Just a brief update from me. I have been provided with a copy of Joseph Leonard’s Logbook. Joe was a pilot and original member of 417th NFS. His radar operator was Ray Christensen. Both perished in May of 1944. The logbook was provided by Karen Seeman. Ray was Karen’s great-uncle. A PDF file of the logbook has been added to the Letters and Tributes page. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the entry for the logbook.
A friend of mine recently purchased a book entitled “Royal Air Force Burtonwood” because his fathered had served at Burtonwood. Included in the book was this photo of a P-61 at Burtonwood. There is some confusion over the plane’s serial number. The description indicates that the planes serial number is 239739, which would have been one of the places that eventually shipped to the 417th. However, upon closer look, it seems the serial number may actually be 239730, a plane that was shipped to the 317th in California. You decide!
The description reads:
“P-61 Northrup Black Widows lined up on E Site in 1944. The one nearest the camera is serial 239739. Powered by two Twin Wasp radial engines, this aircraft was a night fighter and usually found in this black colour scheme. 102 were processed by BADI between July 1943 and May 1945. Several were converted for clandestine “CarpetBagger” operations. The sign in the background reads “Supply Division – 1st BAD”, but the rest is indecipherable. Note the canvas on the hanger door behind to break up the line in the event of an enemy recce or attack, and the slipping grass spread over the curved roof of this Lamella type hanger.”
The photo was taken by Carl J. Winkleman.
A larger version has been placed under the gallery for the P-61 planes.