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I just read the most INCREDIBLE thing!!!! Absolutely unreal!!

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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:22 PM
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On Christmas Eve this past year, 2017, my Mom passed away. It was a very sad and tragic event. In April of '14 my Dad passed away. (also very sad, but not nearly as difficult). My mom was 93 when she passed and my dad was a couple weeks shy of 90 when he passed.

My Dad and I were very close. He had served in the Army Air Corps during WWII in B-17's in Europe. 381st Heavy Bombardment Group, 533rd squadron, stationed in Ridgewell, England. I've always been a historian of WWII and particularly of the 8th Army Air Force (381st). These were the guys who really took the brunt of the Luftwaffe and suffered nearly 100% losses for many years. In fact, my father was the only person to survive from his original training group, the only one. He served 3 tours and nearly 88 missions...which is almost unheard of, more than three times the limit of (25) missions to go home.

I was blessed to be his son and even more blessed to have the benefit of him willing to talk about some of the things he did (many are not so willing). The stories I could tell are nearly endless. But sometimes 'stories' are just stories and you're not sure what to believe. Dad had a lot of proof though. He told stories about being shot down three times, once behind enemy lines in occupied France. Crash landed on an alternate airfield in France and had a big shootout with the German SS. But then had a Bellholla 32 caliber pistol captured off of an SS officer to prove it. As a younger guy and a historian, some of these stories were just unimaginable...almost too hard to believe. I'd seen many of the medals, and I'd heard the stories, but still, even though Dad was my "hero", I still wondered how much embellishment and historical waxing there was on some of these stories.

As I noted, on Christmas Eve my Mom passed away. My sisters and I recently went to MI to clean up my parents estate. In so doing we discovered an old steamer trunk (my Mom kept everything). Inside that trunk was a scrapbook I'd never seen. In fact, I'm not sure anyone in my living family had ever seen this scrapbook. It was a pictorial history which .... DEFIED IMAGINATION!!

None of us had ever seen this book before, we didn't even know it existed!!

Every single thing was documented with pictures, letters, telegrams, war department commendations, letters from other families...everything. Absolutely priceless. I was in absolute tears in the first 30 pages of this monstrous volume of history.

There was letters from Dad to his parents about bailing out over Germany, about how scared he was, about how his biggest worry even before his parachute opened about how may other crew members parachutes he could see as he fell through the sky. It's just unbelievable (I cry even as I write this). There are letters from other crew members parents to his parents asking about their son, knowing they were shot down and likely taken prisoner in Germany. All they wanted to know was if they'd heard from my Dad...and if their son was even alive...they didn't care if he'd been taken prisoner even. (The whole thing, It's just that crushing...it's unbelievable!). All the medals I thought I'd seen, the ones Dad was proud of paled in comparison to the medals which are pasted into this book (the actual medals). All the ribbons and insignias, all the ranks and promotions. I just had NO idea. I knew he was a hero, but he was my hero, he was my Dad...I never knew he was a freaking LEGEND. I just never knew.

Every training certificate, all originals, every single correspondence. Every pass, every communication and every order. There's even French money from when they were rescued by the French underground. It's just unbelievable!

There are full sized (folded) bomb-sight pictures of bombing raids with impacts over Schweinfurt and Berlin, some of the most devastating and tragic bombing runs which ever took place during WWII. There are pictures of bombing runs on D-Day. It's just unimaginable! I'm in total shock!! Pictures of the shot up planes (in flight) he always talked about...all of it...it's all there. This "scrap-book" is absolutely priceless! It is a history like nothing I've ever seen before...and it's all real.

Folks, I can't even begin to articulate what I have just seen. It is the most staggering historical volume of one man's experience in one of the most terrifying wars imaginable. I'm honestly not even sure what to do now. I've never seen anything like this anywhere! I think I may have to contact a museum like the Smithsonian, it's just this incredible.

I just had no idea!

I am just stunned beyond words


edit on 4/12/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:32 PM
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Wow...! What an absolutely priceless book to have! I would be speechless,, I don't even know what I would think. Lol
What an amazing and beautiful treasure to have found. I was in tears reading it too! I have some stories from my Dad and a few of his items from that time but nothing so dense and complete.
Tha's awesome flyingclaydisk.. really happy your Mom so carefully saved all that


+9 more 
posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:38 PM
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a reply to: Starcrossd

In the bottom of this same steamer trunk was a newspaper lining on the bottom. Just for a bottom liner.

The date is...May 16, 1929.


+6 more 
posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
Wow man I am at a loss for words that’s just absolutely amazing preserve it well and try to get it digitized so that future generations can learn from and pay respect to this amazing man and his legendary legacy.

My grandparents(Oma&Opa) were children in Holland during WW2 it’s very possible without your fathers exploits I wouldn’t be here.

very cool find!




edit on 12-4-2018 by Athetos because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:42 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk what a find!! You should just spend some time with the book for a while before you decide what you want to do with it. It's like getting a chance to know your dad even better!! I'm crying as well because I can understand just how special it all is!!



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:42 PM
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Just, WOW!
I'm so sorry for the loss of your parents.
Though, I am happy that you found this "treasure chest".
And thank you so much for sharing your story with us!
And a huge thank you to your Dad!!!

Yes, these things should be kept in some kind of museum for the whole world to see.


+10 more 
posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:43 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Spend the time and resources to have it digitized. That way the story can live on, well after even you have passed.

P



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:49 PM
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My mother passed from cancer too early recently. Im about to go through family photos when i get them. Good on you. My gramps served i think in ww2. Id love to find momentos from that.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:52 PM
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All the books he had, all signed by the original authors, about the fighters who escorted the "Mighty 381st" over Germany. I saved them all, never knowing how much they really meant. All those guys actually sought out Dad, came to visit him; these guys were all legends.

