Original U.S. WWII B-26 Marauder 554th Bomb Squadron Painted A-2 Flight Jacket - Byron Hall

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is an incredible A2 leather flight jacket issued to Sergeant Byron Buckley Hall (ASN 17091074) of Denver Colorado. Was a crew member aboard B-26 Marauders during World War II and was assigned to the 9th Air Force, 386th Bomb Group, 554th Bomb Squadron.

This is fantastic Russet brown leather Type A-2 flight jacket from World War II in size 42. Manufacturer tag from Aero Leather of Beacon, NY.

The jacket itself features some of the most artistically excellent, stunning and vibrant hand-painted features we have ever encountered on a WW2 flight jacket. The reason is that a talent artistic did most of the painting. In fact the art is so good and detailed we though it might have been doin well after WW2. However, we found a nearly identical jacket in the Imperial War Museum of the UK which can be seen at this link. The IWM jacket is equally as stunning and also signed by the same artist. The artist signed his work HUGO, ST TROND. 1945. Indicating that the paintings on the jacket were done in St Trond, Belgium by the artist named Hugo.

- Left Chest: Hand Painted full color 554th Bomb Squadron insignia which features a black panther with blood dripping from his mount in front of a mountain sunset. This is signed HUGO.
- Left Chest: 31 Hand Painted Yellow Bombs which indicated successful bombing missions.

- Left Chest: Banded leather name tag that reads B.B. HALL.

- Right Chest: Incredibly detailed Hand Painted B-26 Marauder with tail number 42-96184. This is a known aircraft which was assigned to the 554th Bomb Squadron. Detailed history is below.

- Left Shoulder: full color 8th Air Force insignia.

- Reverse: Incredibly detailed Hand Painted B-26 Marauder with tail number 43-22418. This is a known Douglas A-26 Invader called "Kiwi Boid" which is mentioned in the book A-26 Invader Units of World War 2 By Jim Roeder. According to the book "Kiwi Boid" (Boid is Brooklyn dialect for "bird") tis aircraft completed 30 missions. The 544th BS was based in St. Trond Belgium in the Spring of 1945. The art is signed: HUGO, ST TROND. 1945.
The jacket is in fine, original condition, with functional CROWN zipper to front, two front pockets, and correct reddish knitted waist and cuffs, that could be original or correct period replacements. The lining is original and is stenciled in multiple places BYRON - B - HALL 17091074.

Also included with this jacket is a high quality printed copy of Sgt. Hall's Draft Registration Card.

B-26 42-96184 was on its second mission of the day on 6 August 1944. The target were fuel dumps near the Forêt d'Andainne, East of Domfront, Calvados, France. Hit by 88mm Flak shell above Le Havre, causing fire in the right engine. Three parachutes were observed. The pilot held the ship in formation for a time but was slowly losing altitude and the engine was burning brightly. As the plane began to lose altitude more rapidly, two chutes were seen coming out of the front. When about 1 mile off shore (near Trouville-sur-Mer), the wing and right engine came away from the ship, which was seen spiraling into the Channel. Pilot Captain Walter E. Payne, Co-Pilot 1st Lt Hubert M. Altvater and Bombardier/Navigator 1st Lt Edward W. Roggenkamp were all on their 63rd mission. All three were made prisoner. The three other men on board were experienced gunners, who had flown on earlier missions and were replacing the Payne crew’s regular ones who had flown more than the 65 required missions (some with other crews) and had completed their tour. Thus flying their first mission with Payne were : Radio Operator/Mechanical Gunner T/Sgt Joseph D. Weaver (POW); Ap. Armorer Gunner Cpl William L. Salyer (POW) and Ap. Armorer Gunner Sgt Franklin E. Swanson (hit by Flak, his chute failed to open - Killed In Action - KIA). Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 7875.

History of the 544th Bomb Squadron:
Activated as a B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber squadron in late 1942, it trained under Third Air Force in southeastern United States. It was reassigned to European Theater of Operations in June 1943, first as part of the VIII Air Support Command, then of the IX Bomber Command in 1944. Engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe initially from stations in England, after D-Day it moved to Advanced Landing Grounds in France and Belgium, advancing eastward along with the Allied ground. The squadron supported Eighth Air Force strategic bombardment missions over NSDAP Germany and Occupied Europe, striking enemy airfields to obtain maximum interference in Luftwaffe day interceptor attacks on heavy bomber formations returning to England. It also participated in Western Allied Invasion of Germany, March–April 1945, combat ending with the German capitulation in May 1945.
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