Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Athenry, Galway, January 15th, 1943
Of all the survivable landings of foreign aircraft that
occurred in neutral Ireland during the Second World War, perhaps
the best known about is the landing of the aircraft commonly
referred to as 'Stinky".
This was the nose art at one time painted on the nose of Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-9045. And this was the aircraft that on January 15th 1943 was forced to make an emergency landing on the grounds of the Agricultural College in Athenry, Co. Galway.
On board the aircraft were fifteen American service personnel
and one British pilot of the Royal Air Force.
Much had been written about, and indeed continues to the
written about, the event, due to the fact that six of those on
board were passengers and were as it turns out high ranking US
The 60th anniversary of that forced landing was marked by the
US Ambassador to Ireland, Mr James C Kenny, at Mellows College
in Athenry on Saturday, December 6th, 2003 when he recalled the
local response to the emergency.
Local man Paul Browne has written a great deal on the subject
and has a large website dealing with the landing, the higher
ranking officers and the subsequent memorials and events.
His website can be viewed here by clicking on the link below.
The purpose of this page is to describe the wartime careers of
the nine American crew members and the British passenger.
There is a little difficulty in identifying the men as the Irish
Army only recorded them by surname and with initials in most
cases. Laurence E Dennis and Johnnie J Tucker both signed
their names in full on the autograph notebook of local student
Paddy Cloonan. The careers of the other higher ranking American
passengers can be found on the Paul Browne website linked
above. Some of the enlisted men and probably the officers
can be seen in this photo which was taken on the day of the
landing in Athenry.
From left of the photo, the first man is a local man, possibly
of the Local Defence Forces (LDF). The next man has been
identified by his family as Sgt John W Tippen. Next to him
is Laurence E Dennis with the white area on his jacket, probably
a unit badge. Laurence Dennis then in his estimation and
recollection in 2010 stated he thought those in the photo were:
"L-R Unidentified Irish man, McLaughlin, Dennis, ??, lady, ?? , Parrish, Hulings, ??. He's thinking two of the unidentified men are Harris and Collins and perhaps the third unidentified man is another Irishman.
Larry says during those days he often would mix up Tucker and Harris, so he's not certain of their identity in the picture. He figures the navigator (Collins) is probably in the picture, but he doesn't know which one. That was the only trip he made with Collins."
The daughter of Maurice Harris provided this photo, a better
copy of which hopefully can be scanned in due course, which
shows probably six enlisted men. Maurice Harris is the man
kneeling on the lower right of the photo. The crew which
flew the aircraft too Ireland is said to have left behind four
other crew men due to lack of space. The waist gun
positions at left and right were decommissioned, and in photos
from Athenry, these can be seen to have panels over with small
windows. It is also suggested that the ball turret on the
lower fuselage had been removed. It would be expected then
to have had two officer pilots as well an enlisted man as
engineer, a role understood to have been done by Edward D
Parrish. Laurence Dennis was the Radio Operator. At
least two men would have manned the upper and tail turrets.
The Americans forming the crew were:
Capt. Thomas M HULINGS O-437980 - PILOT
Born on May 5 1920 in Redcliffe to Arthur F and Amy J Hulings (nee Work). Thomas registered for the draft in Marienville, Forest, PA and was an engineering student at the time of the draft, working for the Marienville Glass Co. He enlisted in July 1941 as aviation cadet, serial number 13037589 and was later commissioned as officer O-437980.
His local newspapers reported on his wartime career
Warren Times Mirror on Feb 28, 1942 reported his having accepted his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He is mentioned in the book "Grey Ghost" as having flown a bomber to England as one of the first members of the 407th Bomb Squadron in late August 1942.
The Oil City Derrick on May 20, 1943 reported on his having been the judge of a model aircraft competition for English boys. His obituary in 1998 mentioned that on his first mission enemy action severely wounded five of his crew and his plane had more than 2000 holes an incident featured in Ripley's 'Believe It or Not'. This mission it is believed was the October 9th, 1942 raid on Lillle, France. Lt Hulings was flying that day as the Co-pilot to Captain James J Griffith Jr, when their aircraft received severe flak damage. The story of the crew was used by the USAAF as the basis for a widely printed newspaper release. While Lt Hulings name is not mentioned in this widely publicized experience, the pilots son was able to recount his fathers war time missions.
