Memorial paying tribute to the crew of the B17 flying fortress "Black Swan" of the 91st Bomb Group, 324 Bomb Squadron of the 8th US Air Force shot down on 31/12/1943 over Bannalec.
The memorial consists of a roadside stele and a second at the precise impact site a few dozen meters from the first.
OnDecember 31, 1943, the Black Swan takes off from Bassingbourn with the mission to bomb the German bases of Bordeaux-Mérignac and Cognac. the strong tailwind pushes them faster than expected onto the target
On the way at 12:30 the Black Swan is hit on the right wing by FLAK (anti-aircraft defense) fire the engine 3 of the is out of action and the propeller cannot be feathered. Engine 4 pressure also drops indicating that its compressor is also damaged. The flying fortress is struggling to maintain altitude. The crew decide to lighten their aircraft by dropping their bombs in the ocean after turning back hoping to make it back to England.
The headwind then becomes a handicap, slowing them down in their progress.
The plane reaches the Finistère at around 3pm, the crew radioing the gunners to be vigilant, well aware of a possible attack by German fighters well present on the Brest peninsula.
Despite this no one has noticed the two FW-190 appearing at the nose of the B-17F. The fight begins. At the end of the 3rd pass, two or three shells rip through the cockpit of the Black Swan instantly killing co-pilot Stuart B. Mendelsohn. Despite the gaping hole, the wind causing a deafening noise, pilot Verne Woods manages to maintain attitude by activating the order to leave the plane to his crew. He then activates the autopilot and jumps out.
Of the 10 crew members, two were killed in action, 6 were arrested, and only 2 escaped to England thanks to the Shelburn network.
★ 2LT Stuart B. Mendelsohn, pilot, deceased, rests at Saint-James American Cemetery Plot J Row 11 Grave 1.
★ 2Lt Verne E. Woods, co-pilot, prisoner.
★ 2LT Warren L. Ellis, navigator, prisoner.
★ 2LT James A. Schneider, bomber, escapee.
★ T/SGT James N. Quinn, radio, escaped.
★ T/SGT Richard G. Hensley, mechanic, deceased, lies in Saint-James American Cemetery: Plot G, Row 14, Grave 1.
★ S/SGT Larry C. Hull, radio, prisoner
★ S/SGT Porter D. Clemmens, machine gunner, prisoner.
★ S/SGT Abraham R. Lieberman, machine gunner, prisoner.
★ S/SGT Rollin E. Gater, machine gunner, prisoner.
It would turn out that the German pilot the Obfw. Addi Glunz of the FG26 that shot down the Black Swan was one of the most talented pilots in the Luftwaffe...