Tag Archives: Lady Be Good

The Mystery of the Lady Be Good

On April 4, 1943 1st Lt. William J. Hatton, pilot of B-24 Liberator Lady Be Good, and his crew set out on a bombing raid bound for Naples, Italy.  After meeting up with high winds and obscured visibility the plane aborted the mission. To make matters worse the automatic direction finder went out. The plane then missed the base at Soluch, Libya (modern day Suluq) and after heading south for a couple more hours the crew bailed out. They were never heard from since. Then in 1959 the wreckage of the Lady be Good was found by a British oil surveyor. Then in 1960 eight out of nine of the crewman’s bodies were found. Bombardier John Woravka was thought to have died on impact due to trouble with his parachute opening and his body was found later in 1960. The rest of the crew met up and began an amazing trek through the desert. They walked 80 miles in scorching heat for eight days sharing only one canteen of water. As all hope began to fade three of the crew man strayed from the group to find help. Two of their bodies were found 20 miles away from the others. The Lady be Good had crashed landed on her belly and was mostly intact. Over the years pieces were hauled away by souvenir hunters. One propeller can be seen in front of the Village Hall in Lake Linden, the home of Robert E. LaMotte. The plane was finally moved to Tobruk for safekeeping in 1994. The crew’s names are posted below:

1st Lt. William J. Hatton – pilot
2nd Lt. Robert F. Toner – co-pilot
2d Lt. D.P. (initials only, also seen as “Dp”) Hays – navigator
2d Lt. John S. Woravka – bombardier
T/Sgt. Harold J. Ripslinger – flight engineer
T/Sgt. Robert E. LaMotte – radio operator
S/Sgt. Guy E. Shelley – gunner
S/Sgt. Vernon L. Moore – gunner
S/Sgt. Samuel R. Adams – gunner