We would like to honor Ann Haywood Gordon, better known at the time as Haybag Annie, who was an English Red Cross worker at Great Ashfield. She was the artist who painted the nose art on most of the B-17 Bombers depicted on this site. She painted her self-portrait on #42-97280 and appropriately named it, “Haybag Annie”.
Lt. Colonel Eddie Deerfield
We would also like to honor retired Lt. Colonel, Eddie Deerfield who was kind enough to send actual photographs of his Goldfish membership card and Goldfish arm patch for use in the book. Lt. Col. Deerfield had the plesaure of ditching on his sixth mission. He also qualified as a member of the Caterpillar Club for a bailout on what would have been his 14th mission.
Source: Lt. Colonel Eddie Deerfield, Retired and the 303rd Bomb Group
T/Sgt. Eddie Deerfield, 360th Squadron radio operator, survived a carash in the North Sea in Upstairs Maid on his 6th mission; an emergency landing at RAF Manston in flak-riddled Iza Vailable (shown in the photo) on his 11th mission; a bail-out from flaming Lady Luck on what would have been his 14th mission (recalled); a crash at Molesworth on the return from his 20th mission, when the tailwheel on Miss Liberty collapsed on landing; and a flak wound which narrowly missed his left eye on his 30th and last mission on 11 May 1944 on Temptress. “Like Shakespeare said,” he told the flight surgeon that night in Molesworth Station Hospital, “Alls well that ends well,”
Source: The following story is from “Might in Flight” published in 1993 by the 303rd Bomb Group Association, Inc.
The Caterpillar Club is reserved for people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft. Once the parachute maker confirms the details of the bail out, applicants receive a membership certificate and a distinctive lapel pin.
The club was founded by Leslie Irvin of the Irvin Airchute Company of Canada in 1922. The name recognizes the silk worm that the thread was taken in making the original parachutes. Others have associated the name with the act of baling out that is similar to a caterpillar letting itself down to earth by a silken thread. Still another reference of the name is to the caterpillar climbing out of their cocoons to escape.
Membership in the Goldfish Club was reserved for the elite group of airmen who survived a ditching at sea. The club was formed in 1942 by C. A. Robertson, the Chief Draftsman at the United Kingdom's PB Cow & Co., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of air-sea rescue equipment. Mr. Roberston heard firsthand the various stories about airmen who had benn involved in a ditching. He decided to honor all airmen who owed their lives to their life jacket, dinghy, etc.
On the Goldfish Club emblem, gold stood for the value of life and fish for the water. Eligible members were presented with a heat-sealed waterproof membership card and an embroidered badge for their flight jackets.