B-17 Fortresses of the “Bloody Hundredth”- the Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group – return to Thorpe Abbotts following a raid on enemy oil refineries, September 11, 1944. Nicolas Trudgian’s moving tribute to the Bloody Hundredth shows the imaginatively named B-17, Heaven Can Wait, on final approach to Thorpe Abbotts after the intense battle on September 11, 1944.
Skillfully piloted by Harry Hempy, the seriously damaged B-17G has struggled 500 miles home on two engines to make it back to England. They lost their tail gunner that fateful day. Below the descending bomber stream, an agricultural traction engine peacefully plows the wheat stubble in preparation for next year’s vital crop, the farm workers oblivious to the unimaginable traumas so recently experienced by the crews of the returning B-17 Fortresses.
Every individually numbered copy of ‘Heaven Can Wait’ has been signed by artist Nicolas Trudgian, together with FOUR pilots and crew who flew with the 100th Bomb Group in Europe during World War II.
Lieutenant Colonel HENRY “HANK” CERVANTES
Captain HARRY M. HEMPY
Staff Sergeant JOSEPH “JOE” KEENAN
Technical Sergeant JAMES MACK