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Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945

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heartofthesky
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2010/09/30 16:40:08 (permalink)
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Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945

My best friend's father was a bombardier on a B-17 in the 379th. (527 SQ, GRP H).  We've been doing research on the events of April 5, 1945. The aircraft was shot down on April 5, 1945 as part of Mission 928.  His father's aircraft was assigned to bomb the munitions dump at Inglostadt. All crew exited the aircraft, except for the pilot.  I believe all successfully evaded and were picked up by the French and passed through the Underground and eventually back to England. (I'll let David join this group and tell the story. It's fairly remarkable.)
 
I have been unable to find a MACR for this aircraft.  I would like to find the aircraft number and what, if any, name the aircraft had.
 
Thanks for any assistance.
Michael
 

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    Lucky Partners
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2010/09/30 16:55:19 (permalink)
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    Michael,
     
    According to the 379th ANTHOLOGY this ship was 42-97128 named Screwball Express.  Pilot 2nd Lt Joseph Hourtal was injured when he landed in a tree and both his feet were torn off by the impact, co-pilot 2nd Lt Martin Kane was KIA when his chute failed to open.  The rest of the crew bailed out safely and eventually returned to base.  The attached photo of Screwball Express is posted on Footnote.com and is dated June 1944.  No MACR is posted, I'd expect they came down in friendly territory at that late date.  
     
    Hal

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    heartofthesky
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2010/09/30 21:08:29 (permalink)
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    Thanks very much Hal.
     
    The bombardier was Carlos Whitehead. According to his war diary, Carlos got out of the plane second to last and reported that he could see the leaves on the trees when he jumped. His chute didn't open completely, but enough to slow his descent and he fortunately landed in a swamp and was uninjured.
     
    As I've heard the story, Carlos carried a Bowie knife on every flight and, evidently, took some ribbing from the crew about it.  He went off in search of the rest of the crew and found the pilot or co-pilot (some confusion there) missing parts of both legs. (The diary has the co-pilot getting out third to last and the pilot exiting last and failing to successfully jump. I'll have to check with David and confirm the contents of the diary. I believe the war diary indicates that whoever it was hit telephone wires and the wires caused the injury.) Carlos cut him down with the Bowie knife and used it to cut tourniquets from the parachute silk.  I believe they were picked up by French and French-Moroccan troops.
     
    Regards,
    Michael
     
     
    heartofthesky
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2010/10/01 11:33:33 (permalink)
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    I believe I have parts of this garbled and David will have to straighten it out from the diary, but he does confirm that Hourtal and Kane were pilot and co-pilot.
     
    Jumpshift99
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/01/15 16:56:25 (permalink)
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    My father, Sam N. Reaves, Jr. , was shot down 4/5/1945. The name of the plane is the Screwball Express. I have met all the survivors of that crash because they formed a reunion group and met each year. I can tell your friend the whole story of when they were shot down of French occupied Germany and rescued by the French Underground. That was the last mission of the Screwball Express and I have a picture of the flight crew standing in front of the downed plane. My father is just turned 85 and lives in Germantown, TN.  I hope to here from you or your friend. What is your friends name?
     
    Marcie Moore
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/01/15 20:25:45 (permalink)
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    I would just like to add that there is a book on Screwball Express written by Kenneth H Cassens who was the Bombardier of the original crew, the story of the last mission of this plane is covered in detail within the book.
    Jumpshift99
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/01/15 20:31:48 (permalink)
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    My father, Sam Reaves, Jr. was on that last mission. He lives in Germantown, TN a suburb near Memphis, TN. We have several copies of "The Screwball Express" which contains 2 pictures of my father. Did you have a family member on that plane?
     
    Marcie Moore
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/01/16 06:20:48 (permalink)
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    Jumpshift99

    My father, Sam Reaves, Jr. was on that last mission. He lives in Germantown, TN a suburb near Memphis, TN. We have several copies of "The Screwball Express" which contains 2 pictures of my father. Did you have a family member on that plane?
     
    Marcie Moore
    marciemoore12@yahoo.com

    No, but i had the pleasure of meeting a relative of Richard Hubbard who flew in Screwball Express.
    cody1947
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/01/16 07:20:02 (permalink)
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    I need a good quality photo of the Screwball Express for my new site on the 379th nose art and aircraft can you e-mail me a copy? I am trying to make this site public where anyone can add or contribute to it. Hopefully that can be accomplished soon but right at the moment I have to do all entries. I have over 60 aircraft so far.
     
    https://sites.google.com/site/379thbgnoseart/
    Thanks
    My E-mail is:
    swampfire1944@gmail.com

    Jumpshift99
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/02/23 14:27:08 (permalink)
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    heartofthesky, please contact me by email.  I have info on last mission of Screwball Express. My father knew Carlos Whitehead. They were on the same downed plane. Contact me:  marciemoore12@yahoo.com.
    Jumpshift99
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/02/23 14:38:49 (permalink)
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    My name is Martha Lee Reaves Moore. My father, who is still alive, was on the last mission of the Screwball Express, shot down over French occupied Germany. His name is Sam Reaves, Jr., Staff Sargent, who was the ball turret gunner.  Contact me at marciemoore12@yahoo.com.  Hope to hear from you. I am trying to contact heartofthe sky.
    Roger_Rosenthal
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/11/26 15:40:05 (permalink)
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    Hello, My name is Roger and my father (who is still alive) was a tail gunner in the 379th. His crew flew at least 1 mission on the Screwball Express. The ball turret gunner was named Kay Whitehead. Dad mentioned the craft had flown 135 missions without an abort.
    Thierry
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    Re:Info on 379th, 527th, Group H B-17 shot down April 5, 1945 2011/11/28 10:42:46 (permalink)
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    On April 5, 1945 the crew of 42-97128 “Scewball Express” consisted of:
     
    Hourtal Joseph G.         2nd Lt            P        WIA-RTMC
    Kane Martin A.              2nd Lt.           CP      KIA
    Roberson Edwards P.   2nd Lt.           N        RTMC
    Whitehead Carlos A.    S/SGT            NG      RTMC
    Roberts John D.            S/SGT            RO      RTMC
    Rowan Richard D.         T/SGT            TT       RTMC
    Reaves Sam N. Jr.         S/SGT            BT       RTMC
    Millar Donald S.             SGT               TG       RTMC

    I'm in contact with the French family of Joseph G. Hourtal, pilot.

    I write the stories of these two bombers lost on the same day (25 June 1944) during the same mission:
     
    B-17G 42-107068 "Powerful Katrinka" (379th BG - 524th BS)

    B-17G 42-97292 "Bachelors Bride" (91st BG - 322nd BS)
     
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