Welcome to Lady Be Good.net
A repository for online information about WWIIs Ghost Bomber

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The purpose of this site is to provide a central repository for links, information, photos, maps, history, and recollections of and about the legendary "Lady Be Good - Ghost Bomber of WWII".

We apologize that progress on the site was halted in 2009-2010. This was due to other resposibilities, but we are very excited to now have the time resume building the site! We wish to thank the many people who've contacted us in the interim with pertinent information and details about the LBG and it's crew and apologize for the lengthy delay in completing the site. Work is now resuming on the Photo Archive and Crew Roster departments!

News Update: July 27th, 2011: The many wanderings of the Lady's remains....

The wreckage of the Lady Be Good (after a brief 2009 stay at the former El Adem airfield 16 miles to the south) is apparently now back in the Tobruk compound she was housed at since 2004. This move was likely made sometime in late 2009 or early 2010. The remains of the aircraft appear to now reside along the western wall of the compound rather than the northeast corner where she had previously rested for some years. We thank Muir T. Smith for taking the time to contact us recently to verify her current location.

Accordingly, we've updated our Google Earth Map file (now at Version 1.3) with the various locations of the LBG since her removal from the desert by the Libyan government in 1994. We've also added additional information (within the location icon text bubbles) and included new links to recent photos of her. Download it here: "Lady Be Good 1.3.kmz"

(You must have Google Earth installed to view this file. If you don't have GE installed you can download a free copy here, courtesy of Google).

What's online so far?...

1. "The Diaries" and the "Map Room" departments are complete.

2. The Map Room's "Flight Simulation Tests" report attempts to answer many of the nagging questions concerning the Lady's last flight. This is a "must read" for technical minded flight and aircraft enthusiasts.

3. If you have Google Earth installed, you can view the LBG KMZ Map (updated on 07/27/2011) which includes extensive LBG information imbedded into GE's 3D interface, and maps the crew's ordeal as well as the current and former locations of the LBG's remains.

4. We've resumed progress on the Photo Archive and Crew Roster departments and hope to have them online soon.

5. The remainder of the Navigation Bar links to the left currently link only to the home page until the departments are complete enough to activate.

The Lady Be Good - Ghost Bomber of WWII

The Lady Be Good:

Since her discovery deep in the Libyan desert in 1958/59, many thousands of people have been fascinated by the story of the ill-fated B-24D Liberator bomber named "Lady Be Good". In April of 1943, she had been reported missing in action during a routine bombing run from Libya to Italy. Not the slightest trace of the plane or her crew had ever been found. The mystery of what happened to her, and the ordeal of her nine crew members, commanded by 1st Lt. William J. Hatton, took many months and thousands of man hours to unravel and is one of the most engaging and haunting stories of WWII. More information about the details of this story may be found at the links at the bottom of this page.

Site Mission:

A Google search for "Lady Be Good" turns up quite a few hits concerning the aircraft and her lost crew. However, with a few notable exceptions, the online sources for photographs of the plane, her crew, and artifacts recovered by the people involved in her discovery and crew recovery efforts, are somewhat brief, lightly illustrated, and widely scattered in bits and pieces all over the internet. Various items pertinent to some part of the LGB story are often difficult or impossible to find. Some sites contain valuable bits of media or information not found elsewhere, each of which adds a piece to the LBG saga. Some of this information has also been inaccurately perpetuated about the web for some time.

Gathering up these disparate bits of media, or at least presenting a central place with information on where to attain them, and clarifying the many inaccuracies often found in print and web media concerning the LBG and her crew, is the intended purpose of this web site. To our knowledge, no single location (online or otherwise) has ever gathered all of the available public domain and/or private collections of LBG media into one place. Since visual media in greatly enhances an understanding of the story and adds much to the work done by Walker, McClendon, Martinez, and others (see book reviews below), it is our wish to bring as much of this material, and/or links to it, into one place so that those who have a new or ongoing fascination in the LBG saga can easily access it.

