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Original U.S. WWII B-24 Weiser Witch Painted A-2 Flying Jacket Grouping - Alfred P. Cook - 8th Air Force, 707th Bomb Squadron - Caterpillar Club Member

Regular price $6,495.00

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Item Description

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 set. This is a fantastic grouping attributed to Staff Sergeant Alfred P. Cook of Mt Orab, Ohio. Staff Sergeant Cook participated in 35 Combat Missions as a Turret Gunner/Engineer of the B-24 “Weiser Witch”, assigned to the 707th Squadron, 446th Bomb Group, 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force. Cook’s fifth mission resulted in the crew having to bail out over Acle, England on May 31st, 1944, resulting in Cook becoming a member of “The Caterpillar Club”. In addition, Cook was awarded the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, European Campaign Medal with six Campaign Stars, and a Purple Heart. In addition, he was later awarded an Appreciation Medal from the people of Normandy, France, for his participation in the bombing campaign supporting the D-Day Invasion. This is an outstanding grouping, having been originally obtained directly from the family some years ago.

On May 31st, 1944 “Weiser Witch” took off from AAF Station 125 at Bungay, Suffolk to participate in a bombing mission with the target being a rail bridge in occupied France. Not long after take off, the pilot and co-pilot experienced difficulty controlling the aircraft, which at the time was loaded with two 2,000 lbs bombs. The Pilot, Lieutenant Lewis Bibbs ordered the crew to abandon ship, with the entire crew parachuting to safety in Acle, England. Following the successful abandoning of the B-24, the ship made a 180 degree turn, and broke apart mid-air, with the wreckage being spread over the farmland below. Upon impact, one of the 2,000lbs bombs detonated, leaving a massive crater which later served as the resting place for the wreckage of the ship. An Army Air Force investigation determined that the control cables of “Weiser Witch” were damaged due to an act of sabotage. Cook was injured upon parachuting to the ground, suffering a broken ankle. Upon returning to duty he participated in an additional 30 missions aboard the crew’s new B-24, which was also named “Weiser Witch”.

The Grouping consists of the following items:

- The main piece of the Grouping is undoubtedly Staff Sergeant Cook’s Painted A-2 Flight Jacket. The Jacket features a British-Made 707th Bombardment Squadron Patch on the left chest, the name of the B-24 “Weiser Witch” painted in the same font as what was on the aircraft itself is painted on the right chest. Below "A.P. Cook” is stenciled in yellow paint on the right pocket flap. The reverse of the jacket features a rendition of “Weiser Witch” in flight between the shoulders. Below, at the center of the back, is a rendition of Cook parachuting to safety with "Acle May 31 ‘44” Painted underneath. To the right of is a bombed German target, and to the left is a Flour Sack, signifying food supply drops over Occupied France to the resistance. The original label at the nape is still intact, although showing signs of heavy honest wear. Inside the lining Cook marked his jacket “A.P./ Cook/5473/Crew #2858”. Jacket is a marked size “38”.

- Cook Family History Book, Self-Published by Alfred Cook in 1998. The book includes various photos from Cook’s service during WWII, wartime articles relating to his awards and promotions, newspaper articles detailing his experiences during the war, and so forth. This is a key piece to the grouping which really makes the items in the grouping “come to life”!

- Cook’s A-11 Flight Helmet. Complete with Communications Headset. Intact label indicating it is a size “large”.

- Aluminum B-24 Model. These were commonly made as “Trench Art” by members of Army Air Corps Ground Crews. This particular model was purportedly made from salvaged wreckage of “Weiser’s Witch” following salvage operations.

- AAF Parka, Type B-9. Shows heavy wear.

- British-Made Enlisted Man’s Overseas Cap with Army Air Force Piping.

- Cook’s Identification Tag (aka “Dog Tag”)

- AAF Communication Microphone

- Partial Belt of wartime .30 Caliber Ammunition, .50 Caliber Shells (Inert)

- Trench Art Lighter made from .50 Caliber Shell Brass, as made by AAF Ground Crews

- Series “F” Escape Map Envelope (Empty) with Original Escape Saw, as issued with the Escape map Kit

- Original Copy of Instructions for Officers and Men of the Army Air Forces in the Event of Capture or Landing in a Neutral Country. Marked “RESTRICTED”, and stamped “A.P. Cook”. These are hard to find pieces which were issued to crews of combat aircraft.

- List of Phrases in various languages. Marked “Not to be Produced in Public”. Once again, another rare piece of ephemera issued to crews of combat aircraft in the event of being shot down.

- Various Veteran related pieces all belonging to Cook dating from the 1980s-1990s; Membership Cards, Reunion Name Tag, Pins, Belt Buckle, Bolo Tie, “B-24 Survivor” Bumper Sticker, Model Airplane, etc.

This is a fantastic grouping of a historic Painted A-2 Flight Jacket with unquestionable provenance and documented history! Groupings like this, especially with the veteran’s account in their own words, do no turn up often! Ready for further research and display!

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