View Full Version : "Old Faithful" memorial at Wincanton, Somerset

Richard Flagg
06-07-2008, 14:54

Can anyone tell me a bit more about the memorial? Where was "Old Faithful" based? What was the serial No?

Peter Kirk
06-07-2008, 16:51
There must have been dozens of B-17's called "Old Faithful". Probably one in each bomb group.
I would be impressed if someone could identify the one mentioned in the memorial.


06-07-2008, 17:50
I would be impressed if someone could identify the one mentioned in the memorial.
Stand by to be impressed !

OLD FAITHFULL Flying Fortress B17G -42-37958 from 401st Bomber Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, flying her first operation from Bassingbourn, Cambridge.

On 25th June 1944 Old Faithfull while on her 37th Bombing mission was severely damaged by flak while on a diversionary bombing raid on an airfield by Toulouse, France. The raid drew away German fire from other B17ís who were going to drop supplies to the French Resistance.

Despite an engine in flames, Old Faithfully successfully flew 800 miles over enemy territory back to England only to crash near Wincanton, Somerset, killing all the crew.

(Try googling Ebay!)

05-08-2008, 22:34
I doubt if "Old Faithful" flew 800 miles from Toulouse to Wincanton, but I take your point about struggling back. A photo of the B-17 trailing smoke from the No.3 engine, and far below the 91BG formation over a patchwork quilt of French countryside appears on page 108 of "Fortress At War" by the late (great) Roger Freeman. Pilot was 1st Lt Peter Mikonis.


06-08-2008, 02:01
Fortress at War - that's one book I wish I'd never loaned out. Never got it back :x :x

Nice memorial though, simple and to the point. Cheers for posting.


Peter Kirk
06-08-2008, 10:41

I'm impressed!

16-02-2009, 22:25
I'm impressed!
Thanks PNK. I've waited a month for that and can now sleep at night!

22-06-2010, 11:43
1st post, but if you really want to be impressed my Father was at the crash site as a 13 year old and actually witnessed the crash:

A quote from his memoirs

"I can remember it well, hearing a noise of an aeroplane obviously in trouble I looked out of the side window at 27Balsam Park and saw part of the wing tumbling down, this must have been the wing tip which landed in Mr.Loud's field in the Common the one opposite the seat which was in the lane that went up to Devenish Lane. I got down to Snag Farm even before the Fire Engine, Police and rescue services had arrived so I was able to get inside the crash site before they were turning people away.

We tore over and were greeted with the sight of the smoldering remains of the plane which had obviously exploded on hitting the ground. We were not allowed to go anywhere near it. I went to pick up a piece of metal that was lying in the field that we were standing in and was told by PC Duddridge to replace it in no uncertain terms.

We could only stand and watch as rescue attempts were being mad e find the survivors of the crew but it was a vain search as they had obviously all been killed on impact.

There had been children playing in the farm yard immediately before the crash and it was fortunate that the plane did not hit the house or any of the main farm buildings. Nobody was allowed on the crash site until the remains of the plane had been removed but some of us went after school to examine the site and pick up any souvenirs that we could find.

Only odd bits of fuselage could be found BUT I did find a finger lying underneath a piece of metal I LEFT it there where it was."

sam c e
31-07-2010, 12:45
hi i have just purchased two bits off old faithful that was recoverd from the crash site in the mid 90s one bit from the fuselage and a chunk from one of the engines. i allso recived some info on her last flight and a picture of the crew. the paper states the photo is the nine crew members who lost there lives but in the photo there are ten men. can anyone give me any info on why this is and if there were ten who is the tenth man on the photo ???

airfields man
31-07-2010, 13:49
Would be nice to see the crew photograph. I photographed this memorial in 1993 but sadly can't find these, I'm sure it didn't look as good as REFs recent photograph maybe it was re-newed....

airfields man
07-08-2010, 15:39
Here is my old photograph to compare the two plaques.

17-10-2011, 06:16
Old Faithful was a member of the 91st bomb group. My father was a pilot (the first?) of Old Faithful and flew his first mission 7 Jan 1944. On his 26th mission (24 April 1944) the plane was hit with flak. Injured he stayed with the co-pilot as he flew the plane back to base. He survived, none of his crew was killed and returned to the States to face a 1 year hospital stay.

I presume Old Faithful was patched up and placed back into service a couple of months later. And the memorial placed in honor of the brave men who flew Old Faithful.

Douglas K Deurmyer
03-09-2013, 21:39
My Name is Douglas Keith Deurmyer. My uncle S.Sgt. Douglas Keith Deurmyer was a crew member of "Old Faithful" and ultimately perished in the crash.
I would be greatful for any more info or pictures anyone could provide regarding this plane, their field etc.

22-06-2014, 17:35
Just to let you know we held a memorial parade this afternoon for the crew of Old Faithful and were joined by the pilots sister. There will be further memorials to mark the 70th year on Wed 25th June which will culminate in a visit to the crash site.

We always remember the crew each year and read out their names on Remembrance Sunday.

Derek, please give me a shout as would be great to establish more links to the crew and their families. We have photos and information that we are happy to share.

Photos from today's parade here

Best regards

Dave, Parade Marshall, Wincanton Royal British Legion.

airfields man
22-06-2014, 20:26
Hi Dave, Many thanks for your post, and Welcome to the Forum. Great to know that this crew are still being remembered, much appreciated. Regards, Paul.