Robert Hughes' crew had named and flown another Fort across to England in June 1943 and, like so many others, were separated from the plane upon their arrival in the ETO. At Thorpe Abbotts, they soon commissioned Frank Stevens to paint their newly assigned ship with a similar title. Stevens added a shapely nude wearing only a top hat and perched her on top of a huge bomb.
"Nine Little Yanks..." flew its first mission on 17th July 1943 to Hamburg and the Hughes crew flew most of their missions in the plane until 24th January 1944. Then, with 28 missions accrued, another crew took the ship for a practice flight and upon their return the main undercarriage collapsed. Although not apparently severely damaged, the airplane's skin and frame had been buckled and inspectors declared the Fort beyond repair.
© Ray Bowden 28 February 2024