Original U.S. WWII Named 451st Bomb Group P.O.W. B-24 “American Beauty” Pilot L-1 Flight Suit for Captain Charles W. McCutcheon With MACR Copies - Shot Down in Romania
Original Item: Only One Available. In May 1943, the Army Air Forces recommended the adoption of a special form, the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR), devised to record relevant facts of the last known circumstances regarding missing air crews, providing a means of integrating current data with information obtained later from other sources in an effort to conclusively determine the fate of the missing personnel. MACRs are arranged aircraft serial numbers, which is also known as the tail number. These reports had to be filed within 48 hours of an aircraft or its occupants being declared either destroyed or missing in action.
Constituted as 451st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 Apr 1943. Activated on 1 May 1943. Prepared for combat with B-24's. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Nov 1943-Jan 1944, with the air echelon training in Algeria for several weeks before joining the remainder of the group in Italy. Operated with Fifteenth AF, Jan 1944-May 1945, functioning primarily as a strategic bombardment organization. Attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges, and airfields in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece. Received a DUC for each of three missions: to an aircraft factory at Regensburg on 25 Feb 1944, to oil refineries and marshalling yards at Ploesti on 5 Apr 1944, and to an airdrome at Vienna on 23 Aug 1944; although encountering large numbers of enemy fighters and severe antiaircraft fire during each of these missions, the group fought its way through the opposition, destroyed many interceptors, and inflicted serious damage on the assigned targets. At times the group also flew support and interdictory missions. Helped to prepare the way for and participated in the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944. Transported supplies to troops in Italy during Sep 1944. Supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Jun. Inactivated on 26 Sep 1945.
Captain McCutcheon was with the 451st Bomb Group when he was shot down over the oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania. He was captured along with the rest of his crew and was sent to Stalag Luft III.
Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War, which held captured Western Allied air force personnel.
The camp was established in March 1942 near the town of Sagan, Lower Silesia, in what was then NSDAP Germany (now Żagań, Poland), 160 kilometers (100 miles) south-east of Berlin. The site was selected because its sandy soil made it difficult for POWs to escape by tunneling.
It is best known for two escape plots by Allied POWs. One was in 1943 and became the basis of a fictionalized film, The Wooden Horse (1950), based on a book by escapee Eric Williams. The second breakout — the so-called Great Escape — of March 1944, was conceived by Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, and was authorized by the senior British officer at Stalag Luft III, Herbert Massey. A heavily fictionalized version of the escape was depicted in the film The Great Escape (1963), which was based on a book by former prisoner Paul Brickhill. The camp was liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945. The site of the former POW camp is now the 'Stalag Luft III Prisoner Camp Museum'.
The flight suit is in excellent condition and appears to have never been worn by McCutcheon. The inside collar has a cloth name tag identifying the flight suit having been owned by C. W. McCUTCHEN (not enough space on tag for full name). The data label states that this is a Type L-1 and is a size Medium Regular.
This is a wonderful example with great history. Comes more than ready for further research and display.
Collar to shoulder: 10”
Shoulder to sleeve: 24.5”
Shoulder to shoulder: 17”
Chest width: 21”
Waist width: 19”
Hip width: 21”
Front length: 61"
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