Survivors, Wrecks and Relics, Part I

Survivors, Wrecks and Relics, Part I

Rare America

I’m a bit partial to old aircraft and aviation history, and have been lucky to visit many museums and historic sites during my travels. I thought I’d post some photos of a few US World War II aircraft, remnants and related artefacts that I’ve come across. I hope they will be of interest to other aircraft nuts. This post only includes aircraft and relics from outside the United States.

Photographing aircraft in museums can be challenging, especially if you don’t have any decent camera gear and suffer from a lack of talent. Museums tend to be dimly lit with occasional spotlights, and items in display cases are particularly problematic due to reflections. So apologies up front for the quality of the pics. I have tried to include basic information about each aircraft or item without going into too much depth. Sources I have used are listed after each description and links are provided at the end of the post. I am no expert, just an enthusiast, so please forgive any errors you may find.


Salis Flying Museum, La Ferté Alais

Flying Fortress

B-17G-85-VE Flying Fortress; No. 44-8846; built in 1945 at Lockheed-Vega factory in Burbank California; assigned in 1945 to USAAF 511th Bombardment Squadron, United Kingdom.

Flying Fortress

44-8846 completed six combat missions in Europe.

The aircraft is in flying condition, and presented as ‘The Pink Lady/Mother and Country’.

Flying Fortress

(Salis Flying Museum)

Isolella, Corsica

P-51B Mustang

P-51B Mustang; assigned to USAAF 309th Fighter Squadron, Italy.

On 5th July 1944, piloted by Second Lieutenant Donald Taylor, the Mustang suffered an engine failure after take-off from Campo dell’Oro Airfield (now Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport).

P-51B Mustang

2nd Lt. Taylor was forced to ditch in the sea off the small town of Isolella, and although injured, managed to inflate his dingy and climb aboard. A French soldier stationed nearby swam out and towed the dingy to shore. The P-51B now lies on a sand bottom in 20 metres of water.

(Corse Images, A.R.A.S.M)

Ajaccio, Corsica

B-17F-20-VE Flying Fortress; No. 42-5769; built in 1942 at Lockheed-Vega factory in Burbank California; assigned in 1943 to USAAF 347th Bombardment Squadron, Algeria.

Returning from a raid over Italy, pilot Lieutenant M.E. McDonnell was attempting to land his flak-damaged B-17 ‘Cotton Eyed Joe II’ on Campo dell’Oro Airfield, Ajaccio, Corsica (now Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport). On final approach and with only one engine running, McDonnell aborted the landing in order to avoid a collision with two spitfires that were taking off.

Flying Fortress

He ditched the aircraft in the sea beyond the airstrip, and today the wreck lies in nine metres of water about 100 metres off the beach.

(American Air Museum in Britain, Corse Images Sous Marines, B-17 Flying Fortress – The Queen of the Skies)


Utah Beach Landing Museum

Martin B-26G Marauder

Martin B-26G Marauder; No. 44-68219; built in 1945 at Glenn L. Martin factory in Baltimore, Maryland; sent in May 1945 to a base in Mont-de-Marsan, France.

Martin B-26G Marauder
Martin B-26G Marauder

44-68219 did not see active service during World War II, but is displayed as combat veteran 41-31576 ‘Dinah Might’, USAAF 553rd Bombardment Squadron.

(Utah Beach Landing Museum, Normandy American Heroes, American Air Museum in Britain)

Merville Battery Museum


Douglas C-47; No. 43-15073; completed in 1944 at Douglas factory in Long Beach California; assigned in 1944 to USAAF 95th Troop Carrier Squadron, United Kingdom.


43-15073 ‘The SNAFU Special’ took part in Operations Neptune, Dragoon, Market, Repulse and Varsity.

Photograph on display at the Merville Battery Museum of First Lieutenant J.P. Harper, pilot of 43-15073.


(Merville Battery Museum)

Overlord Museum Omaha Beach

P-47 engine

Engine and propeller from First Lieutenant M.J. Rosvold’s P-47 Thunderbolt.

Flying with the USAAF 397th Fighter Squadron, 1st Lt. Rosvold was shot down on 17th August 1944 near Falaise, France. He survived bailing out of the aircraft and the next day was back at his unit.

.50 calibre Browning machine guns from 1st Lt. Rosvold’s P-47. The wreckage of the aircraft was located in 1992.

