Lake Murray's Mitchell
For a B-25, it was a short flight and a 62-year layover.
- By Kay Gordon
- Air & Space magazine, January 2007
NASM (SI NEG. #9A00141)
(Page 2 of 2)
Seigler’s group had arranged to give the B-25 to the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama, and in December 2005 the front section went on display there.
Jim Griffin, the museum’s director, says that the B-25 is being preserved, not restored to pre-crash condition. The decision was based in part on the aircraft’s damage, which the museum judged too extensive to repair. When the bomber hit the lake, for example, the right engine had been torn off.
The cockpit is a different story. Artifacts from there turned out to be well preserved, and will be displayed with the B-25. Navigation charts and a 1943 section of Columbia’s The State newspaper are still readable. Also retrieved: four .50-caliber machine guns and one .30-caliber gun, buttons, parts of parachutes, bombsights, a tooth-marked olive drab pencil, headsets, earphones, a pair of leather driving gloves, a portable potty, radios, and the watch of copilot Robert Davison, inscribed “RUTH TO BOB 3-5-43.” “We found out last week that Ruth is still alive and was angry with Bob because he lost [the watch] after she had given it to him a month before,” says Griffin. “She still had a year to pay on it.”
Work on the rest of the B-25 is very slow. Volunteers are using dental tools to remove corrosion. “As we preserve various parts, they will be added to the display,” says Griffin. Eventually, the entire aircraft will be shown in an underwater-like setting, resting in a bed of sand.