US AIR FORCE KENTUCKY BABE

On February 11, 2024, it will be 80 years since the Kentucky Babe crashed near our village of Le Quesne.
In the papers of our father, Germain BOURGOIS, we found the letter sent by the US embassy in thanks for the help provided to the members of the crew as well as two photos.
The other helpers from Le Quesne listed on your web page are Madame Paule Guérout, resistance fighter and member of the Bourgogne network, and Mr. Oscar Crépy. They are not the only ones; there were other people who intervened. The baker who gave the clothes of her late husband (a prisoner of war who died in Germany in January 1942), the women who went to join Sokolowski and others...
In one of these photos are Landers, Sokolowki, and in the other there is also Rutherford and two young girls from the village who escorted them on their travels until they were taken care of by the Bourgogne network.,
Heldman, Hayvood, Spining were taken over by other helpers further west and other networks.
Carson, Riley, Lynch and Richey were taken prisoner and Howards died during the attack who is buried in Colleville Cemetery.
I am looking for documents and photos that would allow us to remember and expose this fact to the people of Le Quesne, Beaucamps and neighboring villages (Rutherford came across Beaucamps).
I would like to have more information on the Kentucky Babe, on the mission.
I would like to be able to identify all the members of the crew, and have a photo in uniform for each of them, information on their military career, and know what happened to them after the war.
Spining's daughter came to the scene and handed over some documents to the resistance museum in Forges les Eaux;
Is it still possible to contact other families and by what means ? Thank you for helping us.


 
Parents
  • I am sure others can provide more information and how to search the National Archives files, but I did find this information online from Eric Stevens on Flickr:

    Kentucky Babe
    B-17F-75-BO. 42-29863. 351st Bomb Group. 509th Bomb Squadron.

    Once named "Aint it Gruesome" and painted over for the name "Kentucky Babe", thus adhering to rules by the 8th AAF edict about contentious names.

    August 12th 1943 Actor Clark Gable flew on this aircraft on a secondary target run on Bochum after weather obscured the synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. Pilot John Carraway was also joined by 351st operations officer Maj. Theodore "Ross" Milton as an observer. Gable wedged himself behind the top turret gunner for a better view as German fighters made five passes through the 351st's formation. A 20mm shell came up through the aircrafts flight deck, cut off the heel from Gable's boot, and exited out the fuselage one foot from Clark's head, all without exploding.

    October 10th 1943, landed at Bungay. Pilot Maj. James T. Stewart.

    November 16th 1943, landed at Kirmington. Pilot Cap. Richard E. Hathaway.

    November 26th 1943, landed at Wendling. Pilot Lt. Robert M. Spika. Damage: Two holes created by flak on the right stabilizer. Two holes top of left wing caused by shell cases, one flak hole above co-pilot's window.

    January 11th 1944, landed at Wendling. Pilot Lt. Marvin A. Brooksby.

    On February 11th 1944 this aircraft was shot down on the Frankurt Main mission after flak hits and enemy aircraft destroyed engine #3, and inflicting other damage. A B-17 being shot down at 12:35PM on this day is the possible claim of Oberleutnant Wolfgang Kosse of Sturmstaffel 1 (Jagdgeschwader 3), stationed out of Dortmund.

    Aircraft crashed a mile south of Inval-Boiron, 12 miles NW of Poix-de-Picardie. Only aircraft lost this day.

    Cap. John P. Carson Junior. (POW), Stalag Luft 1. Barth-Vogelsang.

    Lt. Merlyn E. Rutherford (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    Lt. Henry M. Heldmann (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    Lt. William H. Spinning (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    T/Sgt. Joseph R. Haywood (escaped),Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    T/Sgt. John R. Landers (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    S/Sgt. Richard C. Howard (KIA), American Miltary Cemetary Colleville-sur-Mer.

    S/Sgt. James W. Riley (POW), Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    S/Sgt. Dave E. Lynch (POW), Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    S/Sgt. Joe R. Richey (POW). Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    John Paul Carson Jr. later became a Lt. Col. in the USAF (1920-1965)

    Lisa Sharik

Reply
  • I am sure others can provide more information and how to search the National Archives files, but I did find this information online from Eric Stevens on Flickr:

    Kentucky Babe
    B-17F-75-BO. 42-29863. 351st Bomb Group. 509th Bomb Squadron.

    Once named "Aint it Gruesome" and painted over for the name "Kentucky Babe", thus adhering to rules by the 8th AAF edict about contentious names.

    August 12th 1943 Actor Clark Gable flew on this aircraft on a secondary target run on Bochum after weather obscured the synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. Pilot John Carraway was also joined by 351st operations officer Maj. Theodore "Ross" Milton as an observer. Gable wedged himself behind the top turret gunner for a better view as German fighters made five passes through the 351st's formation. A 20mm shell came up through the aircrafts flight deck, cut off the heel from Gable's boot, and exited out the fuselage one foot from Clark's head, all without exploding.

    October 10th 1943, landed at Bungay. Pilot Maj. James T. Stewart.

    November 16th 1943, landed at Kirmington. Pilot Cap. Richard E. Hathaway.

    November 26th 1943, landed at Wendling. Pilot Lt. Robert M. Spika. Damage: Two holes created by flak on the right stabilizer. Two holes top of left wing caused by shell cases, one flak hole above co-pilot's window.

    January 11th 1944, landed at Wendling. Pilot Lt. Marvin A. Brooksby.

    On February 11th 1944 this aircraft was shot down on the Frankurt Main mission after flak hits and enemy aircraft destroyed engine #3, and inflicting other damage. A B-17 being shot down at 12:35PM on this day is the possible claim of Oberleutnant Wolfgang Kosse of Sturmstaffel 1 (Jagdgeschwader 3), stationed out of Dortmund.

    Aircraft crashed a mile south of Inval-Boiron, 12 miles NW of Poix-de-Picardie. Only aircraft lost this day.

    Cap. John P. Carson Junior. (POW), Stalag Luft 1. Barth-Vogelsang.

    Lt. Merlyn E. Rutherford (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    Lt. Henry M. Heldmann (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    Lt. William H. Spinning (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    T/Sgt. Joseph R. Haywood (escaped),Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    T/Sgt. John R. Landers (escaped), Marie-Odile, Pyranees, Espange, Gibralter, to UK on 3/4/1944

    S/Sgt. Richard C. Howard (KIA), American Miltary Cemetary Colleville-sur-Mer.

    S/Sgt. James W. Riley (POW), Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    S/Sgt. Dave E. Lynch (POW), Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    S/Sgt. Joe R. Richey (POW). Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow.

    John Paul Carson Jr. later became a Lt. Col. in the USAF (1920-1965)

    Lisa Sharik

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