Wednesday, March 15, 2017

One B-17 was bought and paid for by the astonishing fund raising efforts of high schoolers, the boys vocational school, Lane Tech of Chicago

The plane was bought after thousands of Lane Tech students — all boys at the time — raised $300,000 over a six-month period that ended in March 1943. The plane was the only World War II bomber that had been paid for by high school students in America, the Chicago Tribune said in 1983

Frequently plane names were changed by pilots during wartime, and "Lane Tech" was ultimately dubbed "Wacky Woody." which has been confirmed after matching its serial number "B-17G - #42-39856."

The Wacky Woody flew eight missions, including in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, before it was shot down

Ted Szalinski was a student at Lane Tech and never forgot the B17, he even saw it at the Chicago Municipal Airport — which would become Midway — in 1943, as a 15-year-old.  He become an art teacher at his alma mater and started researching the plane's history in the 1970s.

The location of the B17 was discovered by Teunis Schuurman, a Dutchman and volunteer World War II researcher who has spent the last 11 years documenting what happened to Allied warplanes that crashed in a 50-by-50-mile area around his hometown of Vollenhove in the Netherlands.

Schuurman learned that Wacky Woody and its crew crashed in 1944, when it was shot down by Nazis near the Dutch town of Emmeloord. Five of the crew members escaped or "evaded" after the crash, while five others were taken as prisoners of war. All 10 survived and eventually returned to the United States.

Schuurman has documented what happened to 316 planes during World War II

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