458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

B-24H-10-CF 41-29331 J3 F  Blondie's Folly

This is the only known photo of this 755BS aircraft.
Crew 69 Navigator, 2Lt Gasper DeSimone, had his nickname “GIP” painted beneath his window.


Ditched in English Channel - March 16, 1944 (MACR 3490)

2Lt Neil AJ Peters and Crew 69 flew this aircraft to England via the Southern Ferry Route in January 1944.  Listed as passengers for the first part of the trip were four 755BS ground men: S/Sgt Earl C. Crump (Crew Chief), Cpl Camilio P. Leone (Power Turret Mechanic), S/Sgt Delbert M. Hicks (Medical NCO) and S/Sgt William H. Musseman (Radio Mechanic).  At Marrakech, for unknown reasons, these men were removed as passengers from Peters’ aircraft #331 and assigned to Air Transport Command (ATC) to ferry another Liberator to the Eighth Air Force.

On January 27, 1944 the four boarded aircraft B-24J 41-100283 with an ATC crew and another 755BS ground man, Sgt Kenneth G. Clark (Supply Technician).  Clark had been hitching a ride with the crew of 2Lt Maurice H. Bittler, Crew 61, also from the 755BS.  At 2245 that evening, just after takeoff, they had barely started climbing when, according to eyewitnesses, “After leaving the ground the ship gained almost 100 ft. then appeared to make a sharp bank to the left, and then crash.  Immediately after seeing the plane crash and flames shoot up, CRASH and OPERATIONS was notified.  The next ship in take-off position was B-24 #331 [Blondie’s Folly] but the pilot did not make a takeoff.”   All five 755BS ground men were killed in the crash, along with the ATC pilot, co-pilot and navigator.  The engineer and radio operator, both also with ATC were injured, but survived.

Blondie’s Folly took part in the February diversion missions in support of “Big Week” and four combat missions in early March.  On March 16, 1944, flown by Crew 69, the aircraft was attacked by numerous German fighters after dropping their bombs and eventually were forced to ditch in the English Channel. Of the ten man crew, seven men were missing, one died shortly after being rescued and two men survived.

According to the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR 3490):
"Ship crashed somewhere in English Channel.  Survivors - 2d Lt. Gasper (NMI) De Simone, 0-811448, S/Sgt. George Weston Conlogue, 31282912, and Sgt. Richard Grensler Lowry, 35599337, were picked up by British Air Sea Rescue Corps and take to Hospital, Dover.  Sgt. Lowry died in hospital and Lt. De Simone and Sgt. Conlogue are seriously injured.  Information as to what actually happened is unavailable at this time as men in hospital have been transferred and as yet haven't been able to ascertain whereabouts of transfer."

Movement Orders SO298 Tonopah AAF

 

Accident Report 44-01-27-502 (B-24J  41-100283)


Missions

Missions-BlondiesFolly
Date Target Pilot 458th Msn  Pilot Msn  RCL  Sqdn  A/C Msn  Comments
24-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST PETERS D1 -- -- J3 D1 Diversion Mission
25-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST BITTLER D2 -- -- J3 D2 Diversion Mission
02-Mar-44 FRANKFURT PETERS 1 1 F J3 1
05-Mar-44 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC  DUNLEVIE 3 1 F J3 2  
06-Mar-44 BERLIN/GENSHAGEN STILSON 4 ABT F J3 -- ABORT - R/O OXY LEAK
08-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER BRUDOS 5 -- F J3 -- SPARE - RETURNED - NO SORTIE 
15-Mar-44 BRUNSWICK PETERS 7 4 F J3 3  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN PETERS 8 FTR F J3 4 DITCHED IN CHANNEL

March 16, 1944

S/Sgt George W. Conlogue (left) wrote the following to a family member of one of his crew mates:


“March 16th we made a raid on Augsburg, Germany.  We dropped our bombs and started on the way home.  We were 60 miles east of Paris when enemy fighters attacked us, they shot us up pretty badly and the left waist gunner was wounded.  We got a few of their planes, but we were greatly outnumbered.  Finally our own fighters drove them off.  Lt. Peters told the crew that he was going to try to get the ship back to England.  Our control cables were shot out and our right wing was down.  We could not bring it back up with the controls gone. 

 

“As we crossed the French coast Lt. Peters told us to prepare to ditch the ship.  We were going to crash before we could reach the English coast.  The ship went out of control at about 4000 feet.  It started into a dive so Lt Peters pushed the warning bell to bail out.  Lt Hulse, Sgt. Morrone, Sgt. Duffy, Sgt. Marino, and Sgt Lee were in the waist of the ship and were not heard of after the warning bell had been sounded.  I believe that they bailed out when the bell was sounded.  Lt. Peters regained control of the ship at about 1000 feet altitude then gradually settled the ship onto the water.  I had my back to the back of Lt. Peter’s seat so that I would not be thrown forward when the plane hit the water.  Lt. Peters and Lt. Wagner were at the controls.  Lt. DeSimone and Sgt. Lowry were on the fight deck.  The plane hit the water with a terrific crash and I was knocked out by the impact. 

 

“I came to under the water, but God only knows how I got out, to my knowledge Lt. Peters and Lt Wagner never moved after the plane crashed.  Lt. DeSimone, Sgt. Lowry and myself got out.  Sgt. Lowry did not live.  We inquired about the rest of the boys, but [there wasn’t] anyone who could give us any information.  The British picked us up in a flying boat.  I hope to hear from someone soon who knows the whereabouts of the boys who bailed out.  I am sorry if this letter has caused any uneasiness in the family, to the best of my knowledge this is exactly as our disaster occurred.  If it had not been for Lt. Peter’s great courage and ability to handle the crippled ship, none of us would have been here to tell about it.”


Disposition

B-24H-10 CF 41-29331               F          J3 (755) BLONDIES' FOLLY

             OD

Original aircraft. One of 30 B-24s listed on Movement Orders dated 30 Dec 43.

Lost 16 Mar 44 - ditched in the English Channel. (Friedrichshafen)

MACR 3940


(Info Courtesy: Tom Brittan)