Site Dedication:

It is not the intention of this web site to elevate the status of the Lady Be Good's crew above the many tens of thousands of other servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country. The courage and sacrifice of those who have fought for and perished in defense of freedom will be honored in perpetuity. That said, then why have a web site completely devoted to an otherwise minor component of a very well documented war? Perhaps because the story sticks to the imagination and refuses to let go, in a way few others do. Even half a century after it's discovery in the desolate sands of the Sahara, the story of the "Fallen Lady" has somehow remained one of the most alluring and unforgettable tales of WWII. The mysteries that shrouded the aircraft's discovery were simply too provocative, and contained all the elements of an enduring legend: the stark image of an almost intact war bird with no sign of her missing crew, the area in which she was found being so woefully far off the beaten track that 15 years had passed without a single human having laid eyes on her, the slow unraveling and eventual heart rendering awareness of the crew's struggle to survive, and finally, the poignant diary entries found among their remains. But there is more to the story than that. It challenges us to measure ourselves, to question our own sensibilities, to appraise our courage in the face of as sudden and formidable challenge such as the one faced by the Lady's crew so long ago. The Lady's Men were, like so many others, simply ordinary human beings who were suddenly thrust into an extraordinary situation, and who, even in the face of a potentially fatal circumstance of their own doing, had to act as quickly and clearly as possible and think on their feet if they were save their lives. Though the tragic miscalculation that placed them in their predicament cannot, and should not, be minimized, what they did after the fact, in their struggle to somehow rectify their blunder, is an inspirational example of the unyielding tenaciousness and resilience of the human spirit. In the scope of what we now know to have been their unenviable predicament, hopelessly stranded in an uncompromisingly harsh environment, their attempt to save themselves was quite astonishing ...their endurance impressing even the most experienced desert survivalists.

Some may argue that their struggle to free themselves from the ironic self-miscalculation from which they suffered was more an act of desperate survivalism than an act of heroism; that there is a pretentiousness in magnifying their drama above or beyond the thousands of other stories of struggle and sacrifice from those who have died in battle rather from their own folly. This view is understandable and certainly not without merit. It's true that they were young, untested, and had never flown a mission before. This was their first, and it can be assumed they were just as excited and anxious about it as they were nervous and scared. But from the moment they took to the air that fateful Sunday afternoon, their measure of courage, their their hunger to serve, their willingness to fight and perhaps die for their country, could never be questioned. Though their inexperience may have doomed their fate, there is very little to indicate or suggest that they acted in anything less than the finest traditions of military protocol, self discipline, and even when faced with death, human civility. And, to be certain, there is a reasonable amount of convincing evidence that this was in fact more likely the case than not. In this then, there is much to honor and admire about these men. Heroic or not, they were nothing less than equal in caliber to their brethren in arms.

The haunting canvas of their story is no better punctuated than in epilogue. In the post-discovery era many persons, through a great deal of hard work and unshakable determination, in the noblest tradition of the United States Armed Services, dedicated themselves to finding and recovering the crew's remains. In an unprecedented attempt to repatriate the lost airman, and bring closure to their families, eight of the nine crew members were eventually located in the immeasurably vast waste of the Libyan desert, and then, at long last, with the traditional accolades and honor assigned to fallen veterans of war, were carefully and respectfully returned back home to their final resting places. To this day, somewhere in the vast ocean of sand that comprises Libya's Calanscio sand sea, Staff Sgt. Vernon L. Moore's remains still await discovery. The Lady has always been reluctant to surrender her mysteries easily...and to this one at least, she still holds tight. May Sgt. Moore and his fallen comrades forever rest in peace.