The Oil City Derrick on Nov 4th, 1943 reported that he had informed his parents that he was staying on in Europe with Bomber Command for further duties, having previously said he would return to the US.
Many Pennsylvania papers then on November 26th 1943 carried
reports of his completion of his first tour of duty.
He rose to the rank of Major during the war and later served as commander of the 368th Bomb Squadron in the 306th Bomb Group from October 1944. There he completed another 14 missions following on from his 25 with the 92nd Bomb Group earlier in the war. He then moved onto the British built Mosquito twin engine aircraft flying recon missions with the 25th Bomb Group.
His veterans compensation form in 1950 states he was overseas
from August 24, 1942 to November 17, 1945. His parents
were deceased at that time and he was married to
Katherine. He had married on October 24, 1944, to Captain
Katherine Young, Commanding Officer of the 8th Air Force
Headquarters WAG Detachment.
He later flew 14 missions with the 306 Bomb Group, then flew Mosquito Recon with the 25th Bomb Group. After hostilities ceased he participated in the Casey Jones mapping project On October 24, 1944, Major Hulings married Captain Katherine Young, Commanding Officer of the 8th Air Force Headquarters WAG Detachment.
After the war, he worked for Dupont in technical sales for 12 years and for Hercules Powder Company for 23 years before retiring in 1985. Mr. Hulings was active in the Georgia Chapter 8th Air Force Historical Society, Silver Wings, and the Middle Georgia Soaring Association. He was an avid photographer. He passed away on the 8 July 1998 in Georgia and was laid to rest in the Cemetery in Provincetown, MASS.
2/Lt J. Kemp MCLAUGHLIN CO-PILOT O-789398
James Kemp McLaughlin is, in 2018, the last remaining surviving member of this crew.
He published his wartime memories in his book, "The Mighty Eighth in WWII: A Memoir" published first in 2000 and included a chapter that told of the his impromptu visit to Ireland.
The following extract from the 92nd's records mentions the then
Major McLaughlin. 1944: 31 Officers and 40 enlisted men
completed tours of duty. On April 19, Major Julian R.
Thornton, Jr., Group Bombardier, and Major James K. McLaughlin,
Asst. Group Operations, after having completed their initial
operational tours, left on 30 day leave.
Destination: USA. Upon their return, they will begin
an additional tour.
2/Lt Clyde B COLLINS
This member of the crew was recorded by the Irish army only by rank, initials and surname and by his position of navigator in the crew. Lt C B Collins. Kemp McLaughlin mentions him as Clyde B Collins and also that he had been bunk mate of his during their pilot training. Based on this, and the enlistment in 1941 below of a Clyde B Collins from Kentucky, the following bio has been created with the help of his family.
Born in 1915 to Willard and Cora Collins, nee Bentley.
Very little information found in newspapers or records.
He enlisted in September 1941 at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky
as a cadet. He is listed as a sales person upon
enlistment. His local newspaper reported on this wartime
activities during 1941 thru 1943. The Cinncinnati Enquirer
on August 24th, 1941, lists him among a list of airmen cadets
being posted to the Cadet replacement Center at Maxwell
Field, Alabama for training.
In September 1941 the Mountain Eagle paper reported on him as
"Clyde B Collins Goes Into Training At Maxwell field.
Army Aviation Cadet Clyde B Collins, son of Mrs Cora Collins, 371 Woodland Ave., Lexington, Ky., has started pre-flight training at the Initial Training School, Maxwell Field, Ala., it was announced last week at Fifth Corps Area Headquarters, Fort Hayes, at Columbus, Ohio.
Enlisted at Fort Thomas, Ky. Collins will spend one month at Maxwell Field with others of the October Aviation Cadet class before transferring to a primary pilot school. The pre-flight course is designed to equip cadets with fundamental schooling in military and scholastic subjects thus giving them more time for actual flying at air schools.
