The Arrowhead Club

Lenard Leroy Bryant, Update

Lenard Leroy Bryant, photo courtesy of Derral Bryant

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, Lenard Leroy Bryant, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about Lenard Leroy Bryant, please see the links at the end of this post.

Bryant Family

Lenard Leroy Bryant was born 7 March 1919 in Alex, Grady County, Oklahoma. Lenard was the youngest of the ten children of Fannie Lenora Drake (1879 – 1961) and John Gilbert Bryant (1878 – 1938).

According to the 1930 Federal census, the Bryant family lived in Justice Precinct 6 of Hockley County, Texas. Nine members of the extended family were listed at the family’s address. Along with John and Fannie were four of their children including Jewel, John, Lester, and Lenard, and Fannie’s mother (Florence Drake), sister (Birdie Wadkins), and sister’s daughter (Daisey Wadkins).

John Bryant was born in Georgia, as were both of his parents. Fannie Drake Bryant was born in Texas, her father was born in Tennessee, and her mother was born in Alabama. John’s occupation was farmer.

The ten children of John and Fannie Bryant were:

  • James Clyde Bryant (1900 – 1986)
  • Ralph Hubert Bryant (1901 – 1989)
  • Earl Alfred Bryant (1903 – 1991)
  • William Marion Bryant (1906 – 1975)
  • Jewel L. Bryant (1908 – 1978)
  • Letha Murel Bryant (1910 – 1994)
  • Lettie Mae Bryant (1912 – 1982)
  • John Bryant (1914 – 1969)
  • Lester Marvin Bryant (1917 – 1968)
  • Lenard Leroy Bryant (1919 – 1944)

Lenard Leroy Bryant married Ruby Maudene Baisden on 21 October 1939. Maudine was born 2 June 1923 in Gasoline, Briscoe County, Texas to Ottie and Virgie Baisden, and died 16 February 2004 in Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas.

The 1940 census records Lenard (age 21) and Maudene (age 16) as living as a married couple in Justice Precinct 4 of Hockley County, Texas. Lenard’s occupation was laborer and Maudene’s occupation was housewife.

Entry into WWII 

Lenard registered for the draft on 16 October 1940. He was 21 years old, born on 7 March 1919 in Grady County, Oklahoma, and currently lived at Route 2, Littlefield, Hockley County, Texas.

The name of the person who would always know his address was his wife, Mrs. Ruby Maudene Bryant of the same address.

His employer’s name was Otte Baisden (which I believe was his father-in-law) of the same address.

Lenard listed his height as 5 ft. 10 in. and his weight as 145 pounds. He had blue eyes, blonde hair and a light complexion.

I do not find an enlistment record for Lenard in the NARA online files, but did find a form titled “Certification by Uniformed Services” of the Department of Health and Human Services SSA in his NPRC record which notes Lenard’s Date of Entry into Active Service as 18 May 1943.

Left to right: George Edwin Farrar, Lenard Leroy Bryant, Erwin V. Foster, and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso at Grafton Underwood.

WWII Service – Morning Reports and other military documents of the 384th Bombardment Group indicate the following for Lenard Leroy Bryant:

  • On 22 JULY 1944, Lenard Leroy Bryant was assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944 as a waist gunner (classification AAEG, Aerial Gunner, with the MOS, military operational specialty, of 611), for the John Oliver Buslee crew. His pay per month was $140.40. His rank when assigned was Corporal. He listed his home address as Mrs. Ruby Maudene Bryant, Rt #2, Littlefield, Tex.
  • On 6 AUGUST 1944, Lenard Bryant was promoted to Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #158.
  • On the 9 AUGUST 1944 mission to Erding, Germany, Lenard Bryant was reassigned to the position of Engineer/Top Turret Gunner with the Buslee crew. Clarence Seeley, the crew’s original Engineer, was seriously wounded on the 5 AUGUST mission and did not return to duty for two months. This enabled both of the waist gunners of the Buslee crew, Lenard Bryant and George Farrar, to remain with their original crew. Farrar remained the crew’s waist gunner while Bryant took over the top turret position. If Seeley had not been seriously wounded and unable to participate in combat missions, either Bryant or Farrar would have been moved to another crew, or possibly even another bombardment group.
  • On 9 SEPTEMBER 1944, Lenard Bryant was promoted to Staff Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #180.
  • On 28 SEPTEMBER 1944, Lenard Bryant went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action). He was subsequently declared KIA (Killed in Action) on that date.

Lenard Bryant was credited with 16 completed combat missions with the 384th Bomb Group.

Medals and Decorations

Lenard Leroy Bryant earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and also received the Purple Heart.

Casualty of War

Lenard Leroy Bryant died 28 September 1944 at the age of 25, leaving his young wife, Ruby Maudene, a widow at the age of 21. Lenard is buried at Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, Margraten, Eijsden-Margraten Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands, Plot G, Row 7, Grave 22. Maudene lived to the age of 80 and never remarried.

Lenard and Maudene Bryant, 1939, photo courtesy of Derral Bryant

Notes

Previous post, Lenard Leroy Bryant, Top Turret Gunner for the Buslee Crew

Lenard Leroy Bryant’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Buslee Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

Thank you to Derral Bryant, Lenard’s great-nephew, for family information and photos.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

American POW Camps for Axis Prisoners

Harry and Carrie Liniger, newly married

In the spring and early summer of 1944, Harry Allen Liniger, with his newly awarded WWII silver gunner’s wings, participated in his final phase of training as an aerial gunner on an aerial combat team of a heavy bombardment unit at the 222nd Combat Crew Training Station, Ardmore Army Airfield, Ardmore, Oklahoma.

While Harry was in this final phase of his training before being shipped overseas for combat duty, his future wife, Carrie Belle Carter, was contributing to the war effort at home. During that time, Carrie lived with her brother, Benjamin Franklin Carter, and his wife in Newport News, Virginia.

In his later years, Benjamin Carter told Harry’s son, Harry Liniger, Jr., about his mother Carrie’s role during World War II, checking in German POW’s in Newport News. In an effort to learn more about Carrie’s work, an internet search of POW camps in the U.S., as well as those in Virginia, and Newport News specifically, turned up some interesting information.

My focus has always been on the Nazi’s POW camp, Stalag Luft IV, in which my father and Harry Jr.’s father were held, as well as other camps for allied prisoners of war of the Axis powers. I had not considered where the Allies held their prisoners of war, thinking that they would all have been housed in camps overseas.

However, I find there were a large number of camps here in the states. Author and researcher Kathy Kirkpatrick presents a comprehensive list of POW Camps in the USA and also a map of the camps on Gentracer.org.

