Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Sole Survivor" and the Lady be Good

As a kid I read a book about the WW2 B24 bomber known as the Lady be Good that crashed in the Libyan desert after getting lost returning from a bombing raid on Italy.  The crew thought they were over the Mediterranean sea and bailed out when the fuel was gone but the plane had not only passed over the sea but also the base in occupied Lybia and proceeded deeper into the desert. The B24 was not able to be ditched in the ocean as the flimsy bomb bay doors would instantly collapse when hitting the water and the plane would sink like a rock.  Much better to bail out into the ocean.   It was night and undoubtedly to their surprise the crew landed in the desert and not the ocean.   The plane continued on without the crew and landed in the desert more or less intact with food, water, and survival equipment on board.  Unfortunately for the crew they perished as they walked for help, dying one after another. 

In 1959 some oil field surveyors stumbled upon the wreckage and investigated the crash site, eventually finding all but one of the crew's remains.  the story of the Lady be Good can be  found here:   The search for the crew of the Lady be Good is a testament to the determination of the U.S. Air Force to account for its lost aviators.

In 1970 a movie very loosely based on the Lady be Good was shown on TV: "Sole Survivor".  I remember it well and tonight stumbled on it while viewing WW2 Army Air Force training films on You tube (it was a slow evening).   It seems that almost everything can be found on the internet!  The movie is really pretty good, especially for a made for TV movie and for your viewing pleasure I have linked it here for you to watch.  It has William Shatner post Star Trek and Richard Basehart, scenery chewer extraordinaire and formerly admiral of the U.S.S. Seaview.  A great show and worth your time some slow evening.


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