"Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Phillip Lozano
On: 04/08/2002
I'm doing a diarama model for the family of Sgt. Allen Brown, who flew with the 401st as engineer and overhead turrent gunner on the B-17 "Heaven Can Wait." I know it flew with the 612th Bombardment Squadron of the 401st Bomb group operating out of Deenethorpe, U.K. in 1944, serial number 42-31087, squadron code SC-K, under the command of 2nd Lt. Gaston M. Fox.

On Mission 48 of the 401st Bomb Group/ 612th Bomb Squadron from Deenethorpe, U.K. to Brussels, April 10, 1944, “Heaven Can Wait” took flak, killing gunner Sgt. Brown immediately. Four crew members survived after ditching in the Channel and being captured by the Nazis. According to records it was the only B-17 lost on that mission; it was Sgt. Brown's 25th.

I have a single photo of the crew that I'm basing the model on, but what I can't tell from the photo is exactly what kind of B-17 it is; it looks to be painted with the olive-drab scheme, but I can't tell if its a B-17E, F or G type. Also, I have no idea what the nose art, if any, looked like.

Can anyone help with this?

Phillip Lozano

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Phillip Lozano
On: 04/12/2002
Just a minor correction ... In fact FOUR crewmembers died, and seven survived, including 2nd Lts. Fox and Leornard Mendelson, who survives to this day. The survivors were found by a German boat and they were taken captive, held in a Nazi POW camp for about a year.

By the way, thanks for the feedback, it's been tremendously helpful.

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Scott MCElvain
On: 04/23/2002
Will see if there are any more pictures of the plane.  HAve a resource with National Archive negative numbers that may help.

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Scott McElvain
On: 05/14/2002
42-31087 was Boche Buster.  Negative numbers C65448AC & 65467AC at the National Archives at College Park, Special Media Archives Division (NWCS), 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park MD, 20740-6001.  Write them specifying the group, squadron, pilot and negative number.  They will send xerox copies of the negatives and flyers from companies that can pull the negatives and make prints.  Heaven Can Wait isn't identified with a serial number but has two Archive negatives, 65454AC (J), and 65596 (AC)  I think AC might be for aircraft and J is jacket art.  

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Phillip Lozano
On: 05/16/2002
Ahh ... this name confusion I know about. A surviving crewmember, Lt. Leonard Mendelson, told the family of Allen Brown that some general renamed Heaven Can Wait Boche Buster, but the crew refused to fly with that name. As far as I know, it may be listed as Boche Buster in some records, but the "real" name (as it was painted on the nose) remained Heaven Can Wait.

Thanks for the media archives info.

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Erin Anderson
On: 08/26/2004
I have a picture of the plane from my great-uncle's memos from WWII.  He was a 1st LT with the 612th.  He flew "Heaven Can Wait", "Bonnie Donnie", and "Ice Cold Katy"... Let me know if you would like a copy of the picture.

I know you posted this awhile ago, so I hope I'm not too late.

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Patricia L. (Keith) Barker
On: 06/27/2006
My dad, Sr/SGT Buddy Noah Keith was a waist gunner on the Boche Buster 42-31087, 612th bonbardment group.  Boch Buster was the planes original name, the nick name was Heaven Can Wait.  After the Buster was decommissioned and then re-commissioned, the name was officially changed to Heaven Can Wait.  They flew 67 successive missions, with a totoal of 73 missions during WWII.  During an attack on Politz 10/7/1944, all of the crew of the Boche Buster was interned in Sweden.  

I do not know a lot about what my dad's war experiences were as he did not speak of them at all.  

This is my two cents.....

Thanks -- Patty Keith Barker

Re: "Heaven Can Wait" type, nose art

By: Vicki Richardson Tieri
On: 06/08/2007

You are the first person I have connected with who is a child of one of my dad's crew members.  I go on this site occasionally to see if I can find anyone--I see that your dad was a waist gunner.  This crew of the 612th Bomb Group was on its 74th mission when they went down after the Politz mission. My dad referred to the plane as Boche Buster.

T.K. Hill      Pilot
W. E. Schmedel Co-Pilot
T. S. Black    Navigator
J.W. Chadwick  Bombardier
V.H. Shewbert  Radio Operator
J.K. Mullins   Engineer
E.L. Helenbeck Ball Turret Gunner
O.G. RichardsonTail Gunner (my dad)
B.N.Keith      Waist Gunner

I have very copious notes of 17 missions that were flown by this crew written by T.K. Hill, the pilot.  My dad did fly a couple of missions with a "green" crew, that are not included in the list I have from Lt. Hill.   Email me your address and I will xerox them for you and send the hard copies--most of the pictures are xeroxes, so not very good quality.  My dad did not speak of his experiences either until after I had my children.  I even have a copy of the original article (in English and Swedish) that was run in a newspaper about the crash in Bredakra, Sweden.

Let me where I can send info that I have to you.  


Vicki Richardson Tieri