B17 movie where crew are ghosts?

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by drain_sniffer, Apr 22, 2010.

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  1. Right all, I remember watching a film as a kid (70's, maybe early 80's) about this downed B17 and all the crew are around it talking about their lives, how they were going to get back to base etc.........Turns out that at the end of the film, shot pans out to show a B17 breakers yard and the crew turn out to be ghosts....

    Does anyone have any idea as to its name, or anyone else remember it?
  2. I seem to remember something like that, but the plane was crashed in the desert.
  3. They're all in the desert. At the end of the film they start vanishing one by one. Turns out that their remains are being discovered by an archaeological group or something. One guy remains on his own at the end of the film. His remains are trapped beneath the tail section.

    Sure the plane's a B26 though.

    Still can't remember the film's name though!
  4. Based on the finding of "Lady be Good" no doubt.

  5. My bold - That's the one.
  6. Thats the badger
  7. The movie you're thinking about is probably "Sole Survivor" which was made in 1970. It's loosely based on the story of the B-24 bomber "Lady Be Good" that crashed in the Libyan desert after a bomb run on Naples in 1943. The wreckage wasn't discovered until 1958 and the U.S. Air Force conducted a search of the crash site in 1960. All but one of the 9 crewmen of the "Lady Be Good" were found and their bodies were taken back to the United States for burial. The radio operator's body (SSG Vernon Moore) was never found.

    The tale was told for TV too. It was a story on the Twilight Zone series entitled "King Nine Will Not Return" and was shown on 30 August 1960. (Episode 37)
  8. I remember reading about that in National Geographic. Theye claimed that when they opened up the thermos flasks found on board the coffee was still drinkable. Or so they said. Mind you it had gone cold!!
  9. Lt (Later Gen) PAJ Cordingly led a troop of Skins out to 'Lady be Good' in 1967(ish) when the regiment was in Libya. All the photo documentation (still in RHQ) shows that it was near perfect nick.

    ISTR that 'After the Battle' magazine did an article on it also...


    Quis Separabit
    Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum
  10. I'm told that is where our 'Pink' desert camouflage came from - it was the colour that the aircraft had bleached to in the sun that made it so hard to find.

    I could be wrong though..........
  11. The Lady Be Good was seen on aerial photography by BP in the 60's in the Calanscio desert in eastern Libya,700km south of Benghazi The following year it was actually located on the ground by BP exploration surveyors and geologists and reported to the US Airforce base at Wheelus? Airforce base near Tripoli. The US denied that it was theirs until the tail number was sent to them, it was supposed to have crashed in the Med after a raid on Italy. The USAF sent teams into the desert to the LBG.

    A diary was found that showed all the crew parachuted to safety and rv'd on the ground except for the rear gunner who was not located at the time. My memory dims on this as I read a report on the search for survivors from the BP standpoint as they assisted as much as possible once the USAF became involved.

    The survivors realised they were some several hundred kms SE of their airbase at Bardia (SW of Benghazi) and started to walk back towards the base. As they walked they left signs - arrows of rock, piles of flight clothing etc which the BP/USAF teams were able to follow.
    At one point the search teams found two arrows, one in the original direction and one to the east in line with a set of recent (at the time) vehicle tracks. In this area the desert is gravel and wheel marks do not get blown away, rather, filled with sand. On following the eastern tracks the searchers found the graves of the officers from the flight with one body just laid down. They surmised that the survivors here had been buried one by one as they died until the last survivor. a sad thing here is that they were within a few kilometers of an LRDG food and water dump which the BP/USAF team managed to located.

    Meanwhile the search to the NW was locating the bodies of the NCO crew, one by one. The last body located had the diary that had been kept by one of the NCO's who died earlier. The diary told of the split where the Officers chose to follow the wheel marks east and the NCOs continuiing to the north. The diary also showed that the tail gunner never met up with the rest of the crew and that in the total body count found by the BP/USAF searchers, there was still one other crew member not located. Although they backtracked, this body was not found by the searchers.

    The one of the USAF DC3s which landed alongside the LBG had a radio problem and it was noted that the radio on board was the same type as used in the DC3, the radio op swapped components and got his radio working. Also rumoured was that there was still coffee in a flask found in the aircraft and that after cleaning the guns, they worked.

    The weapons, propellors and one of the USAF stars from a wing were removed, the props becoming a memorial at the base chapel in Tripoli.

    The officlal enquiry concluded that the aircraft had tail winds returning to Bardia and with RDF being in its infancy they would have been only basic direction and distance from the airbase. They overflew Bardia and ran out of fuel, the life rafts were dropped and all crew members ordered to bail out believing they were over the sea still (from the air at night parts of the desert look like waves). this and the fact that the aircraft was actually on the correct heading but way past the base when it went down. The aircraft actually glided into a landing near where the aircrew came down, allowing them to rv there and pick up some supplies. The diary confirms much of this.

    The following year, the rear gunner was located by a libyan driver who noticed something strange in the desert. it was the candled chute and body of the r/g. All the recovered bodies were returned to the USA for burial. There still reamins one body out there somewhere.

    The final garbled entry in the diary showed that the last survivor last 2 weeks on barely a spoonfull of water and no food.

    The wreck was used as a target for desert navigation courses (these used to be taught at the School of Military Survey at hermitage in Berkshire (Now RSMS) and pelople such as the Guards Independent Squadron set off from the base at Tobruk to locate it as an exercise. One poingnant comment written inside the fuselage was from a GIS captain who gave the date his team reached the wreck and the comment "20 years too late". Duke Earl, one of the RE Survey desert nav instructors who accompanied one of the expeditions also left his name in the fuselage.

    I was head of exporation survey for the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (successor to BP after Ghaddafi nationalised BP) in the 80's and when I located the aircraft it was on the ground after a gliding landing with the wheels up. The wings were intact, the fuselage was broken, perspex was still in the windows and guns positions. the bays where the life rafts were stored were open. There were stil traces of oil on the the spark plugs in one of the engines. We treated the site with the respect it deserved. AND yes we all too late! :cry:
  12. In Sole Survivor the aircraft is a B-25 Mitchell.

    I saw it many many years ago on Tv. Thanks for the links guys, always wanted to see it again.