Martin B26B-4 Marauder 41-18150

"Winnie Dee"

 41-18150 in flight (Trevor J Allen Historian)

B26b-4 Marauder 41-18150 Glenn Martin serial No.2722 was delivered to the US Army between the 7/1/43 and the 28/2/43. It was the 176th B26b-4 built out of 211 aircraft of this type. The B26b-4 featured a lengthened nose wheel strut, slotted flaps, enhanced armour, twin 0.50" tail guns, larger carburettor intakes and two Pratt and Whitney R-2800-43 engines which produced 2000hp.

The B26b-4 featured the original short wingspan of 65" which earned the B26 the nickname "Flying Prostitute" or "Baltimore Whore" because it appeared to have no visible means of support referring to it's short wingspan that would be increased in length in later models.

Markings on a propeller that use to lie on the mountainside indicated that 41-18150 was fitted with Curtiss Electric pitch change propellors.

B26 41-18150 original pilots were Captain Jack Wilson Seale and Andrew F. Byrd Jr. The plane was named "Winnie Dee" after Jack's mother while they were training at MacDill Airfield, Florida April 1943. It was originally assigned to the 449th Bomb Squadron, 322nd Bomb Group however shortly after arriving in England it was transferred to 452nd Bomb Squadron 322nd Bomb Group, Andrews Field. This was probably to replace aircraft lost in the infamous Ijmuiden raid ( ). Whilst at the 449th Bomb Squadron Jack may have named another B26 41-31741 "Winnie Dee II" after the original "Winnie Dee" this plane would be lost over France on 12/8/44.

B26 41-18150 mission on the 10th April 1944 was a practice gunnery/bombing mission over the Irish Sea close to Greencastle Airfield, Co. Down, N. Ireland. Before take off it was loaded with 960 gallons of fuel, five bombs and 1050 rounds of .50" calibre ammunition. On the day of the accident the plane had accumulated 449 hours 45 minutes flying time. At some time in either 1943 or 1944 it had been transfered to the 3rd CCRC, Toome from The 452nd Bomb Squadron after being declared "War Weary".

One day while walking across the SW shoulder of Chimney Rock Mountain I picked up what looked like a small piece of insignificant aluminium, much to my surprise it turned out to be the remains of the Air Speed indicator from "Winnie Dee".

One of the engines along with remians of part of the rear gunners position, Spences River Valley.

452nd Bomb Squadron, 9th Airforce

After studying the 452nd Bomb Squadron war history I came across a entry that referred to a diversionary sweep mission, commonly referred to as "A Duck", flown over the English Channel on the 17th July 1943. 41-18150 "Winnie Dee" took part in this mission along with the following aircraft.

B26b-25 41-31819 "Mild and Bitter" the first B26 in the ETO to complete 100 missions. Airfix would produce a model kit based on this aircraft.

B26b-4 41-18054 "Jezabelle" this plane was also transferred to the 3rd CCRC Toome after being classified as  "War Weary" and was flying alongside 41-18150 on the day of the accident.       

                B26b-4  41-18014 "Silver Streak"

Interesting article located and kindly forwarded by Gary McFarland