B-17 42-5233 Flying Fortress
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301st Bombardment Group

301st Bombardment Group InsigniaThe 12h Air Force was created using the 97th and 301st Bombardment Groups from the 8th Air Force Stationed in England. Following the conclusion of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa these groups went to N.Africa and were joined and reinforced by new crews and squadrons arriving from the States.

B-17 42-25233 joined the 301st Bombardment Group in Biskra, Algeria on 31 December 1942. The men arrived in the late morning. They were quickly treated to a visit by the Germans prompting everybody to hit the slit trenches. The first mission for Rigor Mortis and crew would be January 2 beginning a long history that would encompass over 120 mission takeoffs.

Rigor Mortis and his crews would fly 95 missions with the 301st BG while assigned to the 32nd Bomb Squadron during 1943.

B-17 Rigor Mortis Crew Photo, Don Brazee, Pilot

Front row, L to R, Don Brazee, Pilot; Charles Randrup, Co-Pilot; Burt Lewis, Navigator; Emory Cook, Bombardier.
Back row, L to R, Sgt. James Farrell, Engineer; Lloyd Willoughby, Radio Operator; Bob Lovelace, Ball Turret; Wall, Waist Gunner; James Kelly, Tail Gunner.
(Photo and information courtesy of Colonel Donald Brazee, Ret. Don and this crew were assigned to the 32nd after arriving from the United States 31 December 42.)

The above photo is of the original crew that ferried over to North Africa, via South America and Southern Africa and arrived in North Africa, December 31, 1942. The Rigor Mortis crew flew their first mission on January 2, 1943, 2 days after arriving into the combat zone.

B-17 Rigor Mortis Crew Photo, Skip Stoddard, Pilot

Front Row: L. to R.
1.
2. Burt Lewis, Navigator
3. Charles Randrup, Co-Pilot
4. Skip Stoddard, Pilot

Back Row L. to R.
1.James Kelly, Tail Gunner
2.
3. Lovelace, Ball Turret
4. Lloyd E. Willoughby, Radio Operator
5. James J. Farrell, Aerial Engineer

The photo below is of the crew either before or after a mission on: 1/14/43, 1/23/43, 1/29/43 when Major Skip Stoddard piloted.

32nd Bomb Squadron

32nd Bomb Squadron patch

Crews and Missions:

In addition to the original crew of:
Don Brazee, Pilot
Charles William Randrup, Co-Pilot
Burt Lewis, Navigator
Emory Cook, Bombardier
James Farrell, Engineer
Lloyd E. Willoughby, Radio Operator
Basil J. "Bob" Lovelace, Ball Turret
Wall, Waist Gunner
Machine Gun" Kelly, Tail Gunner

The following pilots are shown to have flown the Rigor Mortis on missions from January 2, 1943 to November 10, 1943.

Roy Johnson (Late '42, Early '43)
Edward F. Stoddard
Hart (Feb. '43)
Bishop (Feb.-April '43)
Charles Gregg (April '43)
Edward Kitterman (April '43)
Robert Fonner (July '43)
Victor Lewin (July '43)
Johnson (Fall '43) - May not be the same person as above.
Abbott (July '43)
Wilbur Raffensperger (July '43)
Neely (July-August 1943)
Paul V. Callis (August '43)
Buell W. Oberholser (August '43)
Gene F. Ohlendt (Sept.-Oct. '43)
Charles Clowe (August '43)
William J. Emerson (Sept. '43)
Herbert Patterson (Oct. '43)
Parker (October 1943)
William E. Wofford (Oct.-Nov. '43)

Dates in ( ) Denote the months during which they are shown to have flown a mission in Rigor Mortis.

32nd Squadron did not keep full crew lists as did later Squadrons. I would like to hear from ALL crewmembers who flew with these pilots.

I would like to get in contact with any survivors, spouses, descendants or other family members. Thank You.

Bomb Tags

First Mission Bomb Tag: 2 January 1943
Bomb tag of S/Sgt. James Farrell and the first mission.

The book contains 100 bomb tags with diary-like entries by the men of 25233. These artifacts along with diaries, interviews along with squadron and group records comprise some of the research for this book. View great details of strike photos and newspaper clippings presented in this oversized 8x10 inch format.

Order Softcover $29.95
Softcover, 2020. ISBN: 9781714727803 8x10 in. 382 pages. 291 Black & White pictures of documents, photos and artifacts.


Order Hardcover $49.95
Hardcover, 2020. ISBN: 9781714711666 8x10 in. 382 pages. 125 Color and 166 Black & White pictures of documents, photos and artifacts.

12th AF, 301st BG, 32nd BS Patch and Insignia

Copyright, Robert Coalter
All Rights Reserved

Order Softcover $29.95
Softcover, 2020. ISBN: 9781714727803 8x10 in. 382 pages. 291 Black & White pictures of documents, photos and artifacts.

Order Hardcover $49.95
Hardcover, 2020. ISBN: 9781714711666 8x10 in. 382 pages. 125 Color and 166 Black & White pictures of documents, photos and artifacts.