B26 Marauder Collection
TELLING THE STORY OF THE MARAUDER MEN OF ESSEX.
Marauder B-26C-25-MO 41-35253 RJ-S “Mr. Shorty”
The Boxted Airfield Historical Group is honoured to have in their custody the largest surviving piece of a B-26 Marauder in the UK. It is on loan to our museum by kind permission of the Trustees of Marks Hall, which was the HQ of the 9th Air Force and the Operations Room for the 323rd Bomb Group to which it was allocated in Spring 1944.
The remains comprise the section of fuselage to the rear of the mid-upper gun turret, about 10 feet in length. It includes the couplings for the tail plane and fin and contains the power-assisted tail gun turret assembly and ammunition feeds.
Its story is one of survival. It ended the war with 96 combat missions, survived being broken up at RAF Burtonwood in June 1945 and a subsequent transfer to a scrap yard in Warrington where it was discovered and recovered in 1974. It then survived storage at the Imperial War Museum Duxford to be acquired by the Rebel Air Museum then operating at Andrewsfield airfield and subsequently at Earls Colne airfield. It survived that museums closure in 1997 and entered a period of storage until 2011.
This aircraft was assigned to the 454th Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group, and took part in the 323rd's last mission of the war to Erding Aerodrome on April 25, 1945. The aircraft was given several names over the years, including "Black Magic IV" and "Mr. Shorty" at various points of time. It's Battle number (painted on the side of the fuselage) was RJ-S. Its prime crew was captained by Lt. Dick Gray who named it “Mr. Shorty” after his first son. It is now the star attraction in our Marauder collection at our airfield museum.
We also have a growing number of interesting items in our collection of B-26 Marauder parts on display.
This is the most comprehensive display of Marauder items in the UK.
Further information on the history of the fuselage is available on this discussion forum thread.
Photograph of Dick Gray's crew taken on 8 April 1945 at Denain-Prouvy, France, before a mission against an oil refinery at Nienhagen, Germany.
1. Roy Bozych, Flight Engineer/ Dorsal turret gunner (56);
2. Dick Gray, Captain & Pilot (52);
3. Edward Nieusma, Co-pilot (25);
4. Elbert Carpenter, Togglier (51);
5. Paul Heneghan, Radio Operator / Gunner (35);
6. Russell McGuffey, Tail Gunner (53).
Numbers in brackets are missions completed.