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Thread: 3 way collision B17s Beachy Head

  1. #1
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    Default 3 way collision B17s Beachy Head

    I have details of the 3 aircraft

    41-24523 Snooks

    42-29816 Eager Beaver

    42-29973 Patty Gremlin jr

    Snooks and Eager Beaver went down after colliding into the sea off Beachy Head, tail gunner Chas Allen from Eager Beaver baled out and was the only one to survive. What confuses me is that Patty Gremlin jr was ''damaged by debris from a/cs collision above (ie. between Snooks and Beaver)and flak over the target (Amiens)''

    This record ties in with an account yesterday from an old man of 90 who saw Patty Gremlin jr pass over with a gaping hole in the fuselage side before it crashed at Polegate with just 2 survivors from the ensuing fire..

    However the record for the loss of Eager Beaver says the collision occurred during 'assembly' and Snooks
    'Missing in Action 19m Amiens 3/8/43'..im sure its a typo for 31st Aug the crash date

    So were these aircraft going out or coming home ?

    Or am I naively misguided and not considering they were undertaking an assembly over Beachy on the way back in?
    Last edited by david cullen; 18th September 2017 at 15:43.

  2. #2
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    It appears that certainly EAGER BEAVER
    qte
    went down ''on assembly to target and tail snapped off'' this being over the sea near Beachy Head after it collided with SNOOKS
    but..
    PATTY GREMLIN
    was ''damaged by debris from a/cs collision above and flak over target'' crash landing just inland from Beachy Head at Wootton Manor Farm.

    So it appears that PATTY GREMLIN was returning so how can EAGER BEAVER and SNOOKS have collided ''on assembly to target''??


    a book 'Pieces of Nostalgia-91st BG Stories' has an account too

    ''On August 31 missions to Amiens and Romilly airfields the 91st was just over the Channel coast of England . As I watched the squadron above and to the right a B-17 at the same time another aircraft attempted to fill the position from below and they spanked together - disintegrating and falling below. As I watched their falling debris and bomb loads, a damaged 'chute with part of a body floated to our right. I thought 'No survivors, twenty men gone to glory.' ''

    This means that they were outbound too
    Last edited by david cullen; 19th September 2017 at 09:57.

  3. #3
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    Hi David,

    There is a long piece in Marion Havelaar "the Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourn regarding the incident.

    To sum up 42-29816 Eager Beaver, 401 BS, pilot Lt Buster Peek was at 25000 and collided with 41-24523 Snooks, 323 BS, pilot Lt Richard Rodman. Snooks crashed into the sea with all lost .
    Eager Beaver split at the tail wheel and spun down with all crew lost, except for the rear gunner S/Sgt Charles E Allen who had a remarkable escape from the separated tail. He describes the incident in some detail including seeing another B-17 on top of them after the impact. He does call the aircraft he was in L'IL Audrey to add to the confusion but this book and other sources say that was an earlier name for 41-24523.
    This all happened over the sea south of Beachy Head on the WAY OUT to Romilly sur Seine.

    42-29973 Patty gremlin Jr also of 323 BS, pilot Lt Jess D Rogers, was damaged by debris from the collision, and turned back. Regrettably all perished in a crash at Woodson. In the tables this is spelt Woodon.
    Some references such as Roger Freeman say also damaged over target but this appears to be in error.
    Need to lie down in a dark room now.
    regards
    Peter

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