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Lt. Bud Jackson

386th Bomb Group, 554th Squadron (B-26 Marauder)

My father, Lt. Bud Jackson, served as a bombardier on a B-26 Marauder with the 386th Bomb Group, 554th Squadron at Boxted Airfield during the summer of 1943. Many of my father's missions took place aboard B-26s named Bud's Bung Hole and Bad Penny.

The following is an account from Larry C. Rodgers, who piloted

the B-26 Marauder 'Bad Penny' during its infamous crash landing

on the coast of France in June 1944. 

My father, Lt. Bud Jackson, is the bombardier

mentioned in this account:

"A bunch of years ago we had a reunion in Baltimore with other B-26 Groups which included my old group, the 386th. My squadron was the 554th. I was with the 386th from Feb 1943 until July 1944 and based at MacDill Lake Charles, Boxted (Colchester) and Great Dunmow (Little Easton Lodge). In the process, I completed 76 combat missions as pilot or co-pilot and then went back to the states before the group moved onto the continent.

You may recall that I did a TV bit with you in which I indicated having reached over 475 MPH and perhaps 500 in a dive on 22 June 1944. As you might surmise, not many people believed me and not much has ever been said about the statement. More recently, I have had time to think through the situation as it developed and think I can explain how and why it actually took place.

When I wrote the story "The Demise Of The Bad Penny" for our Crusader Book, I really had not tried to figure out How or Why, I just accepted it and thanked God for the recovery from the dive. In later years, I realized people really didn't believe it so I did some checking with some maintenance people and determined what probably happened. I remembered a puff of dust coming up from the flight deck just behind the Turbo Handles and that Flak particle hit the pilot in the wrist causing him to spurt blood all over the cockpit. We were flying in the #4 slot of the lead flight and were almost to the release point for the headquarters at Caen, France. The Flak was intense and at our elevation and tracking our line with about 100 yards in width, which didn't give us any effective evasive action.

The right engine acted as if it was hit from the instrument indications. I was able to hold into the formation, but then the other engine started acting peculiar. About this time my bombardier said

they had over shot the target (we later found that the lead bombardier was injured but we had not been advised so our bomb sight was not wired in to drop on the indices crossing). I thought I knew that I was about to lose both engine. The flak was so thick that I figured we needed to remove ourselves from the area. To do that rapidly, the best thing to do was Split S with a long down side. While going straight down I moved my seat back so the bombardier could get out of the nose to help the pilot. By the time I could get my seat back to position and applied back pressure, I could not budge the controls. I even put my feet on the instrument panel to get leverage but still couldn't budge the controls. When I looked at the airspeed indicator it was passing 475. At this point, I think God spoke to me and said to roll all the up elevator trim in as fast as you can. I did so and the airplane started to come out of the dive.

As we bottomed out near 350 Feet AGL, I realized the trim tab had to be rolled back out but we had gained back to 1000 Feet. Then I tested my throttles and found that they didn't work, except for the gauges, so I decided to look out the front and found we were coming up on the coast. Right in front of us were several Allied Barges and each one had a Barrage Balloon above our elevation. So I had to loft up over them and then turn and return toward Beaux, where I had seen an air strip under construction on our side of the front. 

As I made a down wind leg I realized that I was still running around 300 MPH. So with a thousand feet of altitude and half way down the runway, I cut the mixtures and waited until I had 275 MPH to put the wheels down and turned on to the base leg. As the airspeed reduced to 225 MPH, I put the Flaps down and turned on Final only to realize the Flaps were only down 1/4. I was high and hot and the forest was still on the far end of the runway. I decided to force the plane onto the ground and hope I could get it stopped before the tree line came up. As we hit the ground I realized it was soft dirt and the left main gear had flipped up through the wing and left us skidding into a ground loop.

I was so pleased with the sturdy bird that I had always wished for a photograph of the result. Then 49.5 years after the fact I received one. It seems an RAF Photographer came into a meeting place called "Buddies of the Ninth" and offered this picture to them. They had read the story and were able to get the picture to me through Skip Young. The picture was taken some time after the crash because the guns are gone and probably the bombs, but it looks just like I remembered it with the pilot hatches open. The weeds are up but it does not look like it was moved."

If you or your family have any information about my father's military service, please feel free to reach me through the contact page on this website. Thank you, Mike Jackson