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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 97851
Last updated: 5 October 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B17 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
Owner/operator:423rd BSqn /306th BGp USAAF
Registration: 42-31715
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Field next to RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:RAF Drem
Destination airport:RAF Thurleigh
At the end of January 1944 2nd Lt. Michael Roskovitch joined the 306th BG in England for the second time. He was once known as the Mad Russian and became the first enlisted man in the 8th AF to complete the 25-mission tour. Roskovitch, the radio operator with the abundant nerve and sharp scissors who dared cut neckties from high ranking officers about to embark on combat missions in his plane, was greeted by one and all. This time he was a gunnery officer assigned to the 423rd BS. But his second tour was sadly very short.

On 3 February, he was one of the four crew that took off from Thurleigh airfield, the 306th BG's base, for a navigational training flight to RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland. They were flying the B-17G 42-31715, a brand new bomber delivered to the USAAF at Cheyenne on 9 December 1943 and that was assigned to the 306th BG on 29 January.

The next day, two British service members embarked as authorised passengers before the B-17 took off for the return leg to Thurleigh. Before the take-off #1 engine failed and the pilot decided to take off on three engines. During the take off the bomber stroke an aircraft shelter pen and then crashed in a field just beyond runway. The B-17 was destroyed and all six men aboard were killed.

Crew and passengers (all killed):
1st Lt Arthur G. Moseley (pilot)
2nd Lt Edward D. O’Malley (co-pilot)
1st Lt Woodrow S. Ellerton (navigator)
2nd Lt. Michael Roskovitch (radio operator)
Leading Radio Mechanic Wilfrid (or Wilfred) Leslie Lowe (Fleet Air Arm, HMS Merlin, passenger)
AC2 Edward Sydney Hodgkins RAF Dirleton Radio Station, passenger)

The American airmen were all veterans, although none seems to have flown any great number of missions except Roskovitch. Ellerton had joined the 306th BG in August, Moseley in October and O'Malley in November. Hodgkins was based at RAF Dirleton Radio Station, just north of Drem, not far from Edinburgh. The aircraft destination, Thurleigh, was not far from his hometown of Rushden and he was going on leave.


“First Over Germany: A History of the 306th Bombardment Group”, by Russell A. Strong. No ISBN, published by Hunter Pub. Co., 1982 (no more online),-wilfrid-leslie/,-edward-sydney/

Revision history:

12-Jan-2015 20:07 angels one five Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Sep-2017 12:42 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
04-Nov-2019 07:33 Anon. Updated [Operator, Operator]
24-Feb-2020 17:09 Xindel XL Updated [Operator, Operator]

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