458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

B-24H-15-FO 42-52404 Z5  Q  Belle of Boston

Belle of Boston nose art

(Profile courtesy: Mike Bailey)

Belle of Boston
originally belonged to Crew 54, pilot Lt Charles "Red" Stilson in the 754th Squadron.  They flew this aircraft overseas in February 1944.  The crew was lucky to make it to England, as they had to divert to Ireland due to navigational and mechanical issues: "On delivery flight from the USA, lost bearings, getting low on fuel and claiming radio problems, it landed at 12:30 at the [Rinneanna] airport. Carburetor needed replacement following a fire while starting up on the 7th Feb. A replacement was flown in with repair crew from NI in Oxford aircraft. Flew out on 10th of Feb."
[MA Files G2/X/1280 & ACF-S-204; M. Gleeson NMAJ 2006; MacCarron p.130 & 147; IMA #U20]

Stilson and crew flew Belle of Boston on 11 of its 13 combat missions.

On May 8, 1944, the crew of Lt Paul E. Kingsley was assigned Belle of Boston for the mission to Brunswick, Germany.  Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft crashed on a road near the village of Frettenham, killing six of the crew.

Missions

BelleOfBoston-Missions
Date  Target  Pilot 458th Msn  Pilot Msn  RCL  Sqdn  A/C Msn  Comments
08-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER STILSON 5 2 Q Z5 1  
15-Mar-44 BRUNSWICK STILSON 7 3 Q Z5 2  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN STILSON 8 NTO Q Z5 -- NO TAKE OFF
18-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN COUCH 9 ABT Q Z5 -- ABORT - #2 SUPER CHGR BLEW
23-Mar-44 OSNABRUCK STILSON 12 4 Q Z5 3  
27-Mar-44 BIARRITZ STILSON 15 ABT   Z5 -- ABORT - #3 MAIN TANK FILLER CAP 
05-Apr-44 ST. POL-SIRACOURT STILSON 16 5 Q Z5 4  
08-Apr-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM  WATSON 17 9 Q Z5 5  
09-Apr-44 TUTOW A/F DAVIS 18 ABT Q Z5 -- ABORT - COULD NOT FIND FORM
10-Apr-44 BOURGES A/F STILSON 19 6 Q Z5 6  
11-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN STILSON 20 7 Q Z5 7  
12-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN STILSON REC -- Q Z5 -- RECALL
13-Apr-44 LECHFELD A/F STILSON 21 8 Q Z5 8  
18-Apr-44 BRANDENBURG STILSON 22 9 Q Z5 9  
19-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F STILSON 23 10 Q Z5 10  
20-Apr-44 SIRACOURT STILSON 24 11 Q Z5 11  
07-May-44 OSNABRUCK STILSON 36 14 Q Z5 12  
08-May-44 BRUNSWICK KINGSLEY  37 ACC Q Z5 13 CRASH ON TAKEOFF


February 4, 1944 - Almost Interned?

 From left: Capt Samuel M. Lakin, Group S4 (logistics) Officer; Lt Raymond E. Sawyer, Crew 54 navigator (with pants leg tucked into his sock, most likely to keep it out of a bicycle chain); Lt J. Edward Worton, Crew 54 co-pilot (with bandaged hand); and an unknown officer.  This photo may have been taken at Horsham St Faith upon Stilson and crew being released from neutral Ireland.

(Courtesy: Richard Sawyer)

April 1944 Horsham St Faith

Ten combat missions and a diversion (decoy duck) on Belle of Boston date this photo to late April 1944. 
The man on the left appears to be flight crew, while the three men on the right look like ground men, none of whom are identified.

(Courtesy: Brendan Wood)

May 8, 1944 - Accident



DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT

Lt Kingsley made a normal takeoff from R/W 05 into the north east and seemed to be under control and flying normally when last observed.  Shortly after this a column of black smoke was observed about 2-1/2 miles from the field.  Crash trucks and ambulances were immediately dispatched tot he scene of the crash.

Sherman H Cassidy, S/Sgt, 1212515 only slightly injured and one of the three survivors stated upon questioning that Lt Kingsley lost an engine shortly after takeoff and then it caught fire when it started operating again.  Lt Kingsley was unable to keep plane in the air and mushed along clipping the tops of trees until right wing of ship hit a large tree and was sheared off.  Immediately after this the plane crashed and burned.  The ship was completely destroyed.

Click for full report
 
Top photo shows the crash scene, looking back towards Horsham.  The bottom photos show one of the rudders resting against a tree, and what remains of the fuselage.  There is a very detailed account of this crash and its aftermath on the Kingsley crew page.

(Photos: Aviation Archeology.com)



Disposition

B-24H-15 FO 42-52404        Q     Z5 (754)    BELLE OF BOSTON
             OD
Original aircraft.
Landed 4 Feb 44 at Rineanna (Shannon), Republic of Ireland, en route to the UK from North Africa. Departed 10 Feb 44.
Crashed and burned 8 May 44 at Frettenham after take-off. (Accident Report 44-05-8-511
Salvaged 26 & 27 May 44.

(Courtesy: Tom Brittan)