farmhouses where they were hidden by Italian families. The presence of U.S. Military Attache of the U.S. Embassy has made the event very interesting. The Sperry Ball Turret is beautifully displayed.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2014, 11:04:41 AM »

A good result for all those involved Mario, Marty, forum etc...
Great photos!
This must be the place
 
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JNev

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Re: Search and recovery: B-17 crashed into Bolsena Lake, June 1944
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2014, 09:01:54 AM »

Sweet outcome - glad to see this come to fruit.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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