Original U.S. WWII B-17G Bomber BIG POISON 490BG Named A-2 Flight Jacket

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. BIG POISON a B-17G bomber serial #43-37894 Delivered Cheyenne 2/6/44 was assigned to the 490BG (Bomb Group) 849BS (Bomb Squadron) and operated of out England at the Eye, Suffolk airbase during the WW2.

Original Crew:

Pilot: John Hedgecock

Co-Pilot: Eaden Whiteman

Navigator: John Roschen

Bombardier: Albt Elias

Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Jake Zuckerman

Radio Operator: Art Fleischer

Waist Gunner: Pete Nicoliasen

Tail Gunner: Paul Estep (8RTD with minor injuries)

Ball Turret Gunner: Ed Tijan (KIA)

From the book Bomber Bases of World War 2 3rd Air Division 8th Air Force USAF 1942-45: Flying Fortress and Liberator Squadrons in Norfolk and Suffolk by Martin W. Bowman:

Lieutenant Wallace Johnson in the 490th recalls the mission of Tuesday 17 October:

I was ?ying our B-17 Big Poison on a mission to the marshalling yards at Cologne when we took an almost direct ?ak hit that severed all the oil lines on No. 2 engine, including the one to the feathering pump. Consequently all attempts to feather that engine were futile; this caused extreme over— speeding of the prop and with no Oil to the engine it soon seized, causing the crankshaft to shear. This left me with one prop running wild (windmilling), causing a huge amount of drag which I could not overcome, even with the other three engines at full power. As we dropped out of formation we were picked up and escorted by two little friends, P—51s. As pilot-in-command it was up to me at this point to make the decision to try and make the Channel crossing back home to Eye or attempt a landing on the Continent. I reasoned that there was a high risk of the runaway prop breaking away from its mount and slicing through the nose of the aircraft, with dire consequences. I also knew that there was a possibility I would have to ditch the plane in the Channel. Either way, concern for the safety of my crew made me decide to land at Brussels. Maintenance crews came out to meet us and their inspection revealed that the prop was ready to fall off with the touch of a finger.

This USAF size 40 flying jacket is offered in wonderful supple condition. Comes complete with with original label that reads:

Type A-2

Drawing No. 30-1415

Order No. W535 AC 16159

Rough Wear Clothing Co

Middletown, P.A.

Original features include: YKK zipper, knitted cuffs and waistband, two flap-over pockets, breast painted with initials J.J. and a yellow winged 8th Air Force insignia, reverse with nose art Big Poison with bomber and 30 red bombs with swas beneath (indicating 30 missions). The jacket is in wonderful condition with complete lining. We believe the JJ stands for the pilot John JJ Hedgecock who at 6’ and 158 pounds would fit this jacket quite well.

This jacket was formerly part of John Conway collection (an author and authority on American WWII Flight Jackets).

The 490th Bomb Group, like the 486th and 487th Bomb Groups transitioned from flying B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses, which were used in combat missions from late August 1944. Based at Eye, Suffolk, the Group were focused in the early months in flying tactical missions in support of ground forces in northern France. After the Group's conversion to B-17s, the crews switched focus and flew longer distance missions over Germany to bomb industrial sites. After VE Day, the Group dropped food supplies to flooded parts of Holland and transported French, Belgian and Spanish POWs out of Austria.

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