Collins was graduated from Whitesburg High School, at Whitesburg, Ky., and attended Georgetown College and the University--' of Kentucky. He has been associated with the D. J. Davis Co., Lexington.
Army Aviation Cadet scholarships, worth $25,000 each, are awarded to'sirigle men at least 20 years old and not yet 27, who are physically and educationally qualified. More than 325 of these scholarships are awarded each month to eligibles in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia."
On 2nd July 1942, the Mountain Eagle was reporting on his wedding:
"The wedding of Miss Susan Baker Stivers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stivers, to Lieut. Clyde Bruce Collins, son of Mrs. Cora Collins of Lexington, was solemnized at 10 p. m. Saturday, June 20 at the home of the Rev. Claud T. Ammerman at Sarasota, Fla. The home was beautifully decorated with ferns and a profusion of garden flowers.
The bride was becomingly attired in a sheer "white dress with white accessories and a shoulder bouquet of pink rosebuds.
The attendants were Lieutenant and Mrs. Richard G. White, Jr., and Lieutenant and Mrs. C. W. Knops.
Miss Stivers attended Henry Clay high school in Lexington and Lieutenant Collins attended the University of Kentucky.
The couple will reside in Springfield, Mass., where Lieutenant Collins is now stationed.
Note - Mr. Collins who is well known here is a grandson of Uncle Elberson Bentley of He is a graduate of the Whitesburg High School."
The last mention of him found so far was this from early
"Clyde B. Collins of Lexington, who is now an instructor in navigation with the United States Army Air Forces stationed in Ireland has been promoted from first lieutenant
to Captain. Captain Collins has been In the air forces two years and and overseas 13 months. He has taken part ln several raid over enermy country."
In 1937, directory for Lexington appear to have him working as a clerk at the McAdams and Morford chemical company. The 1940’s census has him living at home with his widowed mother Cora and sisters Jean and Bernice. Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s Lexington Kentucky directories list him and wife Susan living in the city, with Cora his mother also living nearby. Employed by the Lex Signal Depot.
Clyde passed away on 9th December 1968 in Fayette. His
headstone is marked as Lt Col, Clyde B Collins, with service
attributed to WW2 only. He had remained in the Air Force
reserve post war raising to the rank shown on his
gravestone. The photo below shows him standing next to a
Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar transport of the US Air Force.
Sgt Lorin E BLANCHARD Jr. 16048807
Lorin was born 16 Mar 1914 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Lorin and Ruby Blanchard. In 1940, he is living with his widowed father in Milwaukee, and working as a clerk in a Life Insurance company.
He enlisted in January 1942 into the Army Air Corps. He is belived to the the airman widely published in American newspapers as "S E Blanchard" in November 1942, in a newstory about the 9th October 1942 raid on Lille. The article can be seen above in Thomas Hulings bio.
After his return to combat he was awarded the Air Medal and listed in the June 1943 copy of Air Force News.
He married Jane Baynard Martin in 1948 but the marriage broke
up and Lorin moved to Detroit, Michigan where he died 30 Nov
1980. He lived for many years on a houseboat
in the Detroit River and never remarried.
Sgt Johnnie J TUCKER 14068147
Born in North Carolina in 29 Apr 1919 to Hallie V and Joseph C Tucker. Full name, Johnnie Joe TUCKER
During the war, he next of kin was his wife, Edith M Tucker (nee Munford), living at 514 Carr St, Durham.
He enlisted in January 1942 at Fort Bragg and at that time was married and working as a salesman.
He was shot down on 14 May 1943 flying on B-17F 42-30003 under 1/Lt Lowell W Walker. They were part of the raiding group to the U-Boat pens in Kiel, Germany. Records for the loss are poorly recorded, other than 407th Bomb Squadron/92nd Bomb Group records state: "The ship was last seen circling down under control toward Amrum Island with one engine out and a stabilizer shot off."
News paper reports of his internment in June 1943 recorded his
address as 909 Virgie St, West Durham.
