The Art of Chris French FGAvA

Professional Aviation and Military Artist

B-17 at Kimbolton

Boeing B-17 44-8198

B-17G #44-8198 of the 526th Bomb Squadron / 379th Bomb Group at USAAF Station 117 Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, UK in the Spring of 1945.

On the 10th May 1945 (just 2 days after VE Day), a group of B-17G Flying Fortresses from 379BG, took off from Kimbolton on what is believed to be an observation flight to give ground crews the opportunity to view the damage inflicted upon Germany during hostilities. The B-17s were flying in close formation climbing through 1,200ft, about to pass over Braintree, Essex when #44-8813 collided with #44-8198. The tail section of 8198 was severed from the main fuselage by 8813's propellers and was witnessed to “flutter to the ground”. It landed in a field at the end of Woolpack Lane, Braintree. The fuselage, fully loaded with fuel, ignited and fell in a spiral dive, disintegrating on impact with the ground. It landed in a garden near to a Franciscan convent, near Bradford Street, Bocking, half a mile from the tail wreckage. 8813, although damaged, was able to return to Kimbolton with no injuries to those on board. Different accounts of the mid-air collision vary slightly but with the same ultimate result.

A memorial to the 11 men who died in the crash was unveiled at Rivermead, Bocking, Braintree on 10 May 2015.

As I live in Braintree, this is a very local story for me. Oil on canvas.

Commissioned work. Sold

All images copyright Chris French FGAvA.

Professional Aviation and Military Artist

Boeing B-17 44-8198

The Art of

Chris French FGAvA

Professional Aviation and Military Artist

Boeing B-17 44-8198