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B-17 Flying Fortress

Idiot's Delight was the first B-17 of the 94th Bomber group to survive 50 missions; not once turning back due mechanical failure. The first mission was flown July 14th 1943 and the 50th was 22nd March 1944. The 94th suffered huge casualties during this period; 80 B-17s were lost.

19th June 1944: The B-17 was hit by flak flying over the Pas de Calais. The pilot, Theodore A Milton, was forced to ditch the plane in the Channel where nine of the ten crew lost their lives. One crew member survived as a POW.

Delivered Cheyenne 11/5/43; Smoky Hill 25/5/43; Kearney 26/5/43; Dow Fd 2/6/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-J/B2] Earls Colne 5/6/43; Rougham 13/6/43 MISSY G; Missing in Action Pas de Calais 19/6/44 with Theo Miltoninc 447BG crew, Co-pilot: Dave Gerrits, Navigator: Marvin Stokes, Bombardier: Gene Lightfoot, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Edgar Sikes, Ball turret gunner: Hugh Crimmins, Waist gunner: Dewey Rhoads, Waist gunner: Willard Laney,Tail gunner: Art Gruneisen (9 Killed in Action); Radio Operator: Jim Wolfe (Prisoner of War); flak hit near Alderney, ditched Channel. Missing Air Crew Report 5901. IDIOTS’ DELIGHT.



  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942. Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

  • 710th Bomb Squadron


  • Penrose Bingaman

    Military | Master Sergeant | Crew cheif | 94th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 332BS, 94BG, 8AF USAAF. Ground crew for B-17 Frenesi and the John R Israel Crew #19-9-153 Worked as crew chief on Idiot's Delight (42-30301) in Bury St Edmunds, England Awards: BS, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Hugh Crimmins

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in channel on 6/19/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • David Gerrits

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in Channel on 6/18/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Arthur Gruneisen

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down over Channel on 6/19/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Willard Laney

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in Channel in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Eugene Lightfoot

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in Channel on 6/18/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Theodore Milton

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in Channel on 6/18/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Dewey Rhoads

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in channel on 6/19/44 in B-17 #4230301 Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Morton Robinson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 94th Bomb Group
    Radio operator on the Linwood F McMackin crew, mostly flying Idiot's Delight. ...

  • Edgar Sikes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down in channel by flak in B-17 #4230301

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  • VIII Bomber Command 73

    14 July 1943
    The German air depot at Villacoublay, France and the German airfields Amiens/Glisy and Le Bourget at Paris, France are the primary targets for this mission. These attacks are made by three separate elements: 116 B-17s are despatched from 92BG (15);...

  • 8th Air Force 273

    22 March 1944
    The German aviation industries at Oraneinburg and Basdorf were the intended primary target for this mission but dense cloud cover prevented the attack on these targets. The secondary target of Berlin, Germany and surrounding Targets of Opportunity (TOs...


  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...


Event Location Date
Delivered Cheyenne, WY, USA 11 May 1943
Delivered Smoky Hill, KS, USA 25 May 1943
Delivered Kearney, NE, USA 26 May 1943
Delivered Dow, IL, USA 2 June 1943
Assigned Earls Colne, Essex, UK 5 June 1943
Assigned Rougham, Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk, UK 13 June 1943
Failed to Return (FTR) Over Water (OW) English Channel 19 June 1944


Date Contributor Update
06 June 2019 19:40:51 phil marchese Changes to markings

94 BG ASSOC B-17F album and comments

Date Contributor Update
02 January 2017 19:34:28 Yorkshireman Changes to nicknames

Hutchinson & Cortright

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:28 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 5901 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database