.50 Cal machine guns

(Overlord Museum Omaha Beach)


Air Force Centre Museum, Dubendorf Airfield

Tequila Daisy nose art

Nose art from B-24 J-150-CO Liberator; No. 44-40168; built at Consolidated Aircraft factory in San Diego, California; assigned in 1944 to USAAF 857th Bombardment Squadron, United Kingdom.

44-40168 force landed on July 11th, 1944 on Dubendorf Airfield, Switzerland after flak damage suffered during a raid on Munich. The crew of ‘Tequila Daisy’ spent the remainder of the war interred in Switzerland, and the aircraft was scrapped at the end of hostilities.

(B-17 Museum Utzenstorf, Air Force Centre Museum, Dubendorf )

P-51D Mustang

P-51D Mustang. Post-war, the Swiss Air Force bought P-51Ds from the USAAF in Germany, and they were in service from 1948 until 1957.

(Air Force Centre Museum, Dubendorf)


Aviation Museum Laatzen-Hannover

Douglas A-26 Invader self-sealing fuel tanks

Douglas A-26 Invader self-sealing fuel tanks

Douglas A-26 Invader self-sealing fuel tanks


Aeronautical Museum Belgrade

Lockheed P-38 Lightning nacelle

Lockheed P-38 Lightning nacelle. Unfortunately there was no information provided about the display.

(Aviation Museum Belgrade)


Moorabbin Air Museum, Melbourne

Consolidated PBY-5A(M) Catalina

Consolidated PBY-5A(M) Catalina; No. A24-88; built in 1943 at Consolidated factory in San Diego California; assigned in April 1944 to No. 3 Operational Training Unit RAAF, assigned in August 1944 to No. 42 Squadron RAAF, assigned in August 1945 to No. 11 Squadron RAAF.

Whilst with No. 42 Squadron, A24-88 took part in mining operations against the Japanese.

Consolidated PBY-5A(M) Catalin

After the war A24-88 was sold off and stripped for parts, with the fuselage ending up as a houseboat on the Murray River near Echuca, Victoria

(Moorabbin Air Museum, Pacific Wrecks,

New Zealand

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Lockheed 414 Hudson IIIA

Lockheed 414 Hudson IIIA; No. 414-6465 NZ2049; assigned to RNZAF No. 3 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron. NZ2049 saw action against the Japanese whilst based at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands from November 1942.

(Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre,

Salis Flying Museum Musée Volant Salis : Aviation Museum, First Flights, Events (

Corse Images The P-51 Mustang of the Isolella, the story of a crash at sea. (, The wreck of the B17 Cotton eyed Joe 2 Ajaccio (

A.R.A.S.M Crash at Sea – July 1944 (

American Air Museum in Britain 42-5769 | American Air Museum, 41-31576 | American Air Museum

B-17 Flying Fortress – The Queen of the Skies 42-5769 / Cotton Eyed Joe II | B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies (

Utah Beach Landing Museum Utah Beach (

Normandy American Heroes The Last Flight of the Dinah Might (

Merville Battery Museum The Museum • Batterie de Merville (

Overlord Museum Omaha Beach Homepage – Overlord Museum – Normandy 44 – Omaha Beach

Air Force Centre Museum, Dubendorf

B-17 Museum Utzenstorf B17 Museum Utzenstorf :: Schweiz

Aviation Museum Laatzen-Hannover Home (

Aeronautical Museum Belgrade Aeronautical Museum in Belgrade – Muzej vazduhoplovstva – Beograd (

Moorabbin Air Museum Moorabbin Air Museum – Home (, Consolidated PBY Catalina A24-88 – Moorabbin Air Museum (

Pacific Wrecks Pacific Wrecks – PBY Catalina Serial Number A24-88 Table of U.S. Airplane Factories in WW2 – Grumman, Curtiss-Wright, Bell, etc. (

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Aircraft Photo of NZ2049 | Lockheed 414 Hudson IIIA | New Zealand – Air Force | #590221

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Diving the Ghosts of Corsica Part I, Diving the Ghosts of Corsica Part II, Spits and Bits

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2 thoughts on “Survivors, Wrecks and Relics, Part I

    1. Hello Ian, I just checked out the Ulster Aviation Society webpage – looks like a fantastic collection and some great restorations!

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