THAMESIDE AVIATION MUSEUM

COALHOUSE FORT, EAST TILBURY, ESSEX.

THE HOME OF AVIATION ARCHAEOLOGY IN ESSEX

 

 

 

EYE WITNESS STATEMENT

from the late ARTHUR ( Chick ) LOWING of Billericay

Mr Lowing was counting B-17s returning from a raid in the late afternoon when he noticed tha tone of the aircraft flying slightly above its box appeared to have two engines feathered and was in difficulties.

"Suddenly this B-17 appeared to go out of control and plunge vertically earthward, as it fell its a wing tip struck the rear fuselage of a second B-17 between the mid-upper gunner and the fin completely severing the tail section including the the rear gun turret complete with gunner. A large section of wing from the first B-17 also tore away.

Both aircraft immediately began to fall, the B-17 minus its tail in a flat spin, the other in a steep spiral dive, no parachutes were observed."

The tailless B-17 struck the ground at West Horndon and exploded with such violence that people miles away felt the thud, a black ball of smoke shot skyward.

The severed tail fell 300yds ( 275mtr) away, still strapped inside was the tail gunner S/Sgt Adams, suffering from shock and a badly lacerated leg but otherwise unhurt, the rest of the crew perished as did all those in the other B-17 flown by 2nd Lt Keeley which crashed approx 2 k away.

When Chick arrived at the crash site all that was left was a huge blackened crater strewn with metal.

 

 

 

Some Facts

AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY YANNELLO ON 26/9/43 WAS CALLED "DORSAL QUEEN" SERIAL NUMBER 42-30364.

AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY KEELEY 26/9/43 WAS CALLED "RAUNCHY WOLF" SERIAL NUMBER 42-3290.

YANNELLO'S ORIGINAL AIRCRAFT SERIAL NUMBER 42-30263. WAS SALVAGED ON 30TH OCTOBER 1943 FOLLOWING A CRASH IN NORFOLK.

KEELEY'S ORIGINAL AIRCRAFT SERIAL NUMBER 42-5892, DAMAGED BY FIGHTER ATTACK DITCHED IN THE MEDITERRANEAN 130 MILES FROM THE NORTH AFRICAN COAST. CREW ON ITS 7th MISSION. TARGET FOR THE DAY 17th AUGUST 1943. "REGENSBURG".

AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY KEELEY EXPLODED ON IMPACT AT TILLINGHAM HALL FARM.

THE AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY YANNELLO DID NOT EXPLODE, CRASHING AT NUTTYS FARM

John Adams survivor of Yannello's crew was taken of flying duties after the crash, and worked as a clerk in operations.

 

 

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TAM 22/1/00