Heaven Can Wait

42-31088, Heaven Can Wait, was one of the original Harvard planes, ferried to Rattlesden in late November 1943.  It flew only six combat missions with the 711th Squadron, each with a different crew.  

Photo taken in in late December 1943, or early 1944



Nose art detail on Heaven Can Wait


Combat Missions:

1 12/31/43   COGNAC Hudson
  01/16/44 A/C sent to 454th Sub Depot for repair of "extensive battle damage."
  03/01/44 A/C returned to Rattlesden from 454th Sub Depot
2 03/04/44 BERLIN - RECALL   Leach
3 03/06/44  BERLIN Huckins
4 03/18/44 MUNICH Donahue  
5 03/20/44 FRANKFURT Leigh
6 03/22/44 BERLIN Hughes
7 04/12/44 LEIPZIG (RECALL) King (crashed on take off)

On the morning of April 12, 1944 Lt. Phillip King's crew took off on a mission to Leipzig (which was recalled before crossing the North Sea).  King experienced difficulties keeping the aircraft in the air, and it crashed approximately two miles from the runway.  Three members of the crew survived.  The exact cause of the accident remains in dispute.  Officially, a collision with "an object other than aircraft" (a tree) was determined to be the cause.  Other factors may have played a part, including mechanical defects, maintenance problems, and possibly even sabotage. 

Those on board Heaven Can Wait on April 12, 1944:

Pilot Lt. Phillip King
Co-pilot Lt. John F. Dillon
Navigator Lt. Clarence V. Anderson
Bombardier Lt. John M. Pruner
Engineer Sgt. William Harrison
Radio Sgt. Lloyd Boltz
Waist Gunner Sgt. Duncan Campbell
Waist Gunner Sgt. Donald Granger
Ball Turret Gunner Sgt. John Burek
Tail Gunner Sgt. Carl Reitzel