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  B-17C Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-2053  
RAF
90 Squadron

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PacificWrecks.com
Boeing February 19, 1941

Pilot  F/O John Charles Hawley, 42002 RAF (KIA, BR)
2nd Pilot  1st Lt. Follett Bradley, Jr. USAAF (KIA, BR)
Observer  Sgt Horace Philip Black, 915945 RAFVR (KIA, BR)
Wireless  F/Sgt George James Garwood, 701916 RAFVR (KIA, BR)
Wireless-Gunner  Sgt Thomas James Wills, R/53359 RCAF (KIA, BR)
Observer  F/Lt John Bernard William Humpherson, 39317 RAF (KIA, BR)
Observer  S/Ldr David Alan Hoper Robson, 23394 RAF (KIA, BR)
Observer  F/Lt William Kilpatrick Stewart, RAFMS (survived)
Crashed  June 22, 1941
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2053. Purchased by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and painted in Royal Air Force (RAF) markings with serial number AN522 at the factory. On February 19, 1941 and photographed at Boeing Field.

While in the United States, assigned to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17C Flying Fortress serial number 40-2053 until ferried to the United Kingdom. Assigned to the Royal Air Force (RAF) as Fortress I serial number AN522. Assigned to 90 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 22, 1941 took off from RAF West Raynham piloted by F/O John Charles Hawley on a high altitude test flight. The 2nd pilot was American 1st Lt. Follett Bradley, Jr. Aboard were three scientific observers. This B-17 climbed to 33,000' and over Yorkshire entered a cumulonimbus cloud and became heavily iced with hail entering the open windows and caused a loss of control. Descending, the bomber broke up with the left wing breaking off and the fuselage split into two pieces at 25,000'. Only one of the crew, Bill Stewart was able to bail out at 12,000'. The other eight aboard died in the crash near Catterick Bridge, United Kingdom.

The crew included Sgt Thomas James Wills, the first Canadian airman to be killed in a Flying Fortress accident; a test pilot and scientific observer, RAF Flight Lieutenant John Bernard William Humpherson DFC; USAAF instructor, Lieutenant Follett Bradley, Jr., the first American in the U. S. Army Air Force to be killed on active duty during World War II; RAF Squadron Leader David Alan Hope Robson, West Raynham Station's medical officer; and two other air crew members, Sergeant Horace Philip Black and Flight Sergeant George James Garwood.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the crew were buried in Yorkshire, UK.

Hawley was buried at Dishforth Cemetery in Yorkshire, UK at grave 12.

Bradley's remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial. On July 11, 1941 he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 1, site 167-A.

Black was buried Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire, UK at C. of E. Section, row M, grave 24.

Garwood was buried Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire, UK at C. of E. Section, row M, grave 23.

Wills was buried Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire, UK at C. of E. Section, row M, grave 25.

Humpherson was buried at Heslington Churchyard, Yorkshire, UK at grave 93.

Robson was buried at Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire, UK at C. of E. Section, row M, grave 19.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17C Flying Fortress 40-2053
"2053 to RAF as AN522. Broke up in midair when flew into heavy cloud near Catterick Bridge, UK Jun 22, 1941."
Aviation Safety Network - Boeing B-17C Fortress I AN522
Fortress AN522 near Catterick Bridge / Gatherley (broke up in air)

FindAGrave - FO John Charles Michael “Mike” Hawley (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Follett Bradley, Jr. (obituary, grave photo)
"Ogden Standard Examiner, June 24, 1941 U. S. Army Lieutenant Killed In Island Mishap - London, June 24: First Lieutenant Follett Bradley, Jr., of the U.S. army air corps, was killed in a training flight accident in northern England, it was announced today. The United States embassy reported he had been in England about a month as a military observer. His father is Brigadier General Follett Bradley."
FindAGrave - Sgt Horace Philip Black (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George James Garwood (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Thomas James Wills (grave photo)
FindAGrave - John Bernard William Humpherson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - David Alan Hope Robson (grave photo)

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Last Updated
December 19, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17
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