B-24J-1-FO #42-95592 "Black Cat" Code: T9-U
466th BG - 785th BS
Black Cat was a Consolidated B-24J-1-FO Liberator aircraft and the last American bomber to be shot down over Germany in World War II.
On 21 April 1945 at around 06:30 local time 137 B-24 bombers from the 466th Bombardment Group departed from their air force base near Norfolk, England to bomb a railway bridge in Salzburg, Austria. Within the formation, Black Cat led the third squadron. However once the target was reached four hours later, the mission had to be abandoned due to the heavy cloud and thunderstorms covering the area. The lead aircraft flew a return course over Regensburg. This decision was queried by several navigators in the formation because Regensburg was a heavily bombed and defended city: it was home to the Messerschmitt factory which had been the Eighth Air Force's first major bombing target of the war in August 1943.
At 20,000 feet above Regensburg, the formation received eight bursts of flak. Black Cat was the only casualty. It was struck by a shell on the left wing causing the aircraft to crash. Ten of the crew were killed including the pilot, Richard Farrington. The tail gunner, Albert Seraydarian, and the bombardier, Chris Manners, survived and were liberated from German POW camps within a few weeks.
Photo by Ken Howard