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Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2460. Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS). No known nose art or nickname. Ferried overseas by pilot C. H. Millhouse departing MacDill Field flying via the "African Route" to the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) to Java.
On January 25, 1942 at 7:00am took off from Singosari Airfield on Java pilot by 1st Lt. Gooch on a mission to bomb the Japanese convoy off Balikpapan on southeast Borneo. The formation included six B-17s from the 19th BG plus two from the 7th BG. After bombing the landing force. After bombing the landing force, the formation was intercepted by Japanese fighters. During the interception, this B-17 was attacked from the rear and hit by machine gun bullets and cannon shells in the tail section before the tail gunner claimed the attacker as shot down. Although none of the crew were wounded, the battery was shot out, trim tabs control cables were severed and cockpit instruments failed. Also, the wings and fuselage were holed and the damaged bomber lost altitude and landed at the nearest Allied airfield located at Bandjermasin Airfield (Oelin) on southeast Borneo. With the help of Dutch personnel, emergency repairs were made after landing.
On January 26, 1942 during the morning took off despite the damage and was carefully flown back to Malang Airfield on Java. Afterwards, additional repairs might have been attempted but the bomber was written off or not flyable for combat mission. In March 1942 as the Allied situation in Java deteriorated, TSgt Harry Hayes decided to repair this bomber at Bandoeng West Airfield (Andir) rebuilding two engines and making other repairs. Once completed, he convinced two pilots American pilot Gerald L. Cherymisin and Dutch officer Lt. Sibolt J. Kok to fly the repaired bomber to Australia despite the fact neither had flown a B-17 before and the pair agreed.
On March 4, 1942 during the night took off from Bandoeng West Airfield (Andir) piloted by Gerald L. Cherymisin with Sibolt J. Kok and engineer TSgt Harry Hayes on a final evacuation flight with 18 passengers aboard including Cherymisin's Dutch wife bound for to Australia, the last B-17 to evacuate Java. During the three hour flight, only three engines were operative but managed to land safely at Port Hedland in Western Australia.
Afterwards, operated from Mareeba Airifeld and finally Horn Island Airfield in Queensland.
Damaged, this B-17 sustained damage to the left side of the nose and left wing. At Horn Island Airfield, emergency repairs were made allowing the bomber to be flown back to Mareeba Airfield.
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