Stella at Lytchett Minster
Updated 4th Sept 2008

B 17F "Stella"- Forced landing at Lytchett Minster and subsequent recovery.

On the 7th of April 1943,42-29651 Boeing B-17F-65-BO named "Stella" was on a delivery flight to the UK from Marrakesh when the aircraft unfortunately ran out of fuel.

Luckily the aircraft was able to make a landfall just west of Poole in Dorset and made a successfull forced landing in a wheat field nr Lytchett Minster.Although at the moment the exact location is uncertain, there is reason to believe the site was on Charity Farm.

The aircraft was basically undamaged and it was decided to fly it out.For this purpose the 347Th Engineer Unit created a runway in 9 days while a Mobile Repair Unit Of The 8Th Air Force made repairs to the aircraft.
The aircraft was eventually successfully flown out and on June 27th 1943 joined the 544th Squadron/384th Bomb Group and carried the code "SU-G".The aircraft served until April 4th 1944 when, after 28 missions, it was withdrawn and returned to the USA on July 3rd, 1944 and was later scrapped at Altus, Oklahoma on August 17th, 1945.
Stella surrounded by the men and eqipment of the Mobile Repair Unit.
Working on the engine mountings(above ) and Cpl James Taylor from Cleveland, Ohio working on a propellor.(Below left)
Above right -Cpl. Albert L. Egeness and some of the earthmoving equipment used to make the temporary runway.
Working on the engine mountings.
Left:S/Sgt. Raymond J. Mayewski surveying the field before starting work on the runway.
Right:The aircraft undergoing repairs (28th April 1943) .
The runway - completed in 9 days. In the right-hand picture "Stella" is visible on the right.

Recently I received a eMail from Frank Robertson about this event (reproduced complete below).

 Dear Sir. 
An old friend of mine, a Mr.L.Davis, has given me details of his experiences of this incident.
His late father, a Mr. Edwin George Davis, rented North Holton Farm ( O.S.Map Ref. 958 927 )
 from the Lees' Estate during the WW 2 years. His Sons, Leslie and Arthur were also there,
 and it was onto this farmland that the aircraft came down.
North Holton Farmhouse was situated on the same side of the, then, main road A35 ( Now the B3067 ),
 as the Baker's Arms pub, about 300 Yards to the East.
 The rear of the property,which is still extant  looks out on what is still known as 'Runway Field'.
Leslie tells me that, he, and his Brother, were the first to reach the aircraft, and, in fact, 
Leslie was the first to speak to the radio operator, telling him where they had landed. 
He also remembers that the turrets' guns were still covered in protective oiled / waxed tape or cloth. 
To add to this, he tells me that the crew were billeted within the Baker's Arms while the 'plane was being repaired,
 and they were more than generous in keeping him, his Brother and their mates with the 
biggest supply of  'candy' he has ever seen.
Further to the above, Leslie has discovered that the same radio operator he spoke to, all that time ago,
 re-visited the U.K. about 4 years ago, whereupon the Veteran aviator paid a special visit to the Baker's Arms
 to which he donated copies of the details his wartime exploits via the Landlord.
Leslie and I are hoping to pay the pub a visit ourselves, sometime soon.
Yours sincerely, F. Robertson.  ( Frank )

The field refered to is shown below - first as it was in the 1940s shortly after the war , and below the area as it is now. The red X marks the approx location of North Holton Farmhouse.

Below LEFT: The Bakers Arms today,RIGHT:A view looking east along the approximate line of the runway.(Both photos by Frank Roberson).

The 1943 photos are from official USAAF sources via the Footnote.Com collection , excepting the topmost which is via Shaun Churchill, owner of the WWII Airfields & Radar Staions Website.

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