The stories he told about flak so heavy he'd look out the windows and swear they could walk across it. The pictures of the B-17's dropping from formation on fire, crews never to be seen again. The ME-109's swarming in on them even after they'd dropped their bombs, wounded and on fire. The stories are just unimaginable. The .50 caliber shell casings knee deep at the waist gun positions (all in pictures). The holes in the "forts", missing pieces...the faces of the crewmen when they came home. The ambulances who'd greet them. The pictures of the other aircrews standing outside on the airfield counting planes as they returned from across the Channel...if they did.

And...the smiles. Those photographs of a person (Dad or otherwise) where they were standing there with a smile on their face. A picture to send home. There's purple pencil marks in this scrap book, and on the bottom of one page there's a notation "Made it" with a dash and a purple check mark next to it. There's at least 75 photos and only 3 with purple check marks next to them. It's chilling. The letters home...it's like, I don't know...almost like being in the moment just reading it.


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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:03 PM
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I remember him telling me about the P-47 escorts and how they really couldn't escort them much further than the coast of France, from there they were on their own. The were just too slow and inefficient. I remember how he would light up when he talked about the P-51 Mustangs who, with their speed, range and drop tanks could escort them well into enemy territory and take on on the feared Luftwaffe ME-109's who outnumbered them 4 to 1.

I remember him talking about the infamous "IP", the point after which you couldn't turn or change altitude. It was just straight-in to the target, no matter what...and how that was the most fearsome time because the German AA batteries could zero in on them and just cut them to shreds.

The time a flak shell came through the floor right in front of him and took out the radio, hitting him in the face...a scar he had for the rest of his life. They continued on.

It's just endless...

and now, I see all of it...all of it. I just don't even know what to say. I'm trying my best to do even a small justice to it all.


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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:03 PM
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Hold onto that, get it properly researched and you have what the most famous movie directors and all who want to become famous want, a real story that spans the entire air war over Europe with a character that can only be described as blessed and watched over to have survived.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:07 PM
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Back in 93 i visited normandy. Its awe inspiring seeing all the crosses. Walking through the old meusem. The nude beach that still smells like sulfur from bombs.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:07 PM
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Self published book maybe????...

Seems a historical record that others should know about, possibly unlike anything before???...


RA



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:11 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

I honestly don't think there's any research required, these are all original documents, not copies. They're the original telegrams, the original orders, the original letters, all stamped sealed and postmarked. It's all original. The news articles are all there, the pictures, the dates...everything. It's all there.

The best part is, I kept all the stories and wrote them all down. Before I found this scrap book I'd researched all his missions, all his crews and aircraft. Some of the aircraft are even legend, and I've got the stories to go with them. It's all documented. And it could all be cross-checked before, but now...holy cow...now it's just gone completely off the charts!!



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:13 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your loss but am happy to hear about your find.

My Grandpa was also from MI and also served in B-17's in England, he was shot down as well, once behind enemy lines in France.

He was navigator & belly turret, he rotated out of Wee Willie on the mission that she was shot down, that would have been his 3rd like your fathers - scary stuff.

Not sure if you've looked up the bombing groups daily logs but there is some good reading there, you never know who's name you could run across.

You've probably already discovered this site but just in case;

Ridgewell

I'm so happy your fathers scrapbook was not lost to history


edit on 4/12/2018 by Sostratus because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:13 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk


My uncle who died 30 years before I was born. Very little is known of him now, because that generation has passed away. I have photo's from his sister ( my grandmother 1918-2015 ) and hand written stories from his father my great grandfather.

I agree with Pheonix358... upload those real life experiences/accounts. I personally would love to read them. My neices and nephews haven't a clue what actual accountability and fear is. They are to invested in the Personal Coffee Internet has become.

As always, I love every thread you post. Always feel like I've actually experienced it.👍

Edit: how rude of me! Thankyou for sharing👍

edit on 12-4-2018 by Bigburgh because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:15 PM
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a reply to: anotherside

My bucket list... have a 🌟



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:16 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: TinfoilTP

I honestly don't think there's any research required, these are all original documents, not copies. They're the original telegrams, the original orders, the original letters, all stamped sealed and postmarked. It's all original. The news articles are all there, the pictures, the dates...everything. It's all there.

The best part is, I kept all the stories and wrote them all down. Before I found this scrap book I'd researched all his missions, all his crews and aircraft. Some of the aircraft are even legend, and I've got the stories to go with them. It's all documented. And it could all be cross-checked before, but now...holy cow...now it's just gone completely off the charts!!



Don't be surprised if Clint Eastwood comes calling if the word gets out.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:18 PM
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how powerful history is to imagine

they had life differently than us today, I'm wimpy compared, I try to be brave but..... but wow......
edit on 12-4-2018 by GBP/JPY because: (no reason given)


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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:22 PM
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a reply to: anotherside

I would love to go there someday and pay my respects.

Dad always talked about that day. He talked about how unfair he thought it was he was way "up there" when all those guys were fighting it out on the beach. He told me a chilling story about their briefing on the eve before D-Day, I'll never forget what he said.

He said..."They told us, point blank, we're going to put more soldiers on the beach than the Germans have bullets to shoot. Your mission is to take out as many German reinforcements as possible to keep those casualties to a minimum."

He would always choke up about how 'matter of fact' that briefing was. Just the sheer scale of what it was going to take to defeat Hitler, and the absolute colossal loss of life which would ensue the very next day. I can't even imagine it. He said he couldn't either, and it took weeks for them to hear the real toll. In many ways he always felt somehow guilty about that day (I can't imagine why, after all he did, but he still did).

Our younger generations will never know, or even begin to understand, the sacrifice these heroes made to preserve the world as we know it today!




edit on 4/12/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




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