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B-17 'Devils from Hell' found off Sicily


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RustyCanteen

Saw this in the news feed this morning:

 

"The wreck of a Flying Fortress bomber shot down by Messerschmitt fighters during the Second World War has been found lying on the seabed off the coast of Sicily.

 

The B-17, nicknamed Devils from Hell by its nine-man crew, was discovered by divers at a depth of 245ft (75 metres), around four miles from the port of Palermo in southern Italy.

The discovery was the result of months of detective work, with historians and amateur divers matching official wartime records with the accounts of elderly Sicilians who still remember the raid."

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11907666/B-17-Flying-Fortress-bomber-found-on-seabed-off-Sicily.html

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Always enjoy reading about these finds!

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

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Very cool indeed. The wreck looks to be in pretty good shape. Hopefully it will be designated war grave to discourage souvenir hunters.

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Andy
ASMIC# 5617

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Very cool indeed. The wreck looks to be in pretty good shape. Hopefully it will be designated war grave to discourage souvenir hunters.

 

 

It was as the entire crew was lost when it went down. Very poignant.

 

-Ski

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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RustyCanteen

I always find these stories fascinating. There is an entire world under the surface of the world's oceans. Humans have lost a lot of things to 'Davey Jones Locker'. It truly is a museum of history.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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  • 6 months later...
Famed WW2 reporter Ernie Pyle had met some 301st Bomb Group (Heavy) airmen in England in the fall of 1942, and followed their deployment November 1942 to North Africa, following the Operation Torch invasion. Due to wartime censorship, Pyle couldn’t mention the unit, but I’ve matched his “House of Jackson” crew to be the same as the crew of “Devils from Hell”, B-17 124371, 301st Bomb Group (Heavy), 353rd Squadron. Here are his columns about them. The last one mentions the ship's loss over Palermo.


St. Petersburg Times, Dec 29, 1942, Ernie Pyle "House of Jackson" column - part 1



St. Petersburg Times, Dec 29, 1942, Ernie Pyle "House of Jackson" column - part 2



St. Petersburg Times, Jun 4, 1943, followup column

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301st Bomb Group website: http://www.301bg.com/353bs_aircraft.cfm
According to.....
...124371 Devils From Hell, 353rd squadron Original aircraft. MIA Palermo 18 Apr 43 on its 39th mission. Attacked by ME-110s 20 miles from target. Bobby Godwin crew, Houck, Person, Hope, Hawkins, Imer, Littrel, Nelges, Spagafore. All KIA. (MACR 16508) Crew declared MIA April 1943, declared KIA one year later, April 1944. Note: This MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) was created after the war was over. MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) # 16508 can be found here: https://www.fold3.com/document/38629798/ (sorry, this is a subscription site; I'll add an image of the MACR when I'm allowed to).
A photo of its sister ship B-17F 124370 "Berlin Sleeper" can be found here: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/freeman/media-457813.jpg
Other video of 97th & 301st Bomb Group B-17s (from December 1942) can be found here. I've verified (via tail number & film date) that several of the B-17s depicted are from 301st Bomb Group (Heavy), 353rd Squadron, same as "Devils from Hell":

 

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Great and poignant story and followup with the Ernie Pyle articles. Thank you. May that crew of heroes continue their rest in peace in their water graves.

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As I can't (yet?) edit my original post, non-subscription access to MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) # 16508 can be found here: http://www.301bg.com/MacrDetails.cfm?MID=7


Pilot Bobby Godwin and other crew members are listed on the "Tablets of the Missing" at the North Africa American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunisia.

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