The emblem of the 447th Bomb GroupFatal Air Crash at Treacles Farm


On the morning of 2nd October 1944 the 447th U.S.A.A.F. Bomb Group (who were stationed at nearby Rattlesden Airfield) incurred a sad loss following a mid-air accident in the skies over Kettlebaston.

Whilst climbing into the sun and broken cloud to join formation, the B17G 'Flying Fortress' of Captain Leach (711th Squadron, aircraft no.43-38245) ascended into the similar bomber of Lt. Wilder (of 710th Squadron, no.44-6460). Leach's propeller cut into Wilders fuselage severing the tail, causing both the heavily laden planes to plummet to the ground. Leach's plane crashed at Wetherden Hall in Hitcham with the loss of all crew, and most of Wilders, at Treacles Farm in Kettlebaston.

There was however one very fortunate survivor. The navigator from Wilders plane (2nd Lt. Eliot Mishler) somehow managed to parachute to safety from the stricken aircraft. He not only survived the crash but also the war, and is still believed to be alive and well and living in the America at the time of publication.

This page is currently awaiting further content to be forwarded from the USA. Please call back soon for yet more detail surrounding the incident.

The crew of 44-6460 - 710th Squadron USAAFWilder (second from the right, bottom row) is shown here as having ten man crew. This was later reduced to nine in June or July 1944 when one of the waist gunners was reassigned.  Normand D. Mannock (his co-pilot) is second on the left on the bottom row.

The full crew list that day was:

2nd Lt. William M. Wilder, Pilot
2nd Lt. Norman D. Manock, Co-pilot
2nd Lt. Charles B. McGuire, Bombardier
T/Sgt. William D. Eakins, Engineer
S/Sgt. Ciriaco A. Genova, Radio Operator
Sgt. Edward B. Suarez, Ball Turret Gunner
Sgt. Thomas J. Wiltze, Waist Gunner
Sgt. Harold J. Lee, Tail Gunner
2nd Lt. Elliot G. Mishler, Navigator



B17 Flying Fortress - please click her to view other picturesOther related links are:

Rattlesden Airfield and The 447th Bomb Group Association:

Ernest Osborne Esq., 3 Oliver Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3JH

Telephone: +44(0)1284 762899



The Bit O'Lace over Rattleden in May 1945 - please click here to view more B17 pictures


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