Johnnie spend the remains of the war as a POW in Germany and after his release, arrived back in New York on the SS Monticello 3 Jun 1945. On that shipping manifest his address is given as 810 Vickers Ave, Durham, N.C.
Passed away 28 December 1978 in Durham, NC. Buried Liberty Christian Church Cemetery, Epsom, Vance County, North Carolina. His wife died in 15 Mar 1998.
Sgt John W TIPPEN 14033646
John was born 1921 in
Birmingham, Alabama, to Mabel and John Tippen.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1940 aged 19 and his service continued through until September 1945. During the time he appears to have remained within the 92nd Bomb Group, moving between Squadrons during 1944.
He had arrived back in the US at the port of New York on the
19th of July 1945 on the SS Aquitania. On the manifest for
the arrival, he is recorded as having a Military Occupation
Speciality (MOS) of 911, which indicated Aircraft
Armourer. He had married in June 1942 in Florida and in
1945 was living at 1248, 15th St, South West Birmingham.
It was only upon he arrival back home that he was required to
register for the draft and he did so again in Birmingham,
Alabama in September 1945. He listed himself as
He passed away on 6 Jan 2003 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama.
Sgt Maurice L. HARRIS 15084594
The identity of the airman recorded by the Irish army simply as
"Sgt L Harris". McLaughlin in his book does record him as
Maurice L Harris. His daughter was able to say in 2011
that he had kept various newspaper cuttings dated in November
1942, recording his air medal award. Based on this
information it was determined that he was the airman described
Born on Dec 27 1918 in Indiana to Arthur and Harriet (Nee
Thornberry) in Vigo County, Indiana. Arthur, his father
died in January 1924 in a rail road accident and his mother
remarried Grover Stephens. He in 1940 is found on the
census, XXXX. His enlistment was on 5th January 1942 in
Fort Benjamin and was into the Army Air Corps, at that time
getting the Army Serial Number 15084594 . In November
1942, American newspapers reported on his award of the Air Medal
for gallantry in action. At that time his address is given
as Rural Route 2, Shelburn. Among the information in the
newspaper clippings are that he had enlisted in December 1941
and had departed for his training base on January 3rd,
1942. His army serial number was recorded on some of his
surviving documentation, and he also that he was a rear gunner
and had flown at least 25 combat missions. He had also
kept a group of ten postcards of Algiers.
Maurice passed away on 19 March 1969. He is buried
alongside his widow, Elizabeth L Harris, who died in 2000.
Sadly, his family were unwilling to provide a photo for the
T/Sgt Edward D. PARRISH
With no serial number recorded, this mans name was recorded by the Irish Army as E D Parrish or Edward D Parrish. Review of family history sources suggest that he is most likely this 1922 born airman from Georgia.
Edward Daniel Parrish was born on 11 Nov 1922 to Joseph and XXX
in XXX, Georgia. He was also a prewar enlistee, having
joined the colors in January 1941.
His record on the BIRLS database on ancestry.com indicated that
he was released from the service in March 1943.
He passed away in Union County, Florida on 13 March 1982.
T/Sgt Laurence E. DENNIS Jr 36048962 POW
This airmans name is confirmed as being aboard the aircraft
from his own testimony later in life.
Laurence was born in 1928, the son of Laurence Sr. and Alice (Harrison) Dennis. He graduated from Farmington Community High School in the class of 1936.
He was like the other crew members posted to the 92nd Bomb Group.
He was the radio operator on aircraft when it landed in Galway. Laurence in his recollections in later years remembered General Devers being on the flight. In his own words: Most of the time he rode in the nose and bothered the navigator. But he came back to the radio room and asked if I had contacted anyone yet? I told him "no"—his answer. "What the G__ D__ hell kind of radio operator are you??!!" I offered him the headphones but he wouldn't listen—went back up front. I figured it was a bit unusual for an Air Corp radio operator to have his butt chewed out by a Tank Corp general, so I've never forgotten it. We had nothing but rain and fog for 4 or 5 hours on that trip. Static was terrible.
He recalled also in the 1990’s that after the landing, the local school master brought the whole group of children to see the aircraft and the crew were able to share with them a carton of oranges they had in the aircraft.
