The aircraft: There is some confusion surrounding the names of the aircraft that the Rongstad crew flew. The Daily Inter Lake news paper says Bugs Bunny was the name of the B-17 that crashed in Redlingfield but the records of the 95th do not list this name as being attached to this aircraft. However, the only picture we have, above, is viewed from the co-pilot's side so possibly art work could be under the pilot's station. Warren M Strawn's family have always believed that the crew ditched in the North Sea in Lizbeth I and then crashed in Redlingfield in Lizbeth II. The news paper picture provided by 2nd Lt Strawn's niece Marcia A Moyer is a B-17F-35-VE, confirmed by the nose window configuration. Vega-built B-17Fs incorporated the larger window (visible at the top right hand corner of the picture) situated centre of the three-window layout used during factory production. The 95th BG had 11 aircraft from this Vega batch but all histories can be accounted for. Many of the aircraft remained in the US as training aircraft and these aircraft names are not recorded. Many crew photos were taken when crews graduated before leaving for combat so it would seem likely that the picture on the gallery such a photograph.
B17F-95-BO, 42-30114, "Spare Parts", BG-L: Delivered from Boeing on April 13th 1943, arrived in Horham and was assigned to the 334th BS on September 13th 1943. Its first and only mission to Duren in Germany was piloted by 2nd Lt Rongstad with co-pilot 2nd Lt Strawn. There is no listing of other crew members. It was ditched in the North Sea and all crew picked up by an Air Sea Rescue launch - there were no casualties and all 10 crew returned to duty. "Spare Parts", was only at Horham one month.
B17F-75-DL, 42-3545, (no name), BG-A: Delivered from Boeing on August 2nd, arrived in Horham and assigned to the 334th BS October 20th 1943. Kenneth Rongstad and his crew flew this aircraft for one mission only on the 3-11-43 to Wilhelmshaven, Germany without incident. The aircraft flew missions after Kenneth Rongstad flew his one mission, being lost on the January 29th 1944.
B17G-1-BO, 42-31123 (no verified name) BG-J: Delivered from Boeing September 22nd 1943, arrived Horham and was assigned to the 334th BS October 14th 1943. This aircraft's very short combat history is: November 7th, returned to Horham with an oxygen leak; November 16th, returned to Horham could not find the formation. Pilots for these two aborted missions are not listed in "Operational Records of the 95th BG"; November 19th, fatal mission for K. Rongstad and crew at Redlingfield. This aircraft was only at Horham for one month. It flew on two aborted missions before the crash at Green Farm.
Many thanks to the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association/Red Feather Club.