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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Long Beach 14/9/43; Scott 21/10/43; Assigned 401BG Deenethorpe 26/10/43; transferred 510BS/351BG [TU-N] Polebrook 18/11/43; to 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 8/6/44; Aphrodite/Azon Project Knettishall 7/44; 16m Missing in Action Siracourt 4/8/44 with John W Fisher Jr [KIA] of 96BG & T/Sgt Elmer Most; Crashed Watling Wood, Sudbourne Park, Suffolk; WANTTA SPA

Control problems led to drone crashing in wood at Sudbourne Park, pilot baled too late [KIA].
Two times Lt Fisher re-engaged the autopilot controls, T/Sgt Most having baled out, and level flight had been established, on the third attempt to gain level flight and successful remote control the A/C went into a spin that stopped Fisher from being able to bale out.

Mother ship for this mission was B-17 43-37637 piloted by Lt Foster Flakenstine and drone controller Major Rand.



  • 43-37637

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/5/44; Hunter 21/5/44; Grenier 6/6/44; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-U] Rougham (Azon controlling mothership) 7/6/44; battle damaged Nurnberg 21/2/45 with ?; force landed continent, Sal; transferred 34BG Mendlesham 9/6/45; Returned to the...

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  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 510th Bomb Squadron
  • Base Air Depot 1

    Base Air Depot 1



  • John Fisher

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    John Fisher flew as part of the Aphrodite Project. On 4 August 1944, his B-17 42-39835 blew apart over Watling Wood, England. Fisher was in the drone aircraft and twice Lt Fisher re-engaged the autopilot controls. He managed to push Sgt Elmer Most, his...

  • Joseph Isoardi

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-17 Navigator | 351st Bomb Group
    Joseph J. Isoardi was my grandfather. I only knew him for 6 years of my life, but he was amazing. A life long goof-ball, his cap is always tilted to the side in his service pictures. He went on to father 4 daughters and 8 grandchildren.

  • Elmer Most

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Bombsight Mechanic | 388th Bomb Group
    Survived an experimental Aphrodite project flight on 4 August 1944 in drone B-17 42-39835.


  • 515

    4 August 1944


  • Burtonwood

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the RAF in 1939-40, the RAF's No. 37 Maintenance Unit used the base from 1940 to 1942, before it became a joint Anglo-American maintenance and servicing airfield - a Base Air Depot. After the war it continued to be used as a maintenance and...

  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...

  • Fersfield

    Military site : airfield
    Originally named Winfarthing when the site was allocated to the Eighth Air Force in 1942, it was renamed Fersfield when built for the Eighth Air Force 1943-44. USAAF and US Navy projects 'Aphrodite' 'Batty' and 'Anvil' (attempts to develop and use...

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...


Event Location Date
Crashed Sudbourne Park, Sudbourne, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 2AJ, UK 4 August 1944

Aphrodite mission to Siracourt 4/8/44 with John W Fisher Jr [KIA] of 96BG & T/Sgt Elmer Most; Control problems led to drone crashing in Watling Wood, Sudbourne Park, Suffolk;


Date Contributor Update
23 December 2015 12:06:56 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer and description

AAM DB Entry.
Liberator: The Consolidated B-24 By Graham Simons.

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2015 11:51:06 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, description, events, aircraft associations, unit associations, person associations, place associations and mission associations

AAM DB Entry.
Liberator: The Consolidated B-24 By Graham Simons

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:50 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log