LockedB17"Heavenly Body"

Division Member
2002/11/10 14:35:54
Can anyone who uses this site please give me any information on the B17 known as "Heavenly Body" all i know upto now is that it came down in Leicestershire in the UK in September 1944? as much info as possible would be much appreciated.
Re: [jburns] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/11 02:01:16
Hi :-) Just to confuse the issue....there are six "Heavenly Bodys" listed in Wally Fomran's "B-17 Nose Art Name DIrectory".

1. Heavenly Body......no Bomb Group or Squadron listed. (Crash/Forced Landing Record unknown). ????

2. Heavenly Body......91 BG ...322 SQ a/c 44-6298 Photo .. ..NO MIA Feb 11 44

3. Heavenly Body......91 BG....322 SQ a/c 42-32087 Photo.....NO F/L Resno Swed

4. Heavenly Body....384 BG ....546 BS a/c 43-39053 Photo... .NO cr Duisburg

5. Heavenly Body....390 BG.....570 SQ a/c 42-37812 Photo ...YES cr Bittertfel, GR

6. Heavenly Body....401 BG.....612 SQ a/c 43-37628 Photo.... NO No cr rec... RTD US 7/6/45

Sorry..all of these a/c show NO record of landing at Lancastershire. (There is possibly another Heavenly Body..The a/c you are looking for may be the first one listed. (Wally's book states that his listing is by no means complete).

The above information is from the Roger Freeman and David Osborne's Book "The B-17 Flying Fortress Story"

Jim :-)
Division Member
Re: [jpeters140] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/11 13:57:19
Hi Thanx for the info,the only other info i have is this aircraft is said to belong to the 490th bomb group.
The reason i asked for this info is because,in the village close to where i live there is a memorial stone to the crew of this aircraft in a field,i only found out about it 3 weeks ago as there was a photo in my local paper and a short story with little info.Would it be ok if i got the names of the crew and posted them on this page to see if anyone can help,i will not do so until i hear more as i am unsure if it would be the done thing to do.

Thanx once again
J Burns
Sean Welch
Plank owner
Re: [jburns] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/11 15:33:39
So at a guess I would say you live in Coalville?
The aircraft was 43-37776 from the 490th Bomb Group based at Eye and the pilot was Michael Primus.
The date of the incident was 27th September 1944.
Perhaps you could confirm that this fits with the details you have found on the memorial stone?
I once lived in Shepshed and never realised a Fort had come down so close!

Regards, Sean Welch.
Re: [jburns] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/11 18:05:25
Hi :-) By all means post the names of the crew.....along with Sean Welch's information, it should verify the correct crew, if in fact the a/c is 43-3776...see my message to Sean.

Jim :-)
Re: [Sean Welch] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/11 18:11:50
Sean :-) a/c 43-3776 WAS assigned to the 490th BG....here is the excerpt from Roger Freeman and David Osbourne's The B-17 Flying Fortress Story.....

a/c 43-37776 Del Cheyenne 20/5/44; Kearney 31/5/44; Grenier 7/6/44; ass 490thBG Eye 11/6/44; sal b/d 3/10/45;tran 15AF MTO exc Inv 30/11/45.

This does not agree with your information that the battle damage occurred on September 27,1944,..... if in fact, Freeman and Osbourne are correct.

This does not sound as if the a/c actually is 43-3776. I do not know where the answer lies....I told J. Burns to get the crew's names and attempt to get the record straight that way, in my message to him.

I only have the information from books to go on....(I flew with the 15thAAF).

Jim :-)
Wing Member
Re: [jburns] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/12 09:28:34
J B,

Hmmm. To add to the complexity. My sources show that 43-3776 was a Navy version of the B-25. 43-37776 was indeed assigned to the 490th BG but was salvaged due to battle damage on Oct. 3 '44 and transferred to the 15th AF in the MTO. Of course Freeman isn't 100% correct. The names of the crewmen should help.
Division Member
Re: [Sean Welch] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/12 13:27:01
Thanx for the help,actually you're close i live in Ibstock.
The first chance i get i will get more info off the memorial stone and post it then see were we go from there.
once again thanx for the help.

ps If you once lived in Shepshed were are you now?

Sean Welch
Plank owner
Re: [jburns] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/14 16:25:10
I live in Goslar, Germany.
But yesterday I was in England and on my way back out through Heathrow I picked up a copy of the December issue of Flypast.
I couldn't believe it, there it was on page 9 and someone else also thinks it was 43-37776 too!
I will quote the article, as I am sure if I say what a good magazine Flypast is they won't mind!
"The crew of a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress were commemorated 58 years to the day after they perished in a crash near Nailsworth, Leicestershire. All 12 on board the Eye, Suffolk based 490th Bomb Group B-17G 43-37776 Heavenly Body died when it came down during a training exercise on September 27, 1944.
Some of the aircraft was unearthed in 1998 and plans for a permanent memorial gathered pace beyond this. Locals and a colour party from the USAF base at Alconbury, Cambs. attended the unveiling of a local stone memorial with plaque close to the crash site.ROY BOSNER"
So please post the details on the memorial to this site as I was sorely tempted to take a small diversion off the M1 to see for myself.
Regards, Sean.
Division Member
Re: [Sean Welch] B17"Heavenly Body" 2002/11/17 10:01:07
I visited the memorial today,what follows is how the plaque reads

In memory of our fallen comrades,490th Bomb Group Flight Crew on the B17 Flying Fortress aptly named "Heavenly Body" on Sept 27th 1944. All crew members lost their lives in this tragic accident

Pilot 1st Lt Micheal H Primus
Co Pilot 1st Lt Louis G Deputy
Navigator 2nd Lt Richard J Hermann
Bombardier 2nd Lt Robert C Simmons
Engineer T/Sgt Roy E Griswold
Radio Op T/Sgt Claude Keele
Ball Turret S/Sgt Harry Stoever
Wing Gunner S/Sgt Lawrence Richter
Tail Turret S/Sgt Americo Vergili
Mobile Training Unit S/Sgt Ralph W Franke
" S/Sgt John C Barry
" S/Sgt Edward Shively

"They shall mount up with wings as eagles,they shall run and not be weary,and they shall walk and not faint."

I hope this can be of some help to find out more on this aircraft and its history,and hopefully on the crew members.

Ihave visited this memorial site a couple of times now and each time i have been more and more intrigued about the history behind it mainly the crew were they came from etc.

john burns.