Kathy’s color-coded map distinguishes between Base Camps, Branch Camps, Cemeteries, and Hospitals.

POW Camps in the USA
Courtesy of Kathy Kirkpatrick
© GenTracer

Kathy’s alphabetical list of Prisoner of War Camps, Italian Service Unit Camps, and Prisoner of War Hospitals is “based on weekly reports located on NARA microfilm #66-538 (population lists June 1942-June 1946). Additional locations based on newspapers, interviews, and other NARA records (at College Park and Regional Archives).”

According to Kathy Kirkpatrick’s information regarding POW camps in Virginia shared on Gentracer.org, there were eighteen base camps, twenty-two branch camps, and 3 internment locations in Virginia alone, including two POW camps in Norfolk (Allen Naval Operating Base and Norfolk Army Base), four in Newport News (Eustis – Fort Abraham, Eustis – Fort Eustis, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, and Camp Patrick Henry), and two in Virginia Beach (Camp Pendleton and Fort Story).

Not certain of where exactly Carrie Belle Carter performed her duties of checking in German POW’s in Newport News, I reviewed some internet resources for information. I found details about the prisoners and the camps and think I can get a clearer idea of Carrie’s responsibilities.

For starters, the Newport News High School Class of 1965 website has a page with a lengthy discussion about the Newport News WWII POW Camps. The page header notes,

  • Camp Patrick Henry, the German POW Camp, morphed into Patrick Henry Field, now Newport News Williamsburg International Airport.
  • Another German POW Camp was located at the continuation of the James River Bridge crossover from Virginia Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, below the bridge.
  • More still were housed at Fort Eustis.
  • The Italian POW camp was on the Old Casino Grounds which was on the hill behind the Victory Arch.
  • Camp Hill, also used for the Italian POWs, was bounded to the south by the temporary wooden railroad overpass at 58th Street, the James River Bridge/Military Highway railroad overpass to the north, Jefferson Avenue to the east, and the railroad yards to the west.

Many former and long time Newport News residents recorded their memories, including seeing the barbed wire of the camps, and where the camps were located in the discussion.

Contributor Joe Madagan noted,

The German Army Prisoners of War were brought to the United States on ships like the USS West Point (AP-23), the converted SS America, on their return voyage from delivering troops to Europe. She had a special Marine Detachment equipped to guard the POWs, including the wounded and ill prisoners.

The German Prisoners of War were transported from the Port north on Roanoke Avenue past our house so I had a good reason to sit on the front porch and observe the troop movements along the avenue.

There was a hospital for the wounded and ill Prisoners of War at Camp Patrick Henry, and Italian and German soldiers were treated at that facility.

If my memory serves me, the Italian Army Prisoners of War were confined to the camp near the Port, which would have terminated near the 25th Street Bridge…

Contributor Bill Lee shared,

Between 9/16/42 and 5/13/45, 134,292 POWs (88% German – the rest Italian) were disembarked at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (the Army’s name for the C&O piers). Most of them were sent to inland POW camps in the Southwest. But a fairly large number stayed in Hampton Roads and were put to work doing such things as KP, laundry and other chores. The first POW work camp in this country to be located at a port of embarkation was in Newport News.

Unseen, at one time, there were as many as 6,000 German POWs at Fort Eustis. Another 2,300 Germans (and 185 Italians) were a permanent part of the service workforce at Camp Patrick Henry.

After Italy switched sides in the war, more than a thousand Italian POWs, housed in Camp Hill – not to be confused with much larger Camp A. P. Hill, near Fredericksburg … were re-designated as ‘Italian Service Unit Personnel’ and employed in the port area. Hundreds more worked on farms in Warwick County, and in 46 businesses (not identified) on the Peninsula.

Camp Hill and associated military facilities were bounded to the south by the temporary wooden railroad overpass at 58th Street, the James River Bridge/Military Highway railroad overpass to the north, Jefferson Avenue to the east, and the railroad yards to the west. The most visible, to the public, of the prisoner enclosures was a barbed wire enclosed area on the north side. Although isolated from the rest of the military complex, anyone riding over the railroad overpass could literally look down into that encampment and ‘see the enemy’.

Camp Hill also included barracks for Military Police, a training facility for stevedore trainees and had a number of service-related facilities there, including a laundry … Some [of] his ’employees’ were Italian POWs. There was also a chapel, USO, theatre and gym at Camp Hill. Some of the Camp Hill structures remained in place and were put to local civilian use long after the war ended.

At the end of the war, there were still 4,100 Germans and 1,300 Italians on the Peninsula. Almost totally forgotten is the fact that a secret experiment took place at Fort Eustis in 1945/1946 to re-educate Nazi prisoners. The purpose of this was to create a core of cooperative and pro-American Germans to be repatriated and then help rebuild in the American zone of occupied Germany. In all, 20,000 POWs from all over the United States were processed through a six-day course at Fort Eustis before returning home!

Norm Covert added this information from the “Newport News WWII history book,”

A total of 134,293 German and Italian prisoners of war arrived via the Chesapeake and Ohio terminal.

The Port became the first to establish German prisoners of war work camps.

On June 13, 1945, 2,903 German prisoners and 1,419 members of the Italian Service Unit were engaged at the Port … Sept. 18, 1945, there were 4,077 German prisoners and 1,300 of the Italian Service Unit ….

Prisoners were quartered at Camp Patrick Henry and in the area adjacent to the overpass leading to the James River Bridge. Italian Service Units were quartered at Camp Patrick Henry and in barracks adjacent to the Chesapeake and Ohio piers.

It should be noted that Camp Patrick Henry included 1,700 acres activated Dec. 2, 1942. Nearly 750,000 men and women passed through the camp during 1943-1944.

As of Jan. 31, 1946, a total of 1,412,107 persons passed in and out of the camp.

Dale Parsons noted,

The Italian POW camp was on the Old Casino Grounds which was on the hill behind the Old Victory Arch. There was a movie theater built for the army (which later became The Jewish Community Center), and beside it was a gymnasium for army personal as quite a lot of troops were assigned to the port area. AA guns mounted on the roof of the Warwick Hotel, guards with dogs patrolling all the piers and the rail road storage area which contained ammunition, vehicles, food, etc. for the war. The Italian Camp was an open camp; they were allowed to roam in the Casino Ground area and lived in tents. This area was called the Hill. I remember talking to the prisoners as they had books to try to translate with me.

The German POW Camp was located at the continuation of the James River Bridge crossover from Virginia Avenue to Jefferson Avenue.  It was located below the bridge. It had barbed wire above the fence, and had barracks with towers at each corner, and spotlights with armed guards manning each one. You could see the prisoners walking around the fenced in area.

The 58th Street overpass from Virginia Avenue to 58th Street was built for two reasons – to give the army better access to the HRPE Laundry, and for the new homes at Betsy Lee Gardens and new homes that had been built on Briarfield Road and Copeland and Newsome Park.

Camp Patrick Henry was a distribution point for the HRPE holding troops until ships were available to load them and equipment.

Fred Field added information “About Our Wartime Guests,”

I have been reading in recent issues the many recollections about Prisoner of War Camps on the Peninsula. I only remember the one near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Military Highway. My family were lunch guests at that camp one Sunday in late 1943.

During the war local residents were asked to rent rooms for local Army officers. As a result we had two officers living with us for about two years during the war. One officer was stationed at the Jefferson Avenue prison camp. We were pleased about the lunch invitation, although the destination was kept secret from my brother and me until we arrived at the camp.

Our lunch was with the Camp’s several U.S. Army officers. We were served by Germans who spoke English surprisingly well. The food was wonderful and we were told that the prisoners did all the cooking.

After lunch we were taken on a brief tour. Although the camp facilities were very basic, many improvements had been designed and added by the prisoners. I was very impressed by the theater which had been extensively upgraded from a simple meeting hall. Our German guide for the theater identified himself as an electrician in civilian life. He proudly showed us the light dimmer arrangement he had made out of simple materials.

In my 1943 summer job as messenger for the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, I did see German prisoners disembarking from a ship and being assembled on the pier in preparation for loading on busses. They were all from the Afrika Korps and appeared tan and healthy.

After Italy’s capitulation, Italian prisoners were somewhat emancipated. They were given more freedom of movement and were assigned jobs around the Army bases. They soon earned recognition as wonderful cooks and there was much talk about the great improvement in Army food. I remember some soldiers at the message center saying that the Italians were doing all the mess hall work and the regular Army cooks were trying to look busy to avoid being declared surplus and shipped overseas.

Fred Field was not the only American to notice the appearance of the German prisoners. Carrie Belle Carter, who, according to her son, did not talk much about the German POW’s, described them as “tall, lean, blonde, and pleasant to look at.”

In addition to the Newport News POW Camps discussion page, an online article, “HAMPTON ROADS HISTORY – World War II POWs poured through Hampton Roads,” shed some light on this aspect of our World War II history.

The article explains why so many German and Italian prisoners of war were sent here to the States and explains the procedures followed for processing the prisoners once they arrived on our shores.

In August 1942, some 273,000 captured German and Italian soldiers overwhelmed Great Britain’s North Africa holding pens. The United States was urged to take as many as 150,000 prisoners on one to three months notice.

First the U.S. government sent many of the POW’s to compounds in Canada, and then to camps in isolated areas of the Southwestern United States. But within a month of the Allies’ agreement, Hampton Roads, as the U.S. Army’s Port of Embarkation for North Africa and the Mediterranean, processed its first group of German POW’s.

In the article, author Mark St. John Erickson noted that “Wehrmacht soldiers” … “guarded by MPs wielding submachine guns, … filled out paperwork aboard the transport ships with the aid of port interpreters, then filed down the gangways to be searched and questioned at stations set up inside the warehouses on the piers.”

I believe this is how Carrie Belle Carter contributed to the war effort in Newport News, by being a part of the continual processing of arriving German prisoners. I think it is likely that her work involved checking in the German POW’s at one of these stations in the warehouses set up on the piers.

How do you think Carrie and other Americans felt about, as discussion page contributor Bill Lee noted, seeing “the enemy” among them on a daily basis? And would it be more difficult for Carrie to continue her work after her future husband, Harry Allen Liniger, went missing on a heavy bomber mission over Germany, and she eventually learned he was a prisoner of war?

Sources

Thank you to Harry Liniger, Jr., son of Harry Allen Liniger and Carrie Belle Carter Liniger, for sharing his family stories from WWII

Author and researcher Kathy Kirkpatrick and her POW publications

POW Camps in the USA courtesy of Kathy Kirkpatrick and GenTracer

POW Camps Map courtesy of Kathy Kirkpatrick and GenTracer

POW Camps in Virginia courtesy of Kathy Kirkpatrick and GenTracer

The Newport News WWII POW Camps courtesy of the Newport News High School Class of 1965

Article “HAMPTON ROADS HISTORY – World War II POWs poured through Hampton Roads” by author Mark St. John Erickson

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 4

Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner for the James Brodie crew. Photo courtesy of son Harry Liniger, Jr.

A new search and additional information from his son, Harry, Jr., have provided me with some new information regarding Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII. He was an original member of the crew and on board Brodie’s B-17 on the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. 

To view my original post and other information about Harry Allen Liniger, please see the links at the end of this post.


Harry Allen Liniger, Update continued…

This is the last part of my Harry Allen Liniger, Update article and will cover Harry’s return home, release from military service, and post WWII life.

For a recap of the story of the 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee crew and Brodie crew B-17’s in which Harry Liniger was one of only four survivors, read 384th Bomb Group pilot Wallace Storey’s account here.

Germany Surrenders

On 7 May 1945, Germany surrendered to the western Allies at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Headquarters in Reims, France. German Chief-of-Staff, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender, to take effect the following day.

On 8 May 1945, V-E (Victory in Europe) Day was declared as German troops continued to surrender to the Allies throughout Europe.

Harry Allen Liniger’s Return Home from World War II Military Service

According to Harry’s Honorable Discharge and Separation Record, he departed the European Theater on 27 May 1945, destination US, and arrived back on U.S. soil on 9 June 1945.

Harry’s POW Story in his Own Words

Shortly after his arrival home, the Gates County [North Carolina] Index newspaper interviewed Harry about his POW experience and published the following article in the 13 June 1945 edition of the paper.

~*~

Liniger Home; Lost 60 Pounds As War Prisoner in Germany

Gatesville. – Having gained back the 60 pounds he lost as a German prisoner of war, Sgt. Harry Liniger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger of Gatesville, is back in town on a 60-day recuperation furlough. At the expiration of his furlough he will report to Miami for further assignment.

Sgt. Liniger, waist gunner aboard a Flying Fortress, parachuted to earth in Germany last September when his Fortress was in [a] collision with another Fortress which had been riddled by anti-aircraft fire. Of the 20 men aboard the two Fortresses, only Harry and three others survived.

The navigator [Brodie crew airman George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.] suffered fractures of both legs, but more than ten days elapsed before he could get medical attention. Harry suffered a back injury and various cuts and bruises. He was in jail within four hours after landing, he said.

He would not have escaped from the crippled plane had it not exploded, the sergeant added. The blast blew him out of the turret and he retained consciousness long enough to open his parachute.

Without Shoes

He landed without shoes, was given one issue of clothing which he wore for the next several months and subsided on three potatoes a day and half a loaf of bread per week supplemented by occasional Red Cross supplies. Diseases, dysentery and marching during the evacuation when Russia started its drive, took its toll of American prisoners, Harry said.

While they were marched in an effort to keep out of reach of Russian liberators, 500 or more would go to sleep in a barn and leave 50 or 60 who could not go on the next morning. The Germans said the disabled men would be hospitalized. Harry could not say whether they were or not.

Harry weighed only 98 pounds when he again reached Allied military control. He regained his normal weight within 30 days at a French rest camp.

Harry and thousands of others escaped when the collapse of Nazi Germany appeared eminent, but he was in a group recaptured by German troops who were scheduled to surrender the following day. But on the following day, the regiment got orders to continue fighting at the Elbe River.

At one time, the American escapees were within sound of front line gun fire but German machine guns drove them back to cover.

As prisoners, the men were permitted to write a letter a month. He did not receive a letter during the whole time he was imprisoned, and Red Cross supplies did not come through with regularity, he said.

Harry holds the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Ribbon, American theatre of operations Ribbon, and the European theatre of operations ribbon with four campaign stars, representing the Air War, the battles of Norway and Southern France and the battle of Germany.

Article courtesy of the Gates County Index newspaper online archives and contributed by the Albemarle Regional Library System, Gates County Public Library

~*~

This newspaper article was a great find. It confirms many things I have believed to be true and many things I can conclude about my own father’s POW experience that I have only assumed. My father, George Edwin Farrar, who was one of the other three survivors Harry mentions, was held in the same POW camp and forced on the same march. Dad likely was fed the same diet and suffered a similar loss of weight.

However, I don’t believe Dad was part of the group of American escapees Harry mentions. I would like to learn more about Harry’s escape and recapture experience, though. I imagine I can find similar stories from other Stalag Luft IV prisoners in some of their books and diaries. As often happens in my research, one find triggers a new search, and I’ll keep looking.

Just a couple of minor corrections to the article:

  • Eighteen men were aboard the two fortresses, not twenty
  • Harry was in the waist of the plane, not one of the turrets

One thing I must comment on, though, is regarding Harry’s mention that he did not receive a letter during his imprisonment. Don’t think his parents, sister, or future wife didn’t write to him. I am quite certain they wrote as soon as they received an address for him. They wouldn’t have learned he was a prisoner of war, or where he was held captive, or obtain an address to write to him until late December 1944.

Under normal circumstances, letters between families and prisoners took months to deliver. But Harry was marched out of the POW camp on February 6, 1945. Letters were probably on their way to him, but never made it into his hands. By the time a letter would have arrived at Stalag Luft IV, Harry was no longer held there. And mail certainly wasn’t delivered to the prisoners on the road during their 500-mile 86-day long march.

Marriage

Seven weeks after returning home, Harry married his sweetheart, Carrie Bell Carter. The Gates County Index newspaper published an article upon the news of their marriage.

On 1 August 1945, Dillon, South Carolina: “Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Carter of Gatesville, N.C. announce the marriage of their daughter, Carrie Belle, to Staff Sergeant Harry A. Liniger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger, also of Gatesville. The wedding took place in Dillon on July 26. … They will leave Gatesville on August 11 for Miami Beach when Sgt. Liniger is scheduled to report for duty.”

Japan Surrenders

Just days before Harry and Carrie were to leave for Miami, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan, on Hiroshima on 6 August and on Nagasaki on 9 August. On 14 August, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender. Surrender documents would not be signed until 2 September. Some consider the 14 August 1945 date to be V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, but others consider 2 September 1945, when the surrender document was signed, to be V-J Day.

Reassignment Processing

According to the 1 August newspaper article, Harry Liniger left home on 11 August. He and his new wife Carrie traveled to Miami Beach for his reassignment processing. Their son, Harry Jr., shared this photo with me.

Harry Allen and Carrie Belle Carter Liniger (on the far right) at the 5 O’Clock Club, Miami Beach, Florida

I am uncertain of their arrival date in Miami, but the Gates County Index published another article reporting Harry’s arrival.

On 22 August 1945, Miami Beach, Florida: “S/Sgt. Harry A. Liniger, 21, of Gatesville, N.C. has arrived at Army Air Forces Redistribution Station No. 2 in Miami Beach for reassignment processing after completing a tour of duty outside the continental United States. During his processing, he is housed in an ocean-front hotel and enjoys abundant facilities for rest and recreation in this year-round beneficial climate.”

Release from Military Service

Honorable Discharge/Separation

With the war with Germany and Japan over, I am not sure how long Harry and Carrie remained in Miami, but according to his separation document, Harry Liniger was honorably discharged from military service on 31 October 1945 (his Date of Separation) at Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina.

Some of the notable information on Harry’s Honorable Discharge includes:

  • His Military Occupational Specialty and No. as Airplane Armorer Gunner 612.
  • His Military Qualification as AAF Air Crew Member Badge (Wings)
  • His Battles and Campaigns as Southern France, Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland
  • His Decorations and Citations as European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars, 1 Overseas Service Bar, Good Conduct Medal, and Air Medal. (Not listed on his Honorable Discharge are his Purple Heart, WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and Prisoner of War Medal).
  • His Total Length of Continental Service was 1 year, 7 months, and 22 days.
  • His Total Length of Foreign Service was 11 months and 9 days.
  • For his Service outside the Continental U.S., he departed the U.S. on 1 July 1944, Destination European Theater, arriving 5 July 1944. He departed the European Theater on 27 May 1945, Destination US, arriving 9 June 1945.
  • He attended Radio School at Scott Field, Illinois, and Gunnery School at Harlingen, Texas.

Post-World War II Life

Ocala, Florida

On his Honorable Discharge/Separation document, I found another piece of interesting information. Harry’s permanent address for mailing purposes was listed as Box 251 Gatesville, NC, but handwritten beside that was the address “Municipal Trailer Park Ocala, Fla.”

Harry’s parents, Paul and Estella Liniger, lived for a time in Ocala and Harry and Carrie spent time there with them, enough so that Harry included the address on his Honorable Discharge/Separation document.

