Twenty years ago Roy wrote a few words in a letter to my father describing his WWII experience of escaping from a ditched B-17. Dad didn’t use Roy’s piece in an Air Force newsletter he edited for many years. I found it in Dad’s things a few years ago, read it and found Roy’s story was very sketchy—no wonder Dad hadn’t used it.
However, Roy’s story contained enough intriguing details that I decided to dig into it to see what I could learn. Dad never had benefit of the Internet…it came on strong just after he passed away. Details catching my attention involved two dead crewmen, burials at sea, enemy fire from the shore, British rescue planes landing and taking off under fire, and one crewman taken prisoner. This was much more dramatic than most downed aircraft stories I’ve encountered.
After a few days I had learned quite a bit about the plane crash so I posted a brief inquiry to a forum to see if I could locate a family member. Four years passed without result, until a couple of weeks ago when I got my first inquiry, then a second. After exchanging several emails, both the family members and I have been able to share our information…each of us have learned quite a bit from one another. For them, I have been able to clarify some of the facts that were never clearly told by their fathers, something that was quite common with those WWII veterans. Most of them were so affected by their experience over Europe, they rarely told their stories, especially to their families.
This Highlander blog is in no way as substantial as some other blogs I write. However, it too, holds out the promise of learning some things about our shared experiences that could help settle some of those old curiosities about our time at EHHS. If nothing else, it is serving as something of an historical document for those who follow behind us who might be curious about how it once was there.