FLYING FORTRESS B-17 SALLY B

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber 'Sally B' above Belfast Photo: © Michael Fisher

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber ‘Sally B’ above Belfast Photo: © Michael Fisher

After yesterday’s article about the Star Spangled Banner, it is appropriate to continue the American theme. This afternoon in the sky above Belfast you could hear and then see a reminder of the United States role in World War II.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber 'Sally B' above Belfast Photo: © Michael Fisher

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber ‘Sally B’ above Belfast Photo: © Michael Fisher

A restored Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of the type used by the US Air Force in raids on Germany performed a number of flypasts to coincide with the end of a ceremony at the former American military cemetery at Lisnabreeny in the Castlereagh hills, close to Lagan College.

NI First Minister Peter Robinson lays a wreath at the Lisnabreeny memorial Photo: © Michael Fisher

NI First Minister Peter Robinson at the Lisnabreeny memorial Photo: © Michael Fisher

I will write more about the remembrance service tomorrow. It was attended by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson MLA. He laid a wreath at the memorial that carries the names of 148 US Army Air Force, US Army and US Navy servicemen who died in Northern Ireland while in training for deployment to the battlefield. This field had served as an American military cemetery until 1948, when the remains of those interred were repatriated.

WWII US jeep at the ceremony at Lisnabreeny Photo: © Michael Fisher

WWII US jeep at the ceremony at Lisnabreeny Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Flying Fortress is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe and is based at Duxford in England. It takes part regularly in air shows, commemorative events and memorial flypasts such as today in Belfast. The plane passed over low a couple of times and then headed southwards towards Dublin. It landed at the Irish Army Air Corps base at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel and tomorrow it will take part in the Flightfest display over the River Liffey around 3:45pm. To make a donation to help keep the B-17 flying please click here.

Birds of a feather... Photo: © Michael Fisher

Birds of a feather… Photo: © Michael Fisher

The B-17 was critical to the USAAF daylight precision bombing campaign and was armed with 13 machine guns, hence the name “Flying Fortress”. Flying in formation, the bombers battled through German defences in daylight raids, suffering heavy casualties until the addition of long-range escort fighters, the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang, and the introduction of the 25-mission limit.

Salute by a member of 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment Band RLC  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Salute by member of 152 (Ulster) Transport Regt Band RLC Photo: © Michael Fisher

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3 thoughts on “FLYING FORTRESS B-17 SALLY B

  1. Good blog, its worth noting that the Lisnabreeny cemetery site was given over for use to the US authorities by the National Trust in late 1942 and that the Trust refused to accept any rent as a gesture of goodwill.

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