View Full Version : B-24 "Lady Be Good"

01-22-2005, 05:43 AM
I posted this in the skinners forum, but i figured many of you who dont visit that forum might find this interesting as well...

I caught a great documentary on the History channel a little while ago about a "Rookie" crewed B-24 that disappeared during a bombing mission on Naples Harbor, Italy in April of 1943.

During its return home the crew evidently became lost, unknowingly proceeding over their base and ended up flying deep into the Libyan Desert where it consequently ran out of fuel and crashed.

The aircraft remained undiscovered until the 16th May 1958, when British surveyors for "BP" overflew the remarkably intact wreck of a B-24 deep inside the Libyan Desert.
US forces at Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli were informed of the discovery, but apparently little attention was paid, due to the fact that no US aircraft ever operated anywhere near the location of the indicated crashsite.
A second team of British prospectors overflew the crashsite again on the 15th of June the same year, only this time the RAF was contacted in the hope of having more "pull" in contacting the relevant US authorities to have the wreck investigated. But again, no interest was paid.

There again the wreck continued to sit until February of 1959.
The same British oil prospectors had sent a survey team in on the ground this time, and were not too far from the crashsite that had been plotted earlier. A decision was made to investigate the crashsite before they returned to there base of operations.

So after 16 years the Lady Be Good was finally rediscovered...in remarkably good condition, and relatively intact.
The prospectors collected a number of items from the crashsite that could prove without a doubt to the US authorities that it was indeed a USAAF wreck and warranted further investigation.

Four months later, in June of 1959 the US authorities finally organized an investigation of the site.
It was determined that the crew had bailed out once the aircraft ran out of fuel, with all but one surviving the jump.
The aircraft...pilotless...came down intact, only breaking its back!

It wasn€t until a second search team was sent, in the early 60's that the true fate of the crew became known.
Evidently, they had proceeded on foot and attempted to walk out, but headed in the wrong direction.
(Markers were found made of parachutes and harnesses indicating the direction they had set off in)
They survived for just over a week before the harsh elements of the Libyan Desert finally caught up with them. Without food or water and exposed to the heat of the sun,one by one they died.
A brief diary of what happened was found amongst the remains of one of the crew members.
Sorry I don€t remember the name of the doco http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

For more info and pictures, check out this site:


It€s quite a sad but interesting tale, and I thought that one of you talented guys might like to do a skin representing her, in memory of an unknown bomber crew that died during the Second World War.





Ill see what i can dig up and figure out the name of the doco. Knowing the History Channel..it will be repeated.

01-22-2005, 05:55 AM
Found it...

History's Mysteries - Ghost Plane of the Desert: "Lady Be Good."

Definitly worth watching if its repeated http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Some more pics






01-22-2005, 07:02 AM
They have shown the documentary about 'Lady Be Good' a couple of times in the UK.A very interesting and poignant story

01-22-2005, 07:25 AM
very interesting...thanks for posting.

Always love reading about the discoveries of some of these old 'wrecks'

01-22-2005, 07:32 AM
A tragic and compelling story

For those who didn't click the links, the Lady Be Good was following a radio beacon- but the nav gear doesn't tell the exact bearing- it tells TWO bearings, because the beacon goes in a line out from the source in a manner which dictates that if the beacon goes out at 180*, it also goes out at it's reciprocal- 0*

So instead of flying directly towards base, it flew directly away from it

I beleive it's a Spencer Tracy movie, that loosely draws on this story. I want to say the movie is "A Guy Named Joe". Very sad, actually.

Guys playing catch outside their wrecked B-24, with an old softball, and talking. And that's all they do...and all they CAN do. Until a jeep pulls up and takes all but one of them away. Track down the film to find out why http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

01-22-2005, 07:45 AM
I hope I am not poaching your thread.....

one of the sadest i ever read online is below http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif
I dont know why i kept the link, but i did, reading the text and his last words from his diary is one of the saddest things i have read http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif


01-22-2005, 07:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Taylortony:
I hope I am not poaching your thread.....

one of the sadest i ever read online is below http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif
I dont know why i kept the link, but i did, reading the text and his last words from his diary is one of the saddest things i have read http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

http://www.slaterweb.co.uk/hero.htm <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not at all TT, and thanks for the link mate.
Another story of a similar fate http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif
To think, survive the landing in the middle of no-where, then to be cut down by the barren terrain of mother nature.

Makes you wonder... just how many crews of all nationalities met a similar fate, and are they too just waiting to be discovered?

01-22-2005, 09:57 AM
Yes....... to die only 10 miles from water and not knowing it was there must be the cruelest fate of all and have the servicable aircraft but for the lack of fuel.... I often wonder if his Aircraft is still sitting out there waiting.. Airplane or flypast did an article on a Beafighter of hurri i think it was that suffered similar, i will try to dig it out, i think there was more than one and they drained the others so one could go look for help, It never did find it one of them died in agony after drinking some of the fluids on board the aircraft to try to alleviate his thirst http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

01-22-2005, 12:30 PM
"A Guy Named Joe" was a great movie but featured P-38s and a B-25 and a pilot (Tracy) who returns from death to coach fledging pilots. (was remade recently but was changed to borate bombers in peace time).

There was a "Twilight Zone" episode (1961?)called "King Nine Will Not Return" which starred Robert *******s as the pilot and only survivor of a B-25 crashed in the desert.

I do remember seeing a movie involving the crashed B-24 but I can recall neither title nor plot.

One would think that the real story would be plot enough.... but you know Hollywood.

01-22-2005, 09:51 PM
I wonder if anyone might do the skin for that B-24? I remember reading about it in Time magazine sometime in the early 60's.

01-22-2005, 10:40 PM
I saw the movie some years ago...was pretty neet!! I wonder if it will ever come on again.

01-22-2005, 11:53 PM
I was always facinated by the story of the lady be good ever since i heard about it for the first time .Everytime the show comes on the history channel i watch it so you can imagine how great it was for me to actually see a prop and some items from the lady be good when i visited the USAF museum in dayton ohio ,i have some pics somewhere i anyone is interested i will post them

01-23-2005, 01:01 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif When Lady Be Good was found... the Search Party found that the Radio still work perfectly.
That is how they made the call in about the wreck site.

01-23-2005, 10:19 AM
yep, seen this episode a hundred times, very unfortunate for the crew members. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

01-23-2005, 04:59 PM
There was a TV movie from 1970 called "Sole Survivor" (had to look it up!). The film was loosely based on the Lady be Good story.

I remember watching it as a kid and the plot was that the crew were trapped as ghosts at the wreck site and didn't realise they were dead. Then a USAAF investigation team turns up when the aircraft is discovered and is headed by the cowardly navigator that got lost and baled out, abandoning his chums to their fate.

Sounds tacky but I'd like to see it again http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif