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

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posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 09:46 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

That's truly awesome, FCD.

My grandfather drove Priest tanks in Germany during WWII, and my uncle, after they cleaned out the estate of my grandparents when my grandmother died (he preceded her by about a decade), put together a massive scrapbook of things from my grandfather's service, and I think that it's still a work in progress.

He never talked about WWII, but honestly, I never asked--he died when I was 16 (still makes my eyes well up--I received the call while at work at Carl's Jr...one of the saddest days of my life), and as teenagers tend to do, you lose contact temporarily with grandparents at that age, where hanging out with friends seems more important. You never expect to lose contact forever. Regardless, I just never reached an age where I was really interested in his service--until it was too late.

His legacy is a major reason why I joined the Army (I was going to go Marines). As luck would have it, I was stationed in Germany for 3.5 years. If only I had my uncle's research at the time, I could have retraced his steps and went to all of the cities that he was a part of fighting in--my uncle actually created maps that show his movements when he was in Europe.

All of that to say that I can't wait to get my hands on that scrapbook of his in person, but so far, I have only seen a few pictures taken by my dad of it.

Obviously you are, but be very grateful that you have this--it sounds amazing.

Thank you for sharing.




posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 09:46 AM
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edit on 13-4-2018 by SlapMonkey because: triple post...wth?



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 09:46 AM
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edit on 13-4-2018 by SlapMonkey because: double post



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 09:49 AM
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What an awesome thing to find! My thanks to your father for his service. People have no idea how insanely dangerous a job it was flying bombers over Germany. My father-in-law was a ball turret gunner (since he was a small guy) on B-17's and he did 28 missions. The only memoir besides a couple of pictures is a small case containing a silk map of Europe, a hacksaw blade, a compass and perhaps a couple other items I forget. Maybe it was foreign language phrase cards in French and German. He passed away 3 years ago.

Amazing how men like these lived through the insanity of WW 2 and went on to live to their 90's. God bless them. They rarely if ever spoke about their service and never thought themselves heroes. To them the real heroes were the guys who didn't get to come home. Certainly much to be learned from these men. Shame they have nearly all passed.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Hell yeah man! Your dad was a warrior.

That's some epic sh!t right there.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 10:32 AM
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Yes, I think you absolutely should contact the Smithsonian or the Air and Space Museum. This sounds like it needs to be both preserved and shared.

a reply to: Flyingclaydisk



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 10:49 AM
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Awsome story man. I'm sure you are proud! Thanks for sharing. Hero Indeed!



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk


First and foremost, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your family and my thoughts are with you.

Your Dads history kept in a "scrap-book" must have been an awesome find, and brought to life stories told to you when you were growing up.
You should maybe look at digitizing it as a back up, and as a family heirloom to pass on to future generations. I had grandparents who fought in WW2 and have no physical history of their commitment to the struggle. A digital copy of your Dads history to share with family members will be an amazing legacy if you do pass it on to a museum.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 12:41 PM
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Thank you so much for sharing all this with us.

Your thread is a breath of fresh air amidst all the political drivel plaguing ATS of lately.

Please, please, please share with as many people as you can your father's life. There's an ultimate reason your old man was so methodical and careful in keeping all that trove of information. Do him justice. Share his life with the world.

You strike me as a well educated man. Write a book about his life, share the photos, the anecdotes. You have living history in your hands.

Once you're done, I think you should aim to preserve it in a museum as a warning for future generations. War is a horrible thing in which no one wins.

I'm sorry for your loss and thank you once again for such a nice reading.

Take care, brother.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 12:42 PM
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Thought you might like to see this:

komonews.com...



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 01:04 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

That's pretty cool. Thank you!

Unfortunately, ship 44-8543 (which this aircraft is) never made it into battle or even overseas. Although she has the 'Triangle L' livery she was never assigned to the 381st. Her livery is really just for show. She (44-8543) remained stateside following her manufacture in 1944 and was assigned to the 4142nd during the war and later to the 4000th (among others).



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 01:35 PM
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For those interested, here was one of Dad's actual aircraft, "Frenchy's Folly", ship 42-39997. Dad was on the mission when this plane, formerly liveried as "Big Mike", crash landed at Ridgewell, England.

Frenchy's Folly

While the caption tells a bit of the story, the whole story is far more impressive. When Big Mike crash landed, on fire and badly damaged, back at Ridgewell one wing was torn nearly completely off and the other was badly damaged. A Crew Chief by the nickname of "Frenchy" came up with an idea to remove the wings from another damaged B-17 and put them on Big Mike. The problem was, the donor B-17 was a B-17F model and Big Mike was a B-17G. Something like this had never been attempted, and it took an approval from Curis LeMay himself to get permission to actually make the swap!

When the work was finished Big Mike had been turned into a Frankenstein B-17. Everyone agreed the the Big Mike moniker was no longer fitting and she required a new name. They decided on the name "Frenchy's Folly" to commemorate the Crew Chief who saw to the re-fit.

There was another problem though. Everyone was afraid to fly on Frenchy's Folly. At the time there was a pretty severe shortage of B-17's and parts. Ridgewell and the 533rd had suffered such heavy losses they had more crews than planes. Consequently, there was a rotation, the Devil's lottery of sorts, of air crew members to fill slots for injured or KIA crew mates on other aircraft. It was from this rotation pool that the crew roster of Frenchy's Folly would be filled. Dad was in the rotation pool (on his 2nd tour I believe), having been one of the original crew members of Big Mike. Nobody wanted to fly on Frenchy's Folly, and then as the story goes Dad volunteered to crew on the plane. By this time he already had a reputation for being pretty crazy I guess. When he volunteered they instantly had more members volunteer for duty on Frenchy's Folly than they had slots. The reasoning was, if the Germans couldn't kill him after all the missions he's been on, and they couldn't kill Big Mike...then they probably couldn't be killed either. A twisted insurance policy of sorts.

