An amazing thing recently happened. A friend of mine, stationed at RAF Molesworth, the old airbase of the 303rd Bomb Group (H) in the western part of Cambridgeshire, came by my office. He brought me a box of old photographs – all photos from airmen and officers of the 303rd, part of U.S. 8th Air Force, taken during the Second World War at RAF Molesworth. He asked if I wanted them. Of course! I was amazed. They are wonderful historical records. On top of the stack of photos – there must be 70 – there was a handwritten note, which read: “Dupes of WWII photos donated by Malcolm Magid, plus copies from old JAC XO, CAPT Mewbourne.” This note tells me quite a few things, namely the photos were in the posession of the Joint Analysis Centre (JAC) Executive Officer (XO), who was a naval officer (the acronym CAPT is only used for a U.S. Navy Captain, the other branches of the U.S. military use different acronyms: Capt., CPT, or Capt). The JAC command has only been at Molesworth since 1990 – so that gives some idea of the timeline of the photos ownership.
More importantly, Mr. Malcolm James Magid was a B-17 copilot who survived the war and passed away in Atlanta, Georgia on 16 May 2012 at the age of 88. He was stationed at RAF Molesworth and flew 35 missions over Germany during the War. He was highly decorated, even being made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the President of France for his aid in the Republic’s liberation.
2LT Malcolm Magid Service Photo, thanks to the 303rd BG(H) Historical Society
For the photos themselves, I asked myself what to do? First, I thought I will scan them in and post them here as a record of the brave men who served at RAF Molesworth, and in honor of Mr. Magid. Secondly, I will attempt to find Mr. Magid’s family (an obituary published in a local paper lists his descendants) and see if they would like these photos returned. If that effort is unsuccessful, I will contact the U.S. Air Force Historical Society and the 303rd Bomb Group Historical Society to see if the photos can be added to their collections. More to follow.
For now, please enjoy these photographs. I think you may feel as I do that these men are all so very young…
This appears to be 2LT Malcolm Magid standing infront of a B-17 undergoing maintenance.
B-17 Crew in front of aircraft. I am (moderately) confident that 2LT Magid is kneeling in the front row on the far left, wearing the peaked cap. The officer in the front row, third from left, is striking in how young he looks.
Photo of a B-17 after making a wheels-up landing (the aircraft is in remarkable shape).
Written on the negative is “COL. Heller… [illegible]” Colonel Heller was the 360th Squadron Commanding Officer, a subordinate unit to the 303rd Bomb Group (H).
Inside a Nissen Hut. Of note: under the cot are flying boots, uniform dress shoes, and tassled loafers. The airman in the background is playing solitaire.