November 19, 2008

Life Is Good. Pappy's Pram


Another awesome find from the freshly digitized photo archives of Life magazine. This is a closeup from a 1943 portrait by Frank Scherschel of the crew of "Pappy's Pram," a B-26 Marauder bomber from the 322nd BG, which flew missions over Europe during WWII.

The Martin B-26 was rushed into production, and they were crashing up to 15 a month during early test flights. According to the commentary on this newsreel compilation on YouTube, the B-26 was known as "'The Flying Prostitute,' (because it had no visible means of support, referring to the small wings)..." Those crazy kids.

See the full shot of Pappy's Pram--including the rest of the crew--in the Life archive []


he photograph is especially interesting to me since my father, Bob Menzing Sr., painted the Pappy's Pram nose art and was a mechanic for this very plane. Dad often spoke of the B-26 and was sad that of all the War Birds that survived the war, there were few if any remaining flight-worthy B-26's. Dad retired to Arizona in the 80's. One afternoon, while sitting in his living room, dad heard a familiar sound. He quickly ran outside and looked towards the sky. Flying overhead with its distinctive drone and in all of it's majesty was a B-26 Marauder. Dad had tears in his eyes.

Thanks for posting the photo!

Great story, thanks for sharing it.

Bob that is an amazing story. I learnt to fly at Great Saling (Andrews Field) a couple of years ago, I believe the 322nd spent more time at that base than any other in the ETO. I'm currently researching your fathers nose art for a scale R/C B-26. Coming across your post was very touching.

Bob, I have been looking for more information about this nose art and plane everywhere but can't find much documentation. I too am thinking of building a large scale radio controlled Marauder, and this would be the nose art I would want to go with.

Do you have any better images of the artwork at all, or more info on the plane itself?

Gemma, have you found any more information? You aren't the Gemma on RC Groups are you? My nick is Gree.

My Dad flew several of his 65 missions in Pappy's Pram when stationed in Europe in 1944 as a member of the 450th Sqdn, 322 Bomb Group. The 322nd moved from Braintree to an airfield in Beauvais, France, approximately 30 miles north of Paris, where they flew a number of missions in support of General George Patton’s breakout and surge through France. The 322nd was the original B-26 group of eight B-26 groups in the 9th Air Force. Although hesitant to talk about the war for many years, he now enjoys speaking to many different organizations, including veteran's groups and schools.

By the way, the gentleman I speak of above is Lt. Richard Bailey. He would appreciate hearing from other members of the 322nd Group and/or the 450th Sqdn.

My father, Lt. Stephen J. Eady ( 322nd-450th)-(1923-1989), was a Bomb./Navigator on "Pappy's Pram". (see linked photos). Here is a link to an interesting site for the B-26.

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