384th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in World War II

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42-37816 With 1944-01-29 Lead Crew

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Piloted by Lloyd R Armstrong and Air Commander was Lt Col Buck (front row, second from right)

Mark Léautaud: "Some time ago I got this photo which is attached to this e-mail. It's a great photo and was taken for private use and was never published. I have scanned it for you.

"When I got it the only thing that known was that this one was taken on an airbase in England called Grafton Underwood. On the back of this photo is written "leadcrew 29th January 1944." And a mark "for private use only."

"As I found out the 384th bombgroup was stationed on the base. As you can see, the airmen second from right (standing) and the one in the middle (kneeling) are wearing a patch on there jackets (archer). I later found out that this was the squadron sign of the 545th squadron.

"On the 29th of January 1994 they set out to bomb Aircraft Parts Plants/Rail Yards in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany (same date as on photo). The normal crew of a B-17 in 1944 was made up out of 10 men. On this photo are 11 men. I believe that on the tail of the Fort the letter S is partly visible. Of the Forts set out to bomb Germany that day only "Big Stupe V 42-37816" had an extra crewmember attached to the 10 men. This was a colonel. His name was Col. William E. Buck. I found out that "Big Stupe V" carried an "S" on it's tail. I believe the colonel is the second from the right (kneeling). Maybe he has the correct insignia on his shoulder.

"On the internet I found a photo of “Big Stupe V”. As you can see it has carried out 11 missions on the photo. I later found out that the twelfth mission was the one to Frankfurt. This Fort carried on completing 23 mission. Eventually it took part on a mission to Scheinfurt. On it’s way home it clashed with 6 enemy fighters and crashed in France. 6 of the crewmembers were made POW’s and the others evaded capture. There was no Col. William E. Buck on this flight. It could have been a complete different crew. Out of this squadron only one Fort made it back home that day.

"As I tried to find out more about this colonel I found a second photo with him on it. There is also a report on the internet that he brought back a Fort which had more than 100 holes in it. I would like to know who these men were. They must have a record with the names of the crewmembers who flew on this mission in the Fort? I have tried several people in America, but no one replies. Do you have any idea have I can find out more about this crew? Perhaps they or relatives would like copies of this photo. I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do."

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