Catch-22 film B-25s migrate

B-25Js 44-9898/N898BW Axis Nightmare and 44-30423/N3675G Photo Fanny parked at Duxford on 10 July. They left the following day.

Two US-based North American B-25J Mitchells transited through Duxford in mid-July on their way back to the USA from Sardinia, where they had been lying for a new TV adaptation of the Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22.

The aircraft were B-25J 44-9898/ N898BW Axis Nightmare from the Tri-State Warbird Museum at Batavia, Ohio, and 44-30423/N3675G Photo Fanny from the Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino, California. Both of these B-25s were built in 1945, with 44-30423 rolling off the line at the Fairfax plant in Kansas City in January 1945, and 44-9898 likewise on 29 October 1945 as the second-to-last B-25 built. Dunsfoldbased Aces High’s Douglas C-47A Skytrain, 42-100884/N147DC, and the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis’ CASA 352 (Spanish-built Junkers Ju 52/3m) F-AZJU from La Ferté-Alais were also used on location in Sardinia.

One of the producers of the series — which will air in six episodes on Channel 4 in the UK during 2019 — is George Clooney, who is also shouldering directing and acting roles. Among the cast is British actor Hugh Laurie.

The author of Catch-22, Joseph Heller, was a B-25 bombardier during World War Two, lying 60 combat missions while stationed on an island off the coast of Italy with the US 12th Air Force. For the 1970 Catch-22 feature ilm, starring Alan Arkin, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel and Orson Welles, no fewer than 17 airworthy B-25s were lown for the cameras. Unfortunately, CGI technology has put paid to such extravagant excitement taking place in 2018.