The Story of that Invincible "Bloom's Tomb"
As related by J. C. Van Bloom
On the 28th of March 1993
Submitted by Stanley J. Wyglendowski, October 30, 1993
During a phone conversation with Col. J.C. Van Bloom, USAF Retired, I had asked him if it was true that during WWII in a period of approximately one year, he had a total of five P-47s assigned to him; all of which carried the name and the trademark of "BLOOM'S TOMB". To this, Col. Van Bloom answered, "No" — "There were actually nine (9) P-47s that sported the name of BLOOM'S TOMB." He then proceeded to relate the following facts.
The first P-47 assigned to him at our new base in England, #ALG417, was a Razorback P-47 which, on returning from a mission over Europe on 8 June 1944, under the control of Lt. Elmo Hall, cracked-up upon landing, due to a faulty hydraulic system on the left wheel. Pilot walked away, uninjured.
The second P-47 sporting the name BLOOM'S TOMB, a P-47D-42-8473, crash landed on French terrain under German control, on 29 June 1944. Lt. Levitt C. Beck who was piloting that plane, escaped from that crash relatively unscathed, and with assistance from a young Frenchman, escaped from the enemy. L.C. Beck remained hidden by the French Underground in the attic of a French cafe, in the small town of Anet; while that French Resistance group planned and arranged for Beck's possible escape and return to friendly territory.
On 10 September 1944, while supporting Gen. Patton's advancing III Army, Lt. "Ike" J. Dorsey III, flying another P-47 with the name BLOOM'S TOMB, was hit by enemy flack and crash landed that P-47 right on the front line, between the American and German troops. This pilot also escaped injury, and with the help of an American Infantry Noncom, also escaped being captured by the enemy; returning to the 514th Fighter Squadron two days later. Incidently, the plane that "Ike" was flying that day, was one that J.C. did a little experimenting with. He had the tips of his propeller blades, and a few feet on the end of the plane's wings, painted red. The purpose of this was to make the plane appear somewhat smaller, in hopes of possibly confusing the enemy.
On 17 December 1945, Lt. Donald O. Dorman, Jr., flying still another BLOOM'S TOMB, a P-47 D28 44-20081, was hit by enemy ack-ack, and had to bailout of his plane over enemy territory; ending up a POW of the German Army. This accounted for four BLOOM'S TOMBS that were either severely damaged, or destroyed.
Four other such aircraft assigned to this pilot, were replaced when they were shipped back to the Replacement Depot for major overhauls because of extensive flack damage (such as approximately seventy five holes of varying size in the fuselage), and other equally serious problems.