Original U.S. WWII B-17 Mary Alice 615th Bomb Squadron A-2 Flight Jacket
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Lieutenant Lawrence T. Cummings Jr. (ASN 15195800) flew 28 bombing missions between February 22nd, 1944 and June 25th, 1944 as a Navigator on B-17 Flying Fortresses as a member of Lt. Dan C. Knight's Crew in the 615th Bomb Squadron, 401st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force during World War Two. Many of the mission he and his crew flew on the B-17 #42- 31983 "Mary Alice". A complete list of his missions can be found on the 401st Bomb Group Association website at this link.
His final mission, #100 for the 401st has a mission summation report which can be read at this link and reads:
This historic 100th mission was one of the longest yet flown by the 401st. The Group formed three Boxes of the 94th Combat Wing "B" formation. On the way into France the Group ran into heavy flak over the Normandy beaches, resulting in the loss of Lt. J. W. Myretetus and his crew, flying B-17 No. 42-97811, which took a direct hit. The lead ship, "Old Ironsides" was also hit by shrapnel, a piece smashing the nose plexiglas, despite which it continued on to the target and returned.
On the return the Group was forced to fly extremely low beneath low clouds over the Bay of Biscay. While skimming the waves, one aircraft was forced to pull up quickly to avoid a large wave, causing its tail to hit the lead ship amidships. Despite this impact, both aircraft were able by skillful handling to make it back to England, very much bent and battered.
Lt. Cumming's entire mission list is as follows:
1 02/22/1944 Oschersleben (#26)
2 03/06/1944 Berlin/Templin (#32)
3 03/09/1944 Berlin (#34)
4 03/11/1944 Munster (#35)
5 03/20/1944 Frankfurt (#40)
6 03/22/1944 Berlin (#41)
7 03/23/1944 Ahlen (#42)
8 03/26/1944 Watten (#44)
9 03/27/1944 Tours (#45)
10 04/09/1944 Marienburg (#47)
11 04/11/1944 Politz/Sorau (#49)
12 04/20/1944 Bois Coquerel (#53)
13 04/24/1944 Erding (#55)
14 04/26/1944 Brunswick (#57)
15 05/01/1944 Siracourt (#62)
16 05/07/1944 Berlin (#64)
17 05/08/1944 Berlin (#65)
18 05/19/1944 Kiel (#70)
19 05/23/1944 Bayon (#73)
20 05/25/1944 Fecamp/Metz (#75)
21 05/27/1944 Ludwigshaven (#76)
22 05/28/1944 Dessau (#77)
23 06/06/1944 Ver-Sur-Mere (#84)
24 06/11/1944 Bernay/St Martin (#88)
25 06/14/1944 Le Bourget (#90)
26 06/22/1944 Frevent (#97)
27 06/24/1944 Belloy-Sur-Somme (#99)
28 06/25/1944 Montbartier (#100)
Mary Alice returned to the US on June 6th, 1945 and was scrapped later that year in Kingman Arizona. However, a B-17 currently on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England. It now carries the nose art and markings of the B-17G 42-31983 Mary Alice flown by Lieutenant Dan Knight of the 615th Bomb Squadron 401st Bombardment Group based at Deenethorpe in Northampshire, England 1944. It can be seen at this link.
Another 401st BG website with photos of Lt. Cummings and the entire Lt. Knight crew can be found at this link and additional photos of the B-17 Mary Alice can be found at this link. Lt. Cummings can also has an entry in the American Air Museum database which can be found at this link.
This A-2 flying jacket has fantastic features which include:
- Reverse of jacket features an incredible full color hand painted Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny Cartoon Character holding a pale blue bomb. He has a speech bubble that reads Let's Go Doc and around are road signs for Berlin and Tokyo. Above Bugs is the plane name MARY ALICE, there are also 25 blue bombs which represent successful bombing missions. Below bugs bunny is the phrase GANZI - KNIGHTMARE.
- The left chest bears the phrase D-Deacon. We are unsure of the meaning of this but it can be found on other jackets from this crew as seen in period photos of Lt. Knight wearing a nearly identical jacket, as well as another A-2s from the same crew.
- Shoulders bear Lieutenant bars.
Overall condition of the jacket is excellent. Offered in a large size 40. The leather is still supple and does not have any major cracking or damage. The liner is original. The cuffs and waist band are period correct replacements. The zipper is by TALON and fully functional. There is an original maker data tag which reads:
Also, written on the inside lining is the name L.T. CUMMINGS in dark ink.
Also included with this jacket:
- 6 x Glossy printed copies of period photographs of CUMMINGS and his crew and the original B-17 Mary Alice.
- Glossy printed copy of CUMMINGS draft card.
A truly amazing A-2 jacket with wonderful hand painted art which has all been well documented from a crew member aboard a well known B-17.
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