I have been living in Ocala for the past ten years and was curious if the trailer park still existed and where it is/was located.

I found that the Ocala Municipal Trailer Park no longer exists, but that it was formerly located at 517 Northeast 9th Street, Ocala, FL, directly north of Ocala’s Tuscawilla Park, near where one of the city’s premier entertainment venues, the Reilly Arts Center, is located today.

The trailer park opened in 1937 to house WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers. The WPA was an American New Deal agency that employed millions of jobseekers to carry out public works projects. The trailer park was also reported to be intended for visitors to the area who were expected to stay on a short-term basis, but became very popular with longer-term visitors and residents.

Closing and eventually demolishing the park stretched over a three-year period beginning in 2007, displacing the ninety people who lived there.

The property is currently divided into two uses: one, a parking lot for The Reilly Arts Center, and two, the home of the Ocala Skate Park (for skateboarding, in-line skating, and freestyle bicycling).

I had never been aware that the parking lot where my husband and I park when we attend shows at the Reilly are at the very spot where Harry and Carrie Liniger stayed with his parents after World War II.

While in Ocala, Harry worked at an alligator farm. The name of the gator farm is unknown, but perhaps Harry worked for Ross Allen, the noted herpetologist, at the Ross Allen Reptile Institute on land near the head of Silver Springs. The reptile institute attracted thousands of tourists to Silver Springs for many decades.

Harry Liniger worked at a Gator Farm in Ocala, FL after the war

and

Carrie Liniger at a Gator Farm in Ocala, FL after the war

and

Harry and Carrie Liniger in Ocala, FL after the war

Harry and Carrie’s son, Harry Liniger, Jr., visited his grandparents in Ocala when he was twelve years old. He said, “When I was 12 years old my mother put me on a train by myself to visit my grandparents in Ocala. They took me to Silver Springs for a visit. It may have been special to them. They lived in a trailer park and I remember playing shuffleboard every day.”

Post-World War II

Harry and Carrie Liniger later moved to Portsmouth, Virginia and in 1946, Harry and Carrie were blessed with a son, Harry Jr.

Still in the early years of his marriage, and when Harry Jr. was only fourteen months old, Harry Liniger died in an accident in Portsmouth on 8 October 1947 at the age of 23.

He is buried in the Powells Point Christian Church Cemetery in Harbinger, Currituck County, North Carolina, along with his parents and sister.

Carrie passed away October 5, 2011, and is buried in the Carter family plot in Gatesville, NC, less than 100 yards from the house in which she was born.

Notes

Thank you to Harry Liniger, Jr. for sharing these stories from his family history.

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 1

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 2

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 3

Previous post, Harry Liniger, Waist Gunner for the Brodie Crew

Previous post, Harry Liniger – After the War

Previous post, Boarding a Train

Harry Allen Liniger’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Harry Allen Liniger’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives

Harry Liniger’s POW record in the online National Archives

Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

Dave Osborne’s Fortlog

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Brodie Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

Missing Air Crew Report 9366 for the Brodie crew on 28 September 1944 courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Missing Air Crew Report 9753 for the Buslee crew on 28 September 1944, courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Harry Allen Liniger on Find a Grave

Gates County Index newspaper articles courtesy of Digital North Carolina newspapers

13 June 1945 edition of the Gates County [North Carolina] Index newspaper

Several articles in the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper covered the trailer park over several years:

Excluding the Gates County Index newspaper article, © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 3

Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner for the James Brodie crew. Photo courtesy of son Harry Liniger, Jr.

A new search and additional information from his son, Harry, Jr., have provided me with some new information regarding Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII. He was an original member of the crew and on board Brodie’s B-17 on the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. 

To view my original post and other information about Harry Allen Liniger, please see the links at the end of this post.


Harry Allen Liniger, Update continued…

This part will cover Harry Allen Liniger’s MIA (Missing in Action) and POW (Prisoner of War) experience.

The Mid-air Collision

On 28 September 1944, the B-17’s of the John Buslee crew and the James Brodie crew collided over Magdeburg, Germany. Rather than repeat the story of the collision, I will direct those who would like to read it to 384th Bomb Group pilot Wallace Storey’s account here.

Missing in Action

Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group note the following for Harry Allen Liniger: On 28 September 1944, on Mission 201 to Magdeburg, Germany (Target was Industry, Steelworks), Harry Allen Liniger, flying with the James Joseph Brodie crew, went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action).

Harry and the other airmen involved in the collision would remain missing until some word was heard, typically relayed from the Red Cross to the military, and from the military to the families, or next of kin, of the missing. Word did not travel quickly outside of wartime Germany to families waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.

The Gates County Index newspaper published two articles in the month of October with the only information available at the time.

On 18 October 1944: “Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger of Gatesville have been advised by the War Department that their son, Sgt. Harry Liniger, turret gunner on a Liberator bomber [correction: waist gunner on a Flying Fortress/B-17 bomber] is missing following a flight over Germany on September 28.”

On 25 October 1944: “Sgt. Harry A. Liniger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul W. Liniger of Gatesville, waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and recently awarded the Air Medal, is missing following a flight over Germany on September 28.”

A follow-up article in the same issue noted: “Award of the Air Medal for ‘exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in sustained bomber combat operations over enemy occupied Continental Europe’ to Sgt. Liniger was announced by an Eighth Air Force bomber station in England soon after news that he was missing reached Gatesville.

Waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, Sgt. Liniger was taking part in attacks being carried out against targets in Germany and the occupied areas by the American Air Forces. He was serving with a Fortress group that is a veteran unit on the European aerial front. Sgt. Liniger is 20 and was a student at Edwards Military Institute in Salemburg prior to entering the service.”

Prisoner of War

By December 1944, the Liniger family had received word that Harry was alive and a prisoner of war. The Germans allowed the POWs to write a limited number of postcards and letters home, but the mail could take several months to arrive.

For example, I have a letter my father wrote as a POW he dated 9 November 1944. Someone, probably my grandmother, noted on the letter that she received it over four months later on 23 March 1945.

Initial postcards the POWs sent home within a short time after capture looked like this postcard of my father’s.

Harry Liniger wrote his card just two days before my dad, who was hospitalized following capture, on 3 October. (I don’t believe POW’s were allowed to tell their families they were not in good health, hence unable to note he was seriously wounded and could not walk).

The Gates County Index newspaper published an article on 20 December 1944, so these first post cards likely took two months to reach the families.

