Mission 48 - Mears Ashby, Northamptonshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 52° 17.444 W 000° 46.121
30U E 652177 N 5795719
Quick Description: 102 aircraft from the 8th Air Force flew over Mears Ashby in 8th Air Force Bomber Command Mission 48. Ooold Soljer & Two Beauts crashed mid air and tumbled to the ground, bombs and all on 31st March 1943.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/17/2008 12:09:22 PM
Waymark Code: WM4ZBJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Corp Of Discovery
Views: 50

Long Description:
It was a practice session for the bombing of the docks in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with two bomber wings consisting of B17 Flying Fortresses, B24 Liberators from the 44th Bomb Group, Shipdham, Norfolk and the 93rd Bomb Group from Hardwick, Norfolk.

The planes heading from Molesworth to join the practice got into trouble as the website describes:

'The force of 20 aircraft, led by Major Eugene A Romig in aircraft (Code 42-29570) formed up with B17s from the 305th Bomb Group (H) from Chelveston, Northamptonshire, flying in the standard six aircraft spearhead on a westerly heading. This spearhead formation was vital as it enabled the gunners to cover the aircraft from all angles - a loose formation gave enemy fighters a good opportunity to penetrate and attack the bomber formations (at this time the American fighter escort was not yet available).

At 10.20 hrs a 303rd Bomb Group (H) Fortress piloted by 1st Lieutenant Bilek got out of formation in heavy cloud and being unable to rejoin the formation turned to return to Molesworth. In so doing the crew of Lieutenant Bilek's plane witnessed the collision between OOOLD SOLJER (Code 41-24559) and TWO BEAUTS (Code 42-29573). It appeared that TWO BEAUTS nudged the starboard wing of OOOLD SOLJER and immediately the wing of OOOLD SOLJER including the outboard engine fell away, and from 7000ft (2133 metres) both aircraft went into a dive, crashing to the South and South East of Mears Ashby Northamptonshire.'

The information board stands in the centre of the village where debris from the crash was found throughout.
Web Address for Related Web Sites: [Web Link]

Date of Crash: 3/31/1943

Aircraft Model: Ooold Soljer & Two Beauts

Military or Civilian: Military

Tail Number: Ooold Soljer 41-24559 and Two Beauts 42-29573

Cause of Crash:
Heavy cloud causing one plane to get out of formation and turn back into the path of the oncoming planes.

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