Frenchy's Folly actually survived WWII, and Dad crewed on Frenchy's Folly when it was ferried back stateside. He was also part of the crew which flew it to Kingman, AZ where Frenchy's Folly would ultimately be scrapped. Her mission had been accomplished. (Boy-oh-boy had it too! That's like the understatement of the Universe!)

He was finally home. He would go on to train in B-29's (which he wasn't real excited about) for deployment in the Pacific, but Hiroshima ended that...and his time in the service was over.

P.S. There's some other statistic about Frenchy's Folly too, but I can't recall it now. I have it written down someplace. Something to the effect is was the only 'original' B-17 from the 381st to ever make it back to the US after the war. All the rest had been shot down, lost or destroyed. I'll have to go look that up again.
edit on 4/13/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 02:52 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

The reasona so little of the hardware we sent over ever returned was because A) getting troops home took priority and B) much of it was already outdated (B-17, B-24, M4 Sherman tanks etc) and damaged. Fuel was at a premium and flying these old birds home wasn't worth the expense. They ended up being scrapped for metal or left with various governments as part of their military.

Very sad that so few warbirds and tanks ever came back. I got to fly on the Confederate air force B17 years ago and it was a one very though-provoking and emotional flight thinking back on the guys being shot at and freezing to death at 25,000 ft.
edit on 13-4-2018 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 03:06 PM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

Yeah, the B-17 was pretty much obsolete (at least in theory) by 1945. Although, with the exception of the increased performance of the B-29 over the B-17, I'm not sure the B-29 would have fared as well as the B-17 did in Europe (performance being equivalent) between '42 and '45. Just my humble opinion though. The Luftwaffe and AAA over Germany was certainly no walk in the park!

Very cool you got to go for a ride in one. I'd love to do that! I offered to buy Dad and I tickets to take a ride in one in MI once, out of Birch Run. I thought he'd love to do it. I guess I wasn't all that surprised though when he said he'd never set foot inside another B-17. As a result, I didn't go either. I wish I would have now. I guess I still could, there's a couple left flying. I just thought it would be really cool to take that ride together. Wasn't meant to be I guess.




edit on 4/13/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 04:22 PM
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Thread reminds me of my grandfather, who was alive when I was born but passed when I was 3. He was in the Pacific theater during the war, somewhere in the Philippines when he and his squad were captured by the Japanese. Made the Bataan Death March across the country, and was shipped to a labor camp in Japan, Fukuoka 17. I'd heard some stories growing up, and had seen some of the memorabilia that came back but nothing prepared me for when I started looking into things.

I found out that a lovely woman who is a family member of a camp survivor has a website up (not updated recently) that mentioned my grandfather. So she and I had some correspondence and had a copy of the repatriation letter that shows my grandfather being one of the first to be interred at the camp. I found out that he was interviewed and mentioned in George Weller's book, First Into Nagasaki, which I immediately forwarded on to my grandmother who is still kicking at 92. She was very pleased to pick up the book and read through it.

I have digitized everything my grandmother has available about him, much like your mom did she keeps all of her stuff in a steamer trunk. There's an officers sword in there, more medals than I can think of, and telegrams home from him that the Japanese sent to his family with his signature stating they were being treated well. I had always heard anecdotes from my dad in regards to their proximity to Nagasaki and how the POW's there saw the bomb, were herded into the mine, and left down there. Apparently the owner came down a couple of days later and got them out, fed them, and held them until troops showed up.

One thing that sticks out the most to me however is the fact that when my dad joined the Navy, he was stationed of all places...the Philippines. So there are pictures of me while around 3 years old (grandpa passed while we were there), with my mom and dad at some of these old war sites. Just thinking about it today makes me realize how crazy the coincidence was with that, to have been to some of the sites that he went through on the march, and not remember any of it aside from pictures of the sites. One day I hope to go back, not only there but also to Japan to see where the camp was and what remains.

It was an amazing read about your father, and I always love reading stories like these, because we're keeping the history alive for the next generations.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 05:55 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Very cool find, I`d love to see all the pictures and read the stories someday.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 06:25 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
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



This is amazing

I hope I am not being intrusive but could you maybe share some pictures, nothing too private or personal, anything will do. I would love to see some of this material



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 06:40 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: schuyler

That's pretty cool. Thank you!

Unfortunately, ship 44-8543 (which this aircraft is) never made it into battle or even overseas.


Why is it unfortunate? I wasn't offering it up as a battle-hardened example. I just though it was cool to see the thing in the air in pristine shape from many different angles. There are less than fifty survivors of 12,731 built with less than a dozen that can still fly at all as most of them are lying inert and non-functional in museums. In terms of the quality of its restoration I suspect you will see none finer.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 07:04 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

And I suspect you're right.

It was very cool, and thank you! I truly appreciate it. I really do. I meant no disapproval. I was only putting historical context to the airframe. I thought some might be interested. I'm sorry if it seemed otherwise.

Thank you again. It was very cool.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




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!


This become more true each year that passes.
Honors for bringing this to our attention.
You must be so proud.



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