..is the 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.


There is 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.  


Even 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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