B-24 42-100322 - Burn Fell 

 2nd January 1945

Last updated 24.09.2003

Type Unit Base Duty Crew Passengers

714th Squadron, 448th Bombardment Group

Seething, Norfolk Ferry Flight




B-24J-90 42-100322 "COME ALONG BOYS" 

This aircraft was a "war-weary" B-24 carrying the name "COME ALONG BOYS" belonging to the 714th Squadron 448th Bombardment Group, US 8th AAF being returned to the Base Air Depot 2 at Warton, Lancashire and took off at 13:10 from it's Norfolk base on the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd January 1945 in deteriorating weather conditions. On board, in addition to a crew of five, was an additional relief crew, who were to fly a new aircraft back to the base and nine servicemen bound for leave in Blackpool. The pilot, 1st Lt. Holt,  was in fact the pilot for this relief crew, but had requested to fly the outward journey also in place of 2nd Lt, Crandell. As the aircraft flew Northwards they began to encounter low cloud and 1st Lt. Holt stated that visibility was down from the 6 miles recorded in the weather report for the day (Weather Station: Blackpool) to only 1 to 2 miles and by the time they reached Lancashire, the crew were experiencing navigational difficulties and flying contact at approx. 1500 feet. 

The subsequent investigation report states that at approx. 14.30 Lt Holt had descended from 3500 feet to around 1000 feet after spotting some breaks in the clouds in order to obtain a fix on their position, as the navigator was having trouble with the Gee radio navigation system system, but apparently 2nd Lt, Crandell warned that they were flying amongst hills and should regain a safer altitude. 2nd Lt. Dan finally managed to obtain a fix and gave the pilot a new heading . though this was later determined to have been inaccurate by approx. 20 miles. The pilot remained flying contact and clearing all obstructions, though with the cloud forcing them lower and lower, but he was apparently not unduly worried as the fix obtained placed them in a valley. However, the cloud suddenly closed in completely, causing him to go onto instrument flying and at the same time immediately commence to climb to a safer altitude.

With the aircraft in this tail-down attitude it struck the summit ridge of Burn Fell in the Trough of Bowland at approx. 14:45, tearing the fuselage apart as the bomber skidded across the moor, slewing around and fortunately in doing so throwing many of the occupants clear and then erupting in flames as the fuel tanks ignited. Despite their injuries those that were able, quickly vacated the shattered bomber, no doubt hastened in their efforts by .50 calibre ammunition "cooking-off" in the heat and 1st Lt Holt along with 2nd Lt Carey then returned to the burning aircraft  and freed two further survivors who were trapped by debris and ensured no one else was left inside. As the dazed airmen took stock of the situation it was realised that by some miracle 15 of their number had in fact survived.

Name Position Status
1st Lt. Carl H. Holt Pilot Inj. (Minor)
2nd Lt. Allen H.Carey Co-Pilot Inj. (Minor)
2nd Lt. Marshall K. Dan Navigator Inj. (Minor)
T/Sgt.Donald Zeldin Flight Engineer Inj. (Minor)
Sgt. Oscar W.Olson Radio Operator Inj. (Minor)
Sgt. John J. Madden Passenger (Flight Engineer) Inj. (Minor)
2nd Lt. Joseph B. Brown Passenger (Pilot) Inj. (Minor)
2nd Lt. Richard G. Seymour Passenger (Pilot) Inj. (Minor)
T/Sgt. Francis M. Louthan Passenger (Radio Operator) Inj. (Minor)
Sgt. John C. Jacobs Passenger Inj. (Minor)
S/Sgt. Bertram O. Chernow Passenger (Air Gunner) Inj. (Minor)
Sgt. Robert M. Brandon Passenger Inj. (Minor)
Sgt. Mack S. Thomas Passenger Inj. (Major)
T/Sgt. Phillip Mazzagatty Passenger (Flight Engineer) Killed
2nd Lt. Orvie O. Casto Passenger (Navigator)


1st Lt. James E. Fields Passenger (Bombardier) Killed
S/Sgt. Michael J. Hill Passenger (Air Gunner) Inj. (Minor)
2nd Lt. Cortland C. Crandell Passenger (Pilot) Inj. (Minor).
S/Sgt. Edgar E. Lyon Passenger Killed


Lt. Cortland C. Crandell (via David Earl)

“Come Along Boys” was finished in dark olive drab/neutral grey and had been assigned as a replacement aircraft to the 448th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Station AAF 146, Seething, Norfolk and was allocated to the 714th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) in February 1944 with its individual aircraft letter in the Squadron: K in a square. It went on to be allocated to the 712th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy): April to  September 1944 with the individual aircraft letter in the Squadron: F in a triangle and finally to the 715th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy): from September 1944 with the individual aircraft letter in the Squadron: P in a diamond. During this time it took part in no less than 56 recorded combat missions and  often flew as a lead or deputy lead aircraft. Though every raid would have had its own story, some notable incidents include: 13th February 1944 during a raid on Siracourt / St-Pol V-1 site - it was forced to Land at Headcorn with No.4 engine out and battle damage by flak. March 24th, raid on Nancy / Essey Airfield - did not complete mission. Aborted after being damaged by flak as it crossed the French coast 5 miles south of Dieppe. June 6th (D-day) raid on Gun emplacements at Pointe et Raz de la Percée, near Vierville-sur-Mer, France (Omaha Beach). Jun 27th raid on Creil Airfield, France - Endured 6 hits by flak. No.1 engine smoked from flak damage and seized just before landing. It is possible that it may well have taken part in several further raids, which are not recorded, however, it is doubtful that it flew in combat after being declared "war weary", probably in September 1944 and at the time of its loss was reported as having reverted to the 714th Squadron.

Until a few years ago, the crash site was marked by two huge main undercarriage legs, which have now gone and a few scraps of aluminium on one side of the wall that runs along the crest of the fell and a bare burnt area with numerous small scraps, including exploded .50 calibre cartridge cases on the other. The wall was completely rebuilt and now weathered it is difficult to imagine the huge four engined bomber smashing its way through, though one local resident interviewed showed us a pair of navigators dividers which he had found jammed between the stones several years ago. More recently in 2009 St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn arranged for a simple wooden memorial cross to be erected at the crash site in memory of those who lost their lives.

Main u/c legs with wall in background

Both main undercarriage legs used to lie close to the wall

Postscript: At last some good news on the disappearance of the main U/C legs - It seems that they were recovered legitimately with the assistance of the farmer by a local enthusiast who was concerned by their recent rapid deterioration. Homes have since been found for them, unfortunately outside Lancashire, one is now at The Harrington Aviation Museum Society, Carpetbagger Aviation Museum, Harrington, North Hants and the other at The Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, where they are undergoing conservation or on public display.

Crash site with mist descending

Mist descending over the crash site


David W. Earl (Hell on High Ground). Mr.W. Worswick. Michel Stowe of Accident Reports,, Tom Brittan, Daniel L. Stockton - "B-24 Best Web"


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