On 20 December 1944: “Mrs. Paul W. Liniger of Gatesville recently received another card from her son, S/Sgt. Harry Liniger, prisoner of war of the German government. The sergeant said that he was in good health and was being moved to another prison camp. The card was dated October 3, five days after the Flying Fortress of which he was a crew member, was forced down into Nazi occupied Europe.”

Prison Camp

In Nazi Germany, Allied prisoners of war were confined to separate prison camps based on at least two criteria. Those held captive from various nationality air forces, airmen were kept in “Luft” stalags. Officers and enlisted men were also separated into different camps. Of the four survivors of the 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee and Brodie B-17’s, one was an officer and three were enlisted.

The officer, George Marshall Hawkins, Brodie crew navigator, was seriously injured and served his entire POW internment in a POW hospital. If he had not been injured, he would have been assigned to an officer’s POW camp. The three enlisted men, George Farrar of the Buslee crew, and Wilfred Miller and Harry Liniger of the Brodie crew, were all assigned to Stalag Luft IV. Farrar spent the first two months of captivity in a hospital, but was then placed in the camp in late November 1944.

I discovered George Farrar and Wilfred Miller on the same camp roster, a Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster, placing both of them in the same Lager of the camp. I have been unable to find Harry Liniger’s name on any of the available rosters, though. It is possible that he was held in Lager A, B, or C, but looking through the Lager D roster more closely, I believe a page could be missing between scanned pages 37 (which ends with Lewis) and 38 (which begins with Lissendrello) where Harry Liniger possibly could be included alphabetically in this list.

Harry Allen Liniger’s POW number was #3818. His son, Harry, Jr., found the number in his grandmother’s war time diary along with her son’s POW address. Harry, Jr. says Estella Liniger’s diary was pretty simple, but held a lot of valuable information. “It had the addresses from all my dad’s duty stations, the address for the Red Cross in Switzerland and a few others. One entry said she received my dad’s Air Medal in the mail. It mentioned receiving a couple of letters from dad saying he was ok. She also wrote out her prayerful thoughts on some days.”

The March

Harry Allen Liniger was one of the Stalag Luft IV POW’s marched out of the prison camp on February 6, 1945 to begin the 500-day 86-mile march of prisoners across Germany. One day, Harry Liniger, Jr., opened his father’s New Testament and found a note his dad had written on cigarette paper.

Harry had recorded a horrific train ride to which the prisoners were subjected on their journey. This note confirms an event in the historical record of the march, the memory of which likely haunted the men on the train for the rest of their lives.

On another day, Harry Jr. showed the note to his daughter and she decided to look through the book. She found a list on the inside cover that looked like Harry was adding up his back pay while in captivity. There was also a man’s name, Charles Gleason, ASN 32718483, and a New York address of 200 E. 81st St., printed in the back.

Charles Gleason’s POW record in the online National Archives notes that he was held in Stalag Luft IV. Charles was a left waist gunner with the 97th Bomb Group, 340th Bomb Squadron, of the 15th AF based in Amendola, Italy in the Province of Foggia. [Note: Between 17 August 1942 and 21 October 1942, the 97th Bomb Group flew from Polebrook and Grafton Underwood with the 8th Air Force].

Charles Albert Gleason was 5’8″ tall, weighed 145 pounds, had gray eyes, blonde hair, and a light complexion. He registered for the draft on 15 February 1942. His place of residence was 200 E. 81 St., New York, NY and he was born on 29 June 1921 in New York, NY.

Federal Census records from 1930 and 1940 note that Charles’ father was Charles A. Gleason, Sr., his mother was Katherine (or Catherine, possibly with the maiden name of Kelly). He had two older sisters, Dorothy and Rita. His father died in 1936, leaving Charles’ mother a widow.

Charles Gleason went MIA on the 97th Bomb Group’s 23 October 1944 mission to the Pilsen, Czechoslovakia Skoda Works in B-17 42-31709. The missing air crew report, MACR9513, notes the cause as flak.

Ten men of the Josie Francis Flotz (Durham, NC) crew – Paul Eugene Rominger (Ohio), Leon Joseph Cooning, Jr., Wallace John Lameweaver, Robert T. Oakes, Dalton John Cormier, Charles Albert Gleason, Clifton Edward Huffman (or Hoffman of Palestine, WV), John David Lawson (Osborne, KS), and Richard Arthur Leonard (Dayton, OH) – all were captured and became prisoners of war.

MACR9513 notes that at a location of 4915N/1257E, the Flotz crew’s B-17 was observed “Straggling after target run. Result of enemy aircraft and damaged by flak or defect in oxygen.”

An airman who was an eyewitness, Sgt. Glenn W. Troutman, reported, “After completing the target run, I saw aircraft #709 straggling, because of a hit by flak or some other damage to aircraft.” Crew member Clifton E. Huffman reported: “All ten [crew] members bailed out shortly after losing three engines over target. Saw all crew members at Frankfort interrogation center.” The pilot, Josie F. Foltz, Jr., reported that they were over the target (just after Rally) when they left the formation. He added “All crew members bailed out approx. the same time & about 50 to 100 mi. SE of target near Eger, Germany.”

Charles Gleason was able to evade for a day, but was captured on 24 October 1944 at 17:30 (5:30 in the evening) near Maerzdorf dist. in Kaaden (Kadaň), a town in the Chomutov District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czechoslovakia.

I expected to find Harry Liniger and Charles Gleason on the same POW roster from Stalag Luft IV. Coming from bomb groups that were not based even in the same country, Liniger in England and Gleason in Italy, I can’t imagine where they would have met if not in the prison camp or on the march.

However, I do not find their names in any list together. I do find Charles Gleason listed in the roster on page 74 of the POW book “Barbed Boredom – A Souvenir Book of Stalag Luft IV” by Charles G. Janis. He is listed as “Gleason C 200 E 81st St New York N.Y.” Harry is not found in this list. The author of “Barbed Boredom,” Charles Janis, was held POW in Lager D, the lager where I know George Farrar and Wilfred Miller were both held. However, neither of their names appear on Janis’ list either. And in the roster where I do find Farrar’s and Miller’s names on, the Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster, I do not find Charles Gleason, Harry Liniger, or Charles Janis.

Charles Gleason’s POW record indicates his last report date was 9 July 1945. Harry Liniger’s last report date was 31 May 1945. George Farrar’s last report date was closer to Gleason’s. Farrar’s was 13 July 1945. Farrar had an extended hospital stay following his liberation and perhaps Gleason did as well as both returned home much later than Harry Liniger.

Charles Albert Gleason died April 20, 2001 at the age of 79.

I have shared this information about Charles Albert Gleason because he must have been important to Harry Liniger during their confinement as POW’s during World War II. If any family members of Charles Gleason have any information about this time in his life, please contact me.