After the stint flying between North Africa and the UK, he returned to combat duties in April 1943 with the 92nd Bomb Group. He and his crew were forced to ditch their B-17 in the English Channel on the 6th of September 1943. He was forced to bailout over Norway on the 16th of November 1943 when the 407th Bomb Squadron aircraft he was crew on, began the suffer technical problems, his 23rd mission and was a POW for 18 months at Stalag 17B.
Laurence passed away 9 Dec 2015 in Peoria, Illinois in his 97th year.
In his book, The mighty Eight, J Kemp McLaughlin records that
the Radio Operator on 41-9045 when it landed in Ireland was
"Edward E Teaford". In the 92nd Bomb Group at this time
there was a S/Sgt Everett K Teaford who was later shot down and
taken prisoner with Johnny J Tucker in May 1943.
Sgt Reginald Charles BOLLAND 625196
The final name found to have been a passenger on the aircraft
is described by the Irish Army report variously as, "Sergt. R.
Boland, R.A.F." and Pilot-Sergt. R. Boland R.A.F." The
report filed by General Devers mentions him as follows: "A
British sergeant in the RAF who had been stationed at Malta
had been put on the plane (without authority) for
transportation to England."
J Kemp McLaughlin describes this man in his book published in 2000 as "One of our passengers was British Flying Sgt. R.C. Bolland, hitchhiking his way home from a three year tour as Spitfire pilot on Malta."
He was previously flying with 242 Squadron in the UK and is
listed along with two other pilots, Sgt Sullivan and Harrison,
as being posted overseas as of 3rd August 1942. In 242
Squadron he appears to have been mainly training.
He was one of the pilots who flew off HMS Furious on 11th
August 1942 in a Spitfire to reinforce the defense of the island
of Malta. His posting in to 185 Squadron is mentioned only
briefly in the ORB, in so much as three named officers and "four
Sergeant pilots report for full flying duties with the
His first apparent mission was on the evening of 25 August 1942, on a 10 aircraft patrol.
It would seem most likely that he was Reginald Charles Bolland
625196, a fighter pilot who went missing in October 1944 while
flying with 504 Squadron. The now Warrant Officer R C
Bolland was posted to 504 Squadron on the 1st of September, 1944
from 53 OTU. On the 13th September, he flew an escort
mission to Osnabruke. He flew an escort mission on September 17
supporting the airborne landing at Arnhem. He flew one
weather recon mission in Spitfire PL432 on the 18th September.
He flew a Ramrod mission escorting Halifax bombers to
Duisberg on 14th October with 11 other aircraft and pilots.
On 19th October 1944 W/O Bolland took off in Spitfire PL432 in
the morning at 07:30 hours on a weather Recce mission with F/O G
Strange. F/O Strange flew from the 504 Squadron base at
Manston, Kent to, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Orfordness and then back
to base. W/O Bolland however disappeared and is simply
recorded as F.T.R., failed to return.
The ORB summary recorded as follows:
WEATHER: cloudy with strong winds, improving towards evening. OPS. two early morning weather recce were flown by "A" flt. Yellow Sec. covered the area Ghent-Maastrect-XXXX, without incident. Red Sec. (FO Strange & W/O Bolland) covered the Rotterdam-Amsterdam area. On the return journey, when about 25 miles off Ijuiden, at 15-20,000' in heavy XXXX conditions, F/O Strange's R/T set was rendered u/s. It is thought that W/O Bolland's set was affected in the same way as he did not call up t say that he was in trouble.
His remains were never recovered and thus his name is recorded
on the Runnymede Memorial. The CWGC available records
don't list any next of kin. However, the surname spelling
being somewhat unique, compared to 'Boland', points towards a
man born in Fulham district, London in 1919 to a couple named
Edith Phyllis (nee Barnes) and Reginald Cass Bolland. His
father, Reginald Bolland, died in 1919 also. In
August 1930 his widowed mother was found to have married, in
Amsterdam, one Mathieu van den Abeelen. ONe witness to the
marriage was a James Patrick Power, a well know artist of his