Re: RE: 41-34955 crash in Belgium
Please note that the crew pictured in the attached photos are NOT the crew that was onboard when the plane was shot down.
These pictures are actually of the original crew that picked the plane up when it was brand new in Baltimore, Maryland, flew it to England & eventually provided the plane with its name.
This crew & plane #41-34955 actually had a pretty good run of luck while they were based out of Earls Colne in England, as the “Belle” was the 1st Marauder to reach 25, 50 and then 75 missions. They were in a close race with another B-26, the “Mild & Bitter” of the 322nd BG to see who could be the 1st Marauder to get to 100 missions… with the winner getting to go back to the States for a planned War Bond Tour. But, unfortunately “The Belle” was shot up pretty bad during a mission shortly after reaching the 75th milestone & was down for repairs, and the “Mild & Bitter” caught up & passed them to take the honor of going back State side. If you research the “Mild & Bitter”, you’ll find it had a remarkable record of over 300 combat hours with no injuries to the crew and the plane itself was never disabled. The “Mission Belle” wasn’t near as fortunate.
To my knowledge, the entire crew pictured survived their combat tour and returned home. The pilot, then Lt. Merle E Parkinson, died in a C-54 Transport crash near Goose Bay, NF in 1947. The remainder of the men pictured lived until old age.
Just thought you might like to know.