Walkaround #125

North American B-25C (or D) Mitchell

Reference photos by Steve Hawley

Canopy Close-Up

 

      

Raised from a lake in the USA after 39 years.
The B-25 in these photos was raised in 1983 from Lake Greenwood which is just east of Greenwood, SC. north west of Columbia. It crashed on 6/6/44 while on a training mission. One story is that the plane was on a secret training mission for the Doolittle Raid, but considering the date of the crash, this story seems unlikely but no doubt evolved from the fact the Doolittle Raiders started out in Columbia. Another story is that the plane was buzzing some topless bathing beauties at the time and clipped a wing. The guy at the FBO said that the pilot had a girlfriend in Columbia. She was at the lake (can't remember which one) and he buzzed her to show off, but flew into the lake. It's not known if there were any casualties besides the pilot's career. It was brought to Columbia, SC and cursory restoration began. The name of the aircraft is Skunkie and this was visible when it was pulled from the lake. Eventually it is to go in the state museum most likely as a Doolittle's raiders exhibit as they started out here in Columbia. It was towed downtown for temporary display when the Raiders had their 50th Anniversary reunion here in 1992. The airplane is in terrible shape. They just sheet-metaled the belly to look sort of like a B-25. They found new engines and props from somewhere because the originals were just corroded lumps. Not a good restoration, but they didn't have a lot to work with anyway. Just going by the individual exhaust stacks, according to the Squadron B-25 in action , would indicate a late model B-25 C/D with the uprated engines. Also according to the same source....just the fact that it has a fixed gun port in the lower right hand side of the nose glazing would also indicate a C/D version. Where as the C/D versions where identical , the C or D designation being determined by which plant it was manufactured at , the B was the different of the three and as far as I know...did not carry a fixed 50.cal nose port.Another factor indicating a C or D is the astrodome, visible in the last photo.

Special thanks to Nelson Abbott, Ben Brown, Mark Houpt, Hub Plott, Randy Roddey, Tim and Alex LaBrecque for sending in the pieces to help us discover the whole story behind this B-25.

Steve Hawley

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Cowl Front

Cowl side
Exh Fair Rear
Exh Fairing Front

 

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Exh Top

Gear Door Front
Greenhouse Star
Interior Rear

 

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Left Front

Main Spar Life Raft
Nav Light Port
Nose

 

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Nose Door Starboard

Port Wing Lower
Port Wing Root
Port Wing Upper

 

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Port Nose Gear

Port Prop Clear
Star Engine Front
Starboard Fuselage Wing

 

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Starboard Wingtip

Tail Cone
Ramsey Hawley and B-25

 

Photos and text by Steve Hawley