WORTH A SECOND GLANCE
SOMEWHERE IN GREAT BRITAIN
only hint of location on these two cards, which are among the most true-to-life
of any Allied WW2 air force postcards. They
are numbered 5 & 8 so there
must be more in this set of real photo cards issued by the American Red Cross. The backs say Mail This Postcard in Your Camp APO and no stamp is
required if sent by members of the US
armed forces. The front of both says Passed by U S Army Censor No 21 ETO
(European Theatre of Operations ?) USA. Both
are Headed American Red Cross Clubmobile Somewhere in Great Britain and have
text on the back
“American Red Cross Clubmobiles staffed by American Girls bring hot
coffee and doughnuts to US Forces overseas” Apart
from the short title on the front “Mixed Chow” that is all there is to say
about the vertical card, except that the apparently un-posed
photo is reminiscent of those in contemporary photo-magazines such as
Picture Post in the UK or Life in the US.
much more to be gleaned about the shot with the B-17. Firstly, because
bus-nutters are as fanatical researchers as their aviation counterparts, much
information on the Clubmobile mobile canteens can be found. These were donated
to the American red Cross by London Transport and were based on T class AEC
Regal Green-Line long distance coaches. After the war most returned to LT
service. Each one carried the name of a
US State. An attempt has been made to erase, presumably by the censor, but
“New York” can still be made out. This makes the bus T695, registration
EYK330, delivered to LT 1938 and with the
red Cross from 1942-45 and remaining in service with LT to 1953.
more can be unearthed about the B-17 just from the late Roger Freeman’s first
work The Mighty Eighth – probably much more with access to his many other
works on the 8th Air Force. The
key piece of information is the name Phyllis. This identifies a B-17F of the 301st
Bomb Group at Chelveston, Northants. The 301st ferried their B-17s
transatlantic via Iceland and Prestwick in August 1942
and first went into action to targets in France in September.
“Phyllis” has 4 bombs painted on the nose which suggests the photo was taken
later in September. In any case Phyllis was badly damaged in an attack on the
ex-Potez aircraft factory at Meaulte on October 2nd and belly landed at Gatwick. 16 cannon and about 300 small calibre
bullet holes were counted.
So a lot can be added to this picture of an unidentified Boeing “somewhere in Great Britain” including the fact that its last mission was bombing what was to become an Airbus factory.
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