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Strange Tale from WWII


inquiring geezer
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I am a 75 yr. old geezer bumbling around on the internet trying to get a handle on a strange story I once read in I believe the Reader's Digest (but not sure). I am guessing that it appeared in perhaps mid to late 50's to late 60's or early 70's. The obvious source would be the Digest archives, but they have had no success in finding it. I suspect they are not trying too hard. I have made contact with their archive dept. but they hardly know what I am talking about so am looking elsewhere. Thought perhaps you knew someone who could give me a lead to a source.

This is basically how I remember it –

An AAF bomber based in N. Africa (after the N African campaign ended) made a bombing run across the Mediterranean Sea to (Italy?), completed the mission and attempted to return to their base in (Libya?). There was cloud cover or some weather problem and they overflew their base and continued over the Sahara until they ran out of fuel. I think the story was that some crew members parachuted and part of the crew stayed with the aircraft as it crash-landed. The way I remember the story was that the instrumentation at the time gave them a course reading but could not tell them when they over-flew and were flying away from their destination instead of to it.

Many years after the war, the bomber was discovered and there was evidence at the scene that there were survivors and a search was done following the flight course and some parachutes and bodies were recovered – but some were still missing so further searching was done covering a larger area. A survivor was found living with a tribe of Bedouins, & had married one of their women. I'm not sure but think he chose to stay with the tribe (maybe temporarily) though he had a wife and family in the U.S.

It is very difficult for me to remember all the details that I read 40 or 50 years ago, but I would like to refresh it in my mind and am still fascinated by the basic story.

Can you offer any suggestions or help? At the time the war started, I was 9 yrs. old and had a real interest in my older Uncles,cousins and friends going off to war. Hope you can see why I have an interest in this fascinating story.

Sylvester Breit

514 N. Milstead

Wichita, Ks.

sylvesterbreit@sbcglobal.net

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Yep, the B-24D "Lady Be Good". Several theories over what happened, but she probably did pick up a good tail wind which pushed her back over Libya far sooner than the navigator expected. There were also stories of the Germans sending out fake radio beacon signals, so the navigator might have thought that the 330 heading was a fake signal intended to draw them back to Italy.

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Yep, they Beat me to it. "Lady Be Good" is the bomber your looking for. The crew perished in the desert. Saw a good doc on that a few years ago. Seems that the navigator got them to the target just fine but mysteriously stopped navigating after they turned for home. Seems I remember that the map board showed the precision he used getting them to the target, but his notations stopped and the bomber wound up out int he middle of no where.

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