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  B-17E "Clown House" Serial Number 41-9235  
5th AF
19th BG
30th BS

Former Assignments
93rd BS

Pilot  Major Allen Lindbergh (survived)
 1/Lt. Joshua A. Barnes (survived)
Bombardier  2/Lt. Joseph D. Howard (survived)
Navigator  1/Lt. Jack A. Ryan (survived)
Tail Gunner
 Sgt. Hilario L. Hernandez
Ditched  October 29, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. One of thirty-two brand-new Flying Fortresses delivered to Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA, between May-June 1942, for the RAF as part of the lend-lease agreement. RAF roundels and numbers were applied at the factory over top the U. S. Army markings. The U. S. Army serial number would be over painted after the bombers arrived in England. During the first week of August 1942, four of this batch of Fortresses: B-17E 41-9196, B-17E 41-9234, B-17E 41-9244 and this bomber were instead assigned to the U. S. Army. Each was over painted with U.S. markings over top the RAF markings.

Wartime History
Ferried from Hamilton Field via Hickam Field and across the Paciic before arriving in Australia. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 93rd Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. Later, assigned to the 30th Bombardment Squadron.

Mission History
During the night of October 29, 1942 took off form Mareeba Airfield on a bombing mission against the Buin-Faisi anchorage (Tonolei Harbor) then to return to Mareeba Airfield. Returning from the mission around dawn on October 30, 1942, this B-17 ditched for unknown reasons about 20 miles off the Cape York Peninsula near Cooktown on the Great Barrier Reef.

Fates of the Crew
The crew was unhurt and managed to deploy their two life rafts and floated in the sea for two days, until located by a group of Australian Aboriginals and returned to the mainland. Afterwards, transported back to Mareeba Airfield and rejoined the squadron.

Saintsmo (nephew of Hernandez)

Pilot Lindbergh later became Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the 43rd Bomb Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. He was later MIA/KIA aboard B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 on January 5, 1943.
Fortress Against the Sun, page 276-277
"'We crashed early in the morning' Lindberg recalled. 'We just had time to shove off on two rubber rafts without a crumb of food or a drop of water.' Lindberg continued, 'You've no idea what hell is like until you're crowded in a rubber bubble without food or water and left to drift beneath the broiling sun." Adrift for two days, the men were eventually found by a group of Australian Aborigines and returned to the mainland."
Flightpath Magazine B-17 At Black Cat Pass by Steve Birdsall
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Richard Rudd for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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