Part 4: Finding the King Size

November 23rd 2017: We had a couple of discussions on the facebookgroup, invited more people in, renewed the contact with Planehunters Belgium, and Myra advised to contact and invite English Aviation Expert David Pratt. And so the group expanded in a few days. It was one of the Planehunters guys who advised me to contact one of his colleques, Steven Volckaerts. So I did.
Via the private chat I asked him if he knew about a B-24 that crashed in La Fosse. Steven responded directly. He was at his work, so could not check at once, but to my utter surprise he gave me a number: 42-50612 and the name of the pilot, 1st Lt. Raymond Price. I added this information in the group and via direct mail, David Pratt contacted me: he had a book about it. And within a few minutes, there it was: a picture of a page, that David took hastily with his phone and uploaded it.
There it was: our plane, the number and the crew! Crashed in La Fosse on december 25th 1944.

Yes, I was silence for a couple of minutes and started to understand that we finally had reached our goal.
I contacted Myra directly with the question if she could visit NARA and pulled some of the files. But….it was Thanksgving day. We had to wait till Monday.
The next day, I went to Victor, with the first documents, some pictures we had found and the MACR. Marco, Tom and Eveline where with me. Victor opened the door and was surprised I was not alone. We sat down and I told him that we had found the plane. His eyes widend and filled with tears. He could not believe it. I told him we would have a definite confirmation if Myra found some IDPF’s.

On that Monday, november 27th 2017, Myra came running out of NARA, texting on her phone, wich was filled with pictures of IDPF’s. We had it: a 100% confirmation that our plane was the 42-5012 “King Size”. 7 of the crew were killed, 2 returned home.
We started to look for family and within a few days, thanks to social media, we found relatives of Walter Eberly, John Tiedemann and… Peter F. Ferdinand, one of the two who survived the crash.

We had a great idea: we would make one final dig with the whole team on the crashsite. We invited everybody and to my surprise, Myra contacted me and said that a son and daughter of Peter Ferdinand wanted to come over and see the crashsite and help digging.

In the first week of March we had another deepseeker brought in: Two fine lads, Stephan and René from the Netherlands, scanned the whole terrain and pointed out some other spots that might be interesting. In the pouring rain, that lasted the whole day, Stephan walked his straight lines on the field. It looked as if he was hypnotized and only stopped for a quick smoke.
Meanwhile I was discussing with Victor to bring in a bigger crane, because we wanted to do it a final time. All these years we managed to keep the place secret, in order not to attrack so called “relicdiggers”, in wich we succeeded. But when we made the final dig, we knew the place would be known by others.
Because of my good contacts with the guys from Ardennes History Remember, I knew Philippe Dessaucy, who runs his own company. He offered to bring in a big crane with two guys. Victor asked his neighbour to bring his Bobcat,
Now we only had to wait for that big weekend.

To part V: The Last Dig

Bob has been researching the B-24 crashsite from june 2013 till november 2017. He runs a B&B in the hamlet of Grandmenil since 2008 and researches the events of the Battle of the Bulge.