We humbly dedicate this site to the lost men of the Lady Be Good:

    Pictured Left to Right:

    1st Lieutenant William J. Hatton, Pilot
    2d Lieutenant Robert F. Toner, Copilot
    2d Lieutenant Dp Hays, Navigator
    2d Lieutenant John S. Woravka, Bombardier
    Technical Sergeant Harold J. Ripslinger, Flight Engineer
    Technical Sergeant Robert E. LaMotte, Radio Operator
    Staff Sergeant Guy E. Shelley, Gunner & Assistant Flight Engineer
    Staff Sergeant Vernon L. Moore, Gunner & Assistant Radio Operator
    Staff Sergeant Samuel E. Adams, Gunner

We wish to welcome all persons who are interested in the Lady Be Good, contributed to discovering her, have written about her, and have either touched or have been touched by her story and the story of the men who flew her on her last fateful flight on Sunday, April 4th, 1943.

Calling All Persons...

Many pertinent pieces of media concerning LBG have never been published or released. Therefore we would especially like to encourage persons who have had first hand experience with the LBG story who may possess unpublished photographs or recollections they would like to share with the general public, to allow us to post them here as well. Generations of LBG fans will be forever grateful. (See webmaster link below for contact information).

Published Material:

The LBG has been featured in many dozens, if not hundreds, of magazine and WWII publications over the years, and a complete list of these is exhaustive. Overall however, there are three traditionally popular book length accounts of the LGB story in print, including the first listed here, an excellent treatment of the story by the 376th Bomb group historian James W. Walker:

"The Liberandos - A World War II history of the 376th Bomb Group
and its Founding Units
" by James W. Walker

In this excellent and highly recommended book, James W. Walker chronicles the history of the US. Army Air Corps' 376th heavy bomber group, from its origins in early 1942 until its deactivation from combat service in April 1945. A special section of more than sixty pages is devoted to the LBG saga and contains authoritatively researched and accurate information about LBG and her crew. Here is an excerpt concerning the discovery of the crew's remains and Robert Toner's diary:

" The degree of preservation of the five bodies was a surprise to even the experienced Mortuary investigators. Sterile surroundings had precluded disturbance of the remains by animals or insects. The normally stable gravel surface at the last camp of the men had been lightly disturbed by their final movements allowing the underlying fine sand to drift around the remains and erode exposed portions to skeletal form. Sand-covered areas of the bodies were preserved by mummification. During the course of examining the clothing scattered about the recovery site, Capt. Fuller made a dramatic discovery. In the pocket of a rolled up pair of flight coveralls with a leather name tag embossed "Lt. R.F. Toner," he found a small reminder-type diary. The diary, perfectly preserved and belonging to the Lady Be Good copilot, answered many of the questions still surrounding the lost plane and crew."

This hefty 618 page hardcover volume was published in 1994 and is out now of print, but the 376th Heavy Bomb Group Veterans Association, has recently reprinted the book in limited release. As of April 14th, 2008 they still had about 170 in stock for $60.00 plus $6.50 for UPS shipping and handling according to Richard Miller at the 376 Book Fund Department. To order direct from the 376th HBGVA go to their website and look about halfway down the page for ordering information. It can also be purchased at a number of used booksellers on the internet, though it's rarity seems to have prices up to around $150.00, so if you're interested in owning a copy, the 376th HBGVA reprint is the way to go while copies last. This is a must have for LGB and B-24 enthusiasts.

"The Lady Be Good: Mystery Bomber of WWII"
by Dennis E. McCLendon (1962, republished in 1982):

This 1962 publication was the first full length book that was dedicated entirely to the LBG story. Well researched, rich in detail, and faithful to the spirit of the LGB crew and the investigators who unraveled her mystery, for over 30 years it remained the only detailed account of the LBG saga. Though there are a few facts in error concerning the location and coordinates in which some crew members remains were found, these are very minor components of an otherwise devotedly written and highly recommended book. Until Martinez and Walker published their books in the mid-90's this was the only in depth published chronicle of the story.

