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Original U.S. WWII 422nd Bomb Squadron B-17 Wally’s Wagon Painted A-2 Flight Jacket of Pilot Lt. Wallace “Wally” B Davis - Aircraft Shot Down and Used By The Luftwaffe

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Painted WWII American A-2 Flight Jackets have realized unprecedented prices in the past year. For example jackets at Rock Island Auctions sold in 2022 for $32,000+ and $23,000+ respectively they can be found at this link and this link. When comparing the Rock Island Auction jackets with the one offered here, one can easily see that our offering is an exceptional value!

Original Item: One of a Kind. This is an absolutely beautiful World War Two American painted A-2 flight jacket, named to Lt. Wallace “Wally” B Davis. In researching Lieutenant Davis we were able to discover that he served as a Pilot with the 8th Army Air Force, 305th Bomb Group, 422nd Bomb Squadron and successfully completed  35 Missions. We found an entry for him at the American Air Museum in Britain website which can be seen at this link. According to which is a project of the Army Air Corps Library and Museum, Wallace B Davis Jr served his country in World War II with the 305th Bombardment Group and was awarded the Air Medal with subsequent awards. This information can be seen at this link.

Wally Davis's Co-Pilot, Howard Gollnick, gave an interview to the Herald Tribune in 2008 and recounted the following story which can be found at this link.

I remember when we flew to Wales. On the way across, Wally Davis, the first pilot, and I were enjoying ourselves and playing bridge in the cockpit. I was on automatic pilot. All of a sudden, the navigator came up and said, 'You guys don't want to run out of gas and have a German submarine get you. Make a right turn.'

We looked at each other and said, 'Maybe we should trust him. He's our navigator. Let's make the right turn.'

We were flying right straight down the electronic beam, so we made the right turn, followed our navigator's advice, and about an hour later, by gosh, there were wheels.

We were following the beam of a German submarine. He'd have led us out over the North Sea and we'd have run out of gas.

The A-2 jacket, which is in wonderful condition with fantastic hand painted insignia. The left chest features a leather name tag that reads as W.B. DAVIS. The name tag does appear to have been reattached which is not uncommon to see as the thread used deteriorated quickly. Beneath this are 35 painted bombs which represent 35 missions flown. The majority of the bombs are silver with a blue border while every 5th bomb is red with a yellow border. The right chest features a hand painted 305th bomb group leather shield with an image of an armored hand dropping a bomb onto a broken swas. Above this image in a smoke like banner is the motto “CAN DO”.

The reverse of the jacket is plain, simple and straight to the point. The reverse side has in gold script “Wally’s Wagon” which was in fact his B-17 that was named after our pilot here, Wallace “Wally” B. Davis.

Jacket is in size US 36 and has retained all original components including original knit waist band and sleeve cuffs, something we often see replaced on A-2 jackets that saw extensive service. Also original is the CROWN brand zipper which is still functional. Both epaulets have a painted Lieutenant bar.

The interior lining does have tearing and stitching loss present, so do handle it with care. The top rear back portion of the liner still retains the original tag which reads as:

DWG. NO. 30H1415
ORDER NO. 42-18775-P

Included with the set are high resolution printed copies of original photos showing Wally and his crew, his B-17 and more! This is an incredible example of a hard to find painted A-2 jacket, offered in wonderful condition. Comes more than ready for further research and display.

Approximate measurements: Size 36

We have not been able to find much about “Wally’s Wagon”, but what we did uncover was that Wally’s Wagon had a name change when the crew changed and was named as “Wally’s Wheels” with the same tail number 43-37827. The B-17 was taken down by enemy flak fire on May 12, 1944. This very same B-17 is seen as having been used by the Luftwaffe according to some pictures we found. Unfortunately there is no record of the aircraft having been repurposed before it was again shot down, but the images we found are solid evidence. Multiple pictures were taken of the B-17 and we found the following caption with it: "This view of what is apparently the same scene at the same time, definitively shows this B-17G to be 43-37827, because the leading digit ('3') of the serial can now be identified." The website we found this information on can be seen at this link.

422d Bombardment Squadron
The 422d Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 305th Bombardment Wing at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana, where it was inactivated on 15 February 1961.

Established in June 1942 as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron; it trained under Second Air Force. The squadron deployed to the European Theater of Operations in September 1942, being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England. It began flying long-range strategic bombardment missions on 17 November 1942 and attacked such targets as submarine pens, docks, harbors, shipyards, motor works and marshalling yards in France, Germany and the Low Countries. Starting in 1943, the squadron began flying Nickeling missions, dropping leaflets over occupied territory. In June 1944 this mission, along with most of the squadron's personnel and aircraft, were transferred to the 858th Bombardment Squadron and the 422d returned to strategic bombing operations.[3][4]

It continued attacks on enemy cities, manufacturing centers, transportation links and other targets until the German capitulation in May 1945.

After combat missions ended, the squadron moved to Sint-Truiden Airfield in Belgium in July 1945, where it conducted photo-mapping and intelligence-gathering flights over Europe and North Africa which came under the name Project Casey Jones. On 15 December 1945 it moved to Lechfeld Airfield, Germany which it had bombed on 18 March 1944 and which it now used as an occupation base.

The 422d Bombardment Squadron was inactivated in December 1946 in Germany.

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