Liberation

The Gates County Index newspaper published several articles upon the news of Harry Liniger’s liberation.

On 30 May 1945: “Sgt. Harry Liniger, waist gunner on a Flying Fortress shot down over enemy occupied Europe many months ago, has been liberated from a German prison camp, according to information reaching his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger, through the Red Cross.”

On 6 June 1945, Gatesville: “Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger have received an Army Signal Corps message from their son, Sgt. Harry Liniger, liberated prisoner in Europe, telling them, ‘At the rate I am moving, I will be home in a few months.’ They also received a telegram from the War Department saying that Sgt. Liniger was returned to military control on May 2.”

On 28 May 1945, upon the receipt of the telegram of her son’s liberation and return to military control, Estella Liniger recorded her last prayerful thoughts in her diary, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”.

Notes

Thank you to Keith Ellefson for obtaining Charles Gleason’s missing air crew report for me.

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 1

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 2

Previous post, Harry Liniger, Waist Gunner for the Brodie Crew

Previous post, Harry Liniger – After the War

Previous post, Boarding a Train

Harry Allen Liniger’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Harry Allen Liniger’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives

Harry Liniger’s POW record in the online National Archives

Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

Dave Osborne’s Fortlog

Charles Gleason’s POW record in the National Archives

Missing Air Crew Report 9366 for the Brodie crew on 28 September 1944 courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Missing Air Crew Report 9753 for the Buslee crew on 28 September 1944, courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Gates County Index newspaper articles courtesy of Digital North Carolina newspapers

97th Bomb Group courtesy of the American Air Museum in Britain

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 2

Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner for the James Brodie crew. Photo courtesy of son Harry Liniger, Jr.

A new search and additional information from his son, Harry, Jr., have provided me with some new information regarding Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII. He was an original member of the crew and on board Brodie’s B-17 on the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. 

To view my original post and other information about Harry Allen Liniger, please see the links at the end of this post.


Harry Allen Liniger, Update continued…

This part will cover Harry Allen Liniger’s entry into military service, stateside training, and overseas combat duty.

Harry Allen Liniger’s Entry into Military Service

Military School

Although I was unable to find a 1940 census record for the Liniger family, I believe in 1940, 384th Bomb Group waist gunner Harry Allen Liniger was likely living in Salemburg, Sampson County, North Carolina. He attended Edwards Military Institute in Salemburg.

Harry graduated from Edwards on 22 May 1942 and turned eighteen that summer. His diploma notes he “completed the course of study prescribed for graduation from the High School Department.” If he attended the school for four years, he would have been there since the Fall of 1938.

Left to right: Harry Allen Liniger and Dink Bishop
Edwards Military Institute Graduation
Photo courtesy of Harry Liniger, Jr.

This postcard picture of the Edwards Military Institute at Salemburg, Sampson County, NC is from “North Carolina Postcards” of the North Carolina Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Edwards Military Institute, Salemburg, NC
Photo courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The school, more recently known as Southwood College, was founded in 1874. From 1935 to 1965, two institutions, Edwards Military Institute and Pineland College, both operated on the same site. In 1965, the institutions became Southwood College, which closed in 1973.

Draft Registration

On 11 December 1942, Harry Liniger registered for the WWII draft at the Local Board No. 1 at the National Guard Armory in Edenton, North Carolina. He listed his place of residence as Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina. Harry’s place of employment was Marine Air Base in Edenton. He was 18 years old and born on 9 August 1924 in Steubenville, Ohio.

P.W. Liniger (Harry’s father Paul) of Gatesville, North Carolina was the person who would always know his address.

Harry described himself as 5′ 7″ tall, 150 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. He noted a scar on his inside right wrist as an “other obvious physical characteristic that will aid in identification.”

Enlistment

On 24 March 1943, Harry enlisted in WWII at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and was inducted into military service as of this date. Harry’s enlistment record notes his residence as Gates County, North Carolina, and that he was born in Ohio in 1924. According to his enlistment record, his civilian occupation was “paymasters, payroll clerks, and timekeepers.”

One week later, 31 March 1943, was Harry’s date of entry into Active Service at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina (according to his Honorable Discharge).

Training in the States

The Gates County Index newspaper reported two significant events in Harry’s stateside training.

On 12 April 1944, Harlingen Army Air Field, Texas: “Harry Liniger … was graduated this week at this field as an aerial gunner and was awarded his silver wings. … [Next] he will join an aerial combat team…”

On 20 September 1944, Army Air Field, Oklahoma: “Pfc. Harry Liniger … has completed final phase training as aerial gunner of a heavy bombardment unit at the 222nd Combat Crew Training Station, 2nd Army Air Force.”

Other stateside training stations for Harry included basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 613 Training Group at St.  Petersburg, Florida, 403 Training Group at Miami Beach, Florida, and Academic Squadron 1 at Scott Field, Illinois.

WWII Combat Duty at Grafton Underwood, England

Harry Allen Liniger’s 384th Bomb Group Individual Sortie record indicates that his duty was Arm-Gunner, one month’s pay was $140.40, and his home address was Mrs. Estelle Prysock Liniger, Box 251, Gatesville, NC.

Harry was credited with sixteen combat missions with the 384th Bomb Group, from his first on 7 August 1944 to his last on 28 September 1944.

Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group indicate the following for Harry Allen Liniger:

  • On 26 JULY 1944, Corporal Harry Allen Liniger was assigned to the 384th Bombardment Group, 545th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated 26 July 1944 as a waist gunner (classification AAG, Airplane Armorer/Gunner, with the MOS, military operational specialty, of 611).
  • On 2 AUGUST 1944, Corporal Harry Allen Liniger was promoted to Sergeant per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #155.
  • On 28 SEPTEMBER 1944, on Mission 201 to Magdeburg, Germany (Target was Industry, Steelworks), Harry Allen Liniger, flying with the James Joseph Brodie crew, went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action). He was subsequently declared POW (Prisoner of War).

The Gates County Index newspaper was quick to report Harry’s 2 August promotion to Sergeant.

On 23 August 1944: “Harry Liniger, now in England, has been promoted to sergeant.” Their source was a letter Harry wrote to his sister, identified as Mrs. Wesley Parker of Gatesville.

Side Note: From Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 1, remember one of the lodgers living with the Liniger family during the recording of the 1930 census? Ancestry transcribed the name as Parker Westley, but apparently his correct full name was Jonathan Wesley Parker. He and Harry’s sister Eileen married that same year of the census on 8 August 1930. Wesley was 22 years old and Eileen was 14 according to their ages as recorded in the 1930 Federal census.