Like Martinez's book (see below), McClendon takes a few liberties in portraying the actions and thoughts of the crew, but he remains generally true to the behavioral "likelihood" of these events in a way that doesn't vastly violate the story as an historical manuscript. An example being the crew firing flares and calling out to each other after bail-out to rally together; they did jump in pitch darkness, and empty flare canisters were discovered near the parachute harnesses at the bail-out site, so it is assumed these actions must have occurred in some form or another. Using this method of fact-based conjecture, the interactions of the crew are mostly kept in a passive 3rd party perspective form rather than lengthy suppositions of the crew's thoughts, as in Martinez' treatment. Though he too walks a fine line in this sense, McClendon keeps most of the behavioral contexts of the crew within the constraints of an "interpretive" historical narrative.

McClendon's 1982 reprint contains a new epilogue with some interesting Wright/Patterson AFB museum photos and extra material that Mr. Martinez expanded upon in his 1995 book. New and used copies may be purchased here.

"Lady's Men, The Story of World War IIs Mystery Bomber and Her Crew"
by Mario Martinez (1995):

Martinez' "Lady's Men" is the latest entry into the retelling of the LBG story. Heralded as being the definitive work on the topic, to his credit, Mr. Martinez has done an impressive job of researching many aspects of the story and "got right" a great many things that previous publications either missed or were in error about. It contains pieces of information not available to Dennis McClendon when he first published his book in 1962, expanded coverage of the first D'Arcy oilmen ground expedition to explore the LBG wreck site, and many other pertinent elements of the story.

Some have felt that Mr. Martinez's suppositions about the crew's behavior, and more specifically their thoughts during their ordeal, overstepped the bounds of what should be a strictly historical narrative. To be sure, many of these passages are based on obscure but well researched bits of various crew members personal history, and other recovery investigation evidence. So long as they are taken in perspective, and intelligently perceived with an awareness as to their ultimately speculative nature, these sections of the narrative should not otherwise intrude on the remaining bulk of authoritative information the book provides. There are many important details about the story that have never been readily available elsewhere, and the bibliography provides an indication the exhaustive work that Mr. Martinez obviously put into it's creation. Though McClendon and Martinez's books were written many years apart, and they differ in some important pieces of data here and there, both take in-depth looks at some aspects of the story not covered by the other. New and used copies of "Lady's Men" may be purchased here.

A Few Web Sites:

There are many, many, small to medium treatments of the LBG saga available on the web; a Google search for "Lady Be Good" will turn up pages and pages of hits with varying degrees of mention, analysis, and unfortunately, a good share of inaccurate information as well. In general, if you are new to the LBG story you can start here:

Lady Be Good.com (created by Nicholas Robinson in association with Mario Martinez) at:
"www.ladybegood.com" The first and more athorative site of information about LGB. Until recently incuded the only member forum in existence strictly devoted to LGB. We sincerely hope the forum is up again soon. Robinson and Martinez have created an attractive, easy to navigate site with a good deal of exclusive, first hand, and painstakingly dedicated work about LBG to be perused here.

The Lady Be Good page of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum web site at:
"www.qmfound.com/lady_be_good_b-24_bomber_recovery.htm" This is site of the organization responsible for having recovered the bodies of the crew and likewise treats the topic with great respect. Though brief in scope, it is nicely written and illustrated, but unfortunately contains a few glaring inaccuracies. It also includes a very complete list of LGB related publications and resources.

Historic Wings': "Unlucky Lady, The Mysterious Tale OF 'Lady Be Good' " at:
"www.historicwings.com/features2002/ladybegood" This site contains a relatively brief but nicely written tour of the LGB story, with handsome graphics in an "interactive" pop-up window. The pop-up window however, is frustratingly small and a bit of a pain scroll continually, but none the less it's an easy to read introduction to the LBG saga. Unfortunately, as in others, this site too contains a few of glaring inaccuracies.


Contact Us:

Questions and comments may be directed to creator and webmaster Ed Truthan at: edtruthan@gmail.com


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