More about Harry Liniger and his MIA/POW experience in my next post…

Notes

Previous post, Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 1

Previous post, Harry Liniger, Waist Gunner for the Brodie Crew

Previous post, Harry Liniger – After the War

Previous post, Boarding a Train

Harry Allen Liniger’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Harry Allen Liniger’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives

Harry Liniger’s POW record in the online National Archives

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Brodie Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

Missing Air Crew Report 9366 for the Brodie crew on 28 September 1944 courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Missing Air Crew Report 9753 for the Buslee crew on 28 September 1944, courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Edwards Military Institute – North Carolina Postcards Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Southwood College, previously Edwards Military Institute and Pineland College

Gates County Index newspaper articles courtesy of Digital North Carolina newspapers

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Harry Allen Liniger, Update – Part 1

Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner for the James Brodie crew. Photo courtesy of son Harry Liniger, Jr.

A new search, and additional information from his son, Harry, Jr., have provided me with some new information regarding Harry Allen Liniger, waist gunner of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII. He was an original member of the Brodie crew and was one of the three survivors on Brodie’s B-17 in the mid-air collision on the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. 

To view my original post and other information about Harry Allen Liniger, please see the links at the end of this post.


Because I have so much new information to share after my latest research into Harry Allen Liniger, this update will be presented in multiple parts. First up, some background about the Liniger family.

The Liniger Family

The 384th Bomb Group waist gunner, Harry Allen Liniger, was born in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio on 9 August 1924 to father Paul Whitney Liniger (1889 – 1960) and mother Estella Jeanette Prysock Liniger (1893 – 1973). Paul and Estella married on 17 February 1912 in Belmont, Ohio. Harry had an older sister, Eileen May Liniger (1916 – 1972).

Harry first appears in the Federal Census in 1930 as a 5-year-old. He, his parents, and sister (all listed with the last name misspelled “Lianeger” and with his sister’s name misspelled “Oleen”), lived in Lynnhaven, Princess Anne County, Virginia. Paul was the Head of Household and 41 years old. Also included in the Liniger’s household were Estella (wife, age 36), Eileen (daughter, age 14), and Harry (son, age 5).

Also living in the Liniger household were Paul’s brother Harry A. (age 43), sister Mary (age 45), and two lodgers, Conard Ginon (age 32) and Parker Westly (age 22). Other than the two lodgers, all were recorded as born in Ohio. All, including the Liniger’s children Eileen and Harry, were recorded with the occupation of Showman or Show woman in a Traveling Circus.

384th Bomb Group waist gunner Harry Allen Liniger at 3 years old
Photo courtesy of his son, Harry Allen Liniger, Jr.

Going back twenty years, and two years before he and Estella married, Paul Liniger (misspelled Linneger, age 20), is recorded in the 1910 Federal Census as living in Pultney Township, Belmont County, Ohio with his father John (age 56, occupation – engineer on a ferry boat), his mother Sarah (age 46, no occupation), and brother Harry (age 23). Both Paul and Harry were listed with the occupation of Acrobat in the Circus. [Note: John Liniger is recorded under the name “William Liniger” on the 1900 Federal Census].

Beginning a career in the circus at least as far back as 1910 with the Liniger brothers in their early twenties, they went on to have their own show and eventually their own circus.

In 1916, the “Liniger Bros. & O’Wesney Shows” was described as a new show in the amusement world that was destined to be a big success. The staff was identified as Paul Liniger (manager), Ray Owesney (secretary-treasurer), and Harry Liniger (equestrian director), among others. Also of note was the comment that “Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Liniger will learn with delight that the stork paid them a visit on May 11 and left a ten-pound baby girl. [Billboard, May 20, 1916, p. 62, Classic Circus History – Liniger Brothers.]

Paul Liniger in his areal uniform
Photo courtesy of his grandson Harry Allen Liniger, Jr.

In 1917, the “Liniger Bros.’ Combined Shows” big show program consisted of nineteen numbers, including the Three Liniger Brothers, and many other comedy, acrobatic, animal, and other acts. The transportation included six wagons and other vehicles. The brand new “canvas” included the big top – a “50,” and a “35” and two “20s.” Staff included, among others, Paul W. Liniger (manager), Mrs. Paul W. Liniger (ticket taker), and Harry Liniger (boss canvasman). [Billboard, June 2, 1917, p. 26, Classic Circus History – Liniger Brothers.]

The Liniger Brothers
Photo courtesy of Harry Allen Liniger, Jr.

In 1918, the show did not go on, “Owing to the fact that Harry Liniger, of the Liniger Bros. Shows, has been drafted and is somewhere in France, the show did not take the road this season.” [Billboard, August 10, 1918, p. 24, Classic Circus History – Liniger Brothers.]

In a 1920 entry found on the Classic Circus History website of the Circus Historical Society, in the Billboard Excerpts 1920 – 1922, Harry was described as having been a clown in the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces). Harry served in WWI, enlisting on 27 May 1918.

According to the Ohio Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in WWI, Harry spent part of his military service in WWI in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.), from 22 July 1918 to 23 February 1919. The Showman certainly took his show on the road in World War I! Harry’s military service release date, when he received an honorable discharge, was on 6 May 1919. [Read more about this aspect of the A.E.F. on The World War History and Art Museum website, “The Circus Goes to War – Show Business and the Armed Forces of World War I.”]

Harry Liniger of the Liniger Brothers Circus on the left, unidentified on the right
Photo courtesy of his great-nephew Harry Allen Liniger, Jr.

I did not find a 1920 Federal Census record for the Liniger’s, but I found another record of their involvement in the circus during the 1920’s on the Classic Circus History website of the Circus Historical Society. The Billboard Excerpts 1920 – 1922 notes that the brothers performed as the “Liniger Brothers” in the circus in that timeframe.

In 1921, Paul and Harry were with the Rhoda Royal show, “one on the sailor rope and the other in clown alley,” and in a later article, Harry Liniger wrote that he left the Rhoda Royal Circus, and the “Liniger Bros. will be out next spring with their own vaudeville and picture show under canvas.” [Billboard Excerpts 1920 – 1922]

In 1922, Paul and Harry had their own Liniger Bros. Circus-Vaudeville Motorized Show. [Billboard Excerpts 1920 – 1922]. The staff included, among others, Liniger Bros. (proprietors), Paul Liniger (manager), Harry Liniger (operator) ; Stella Liniger (pianist), Paul, Jr. and Eileen Liniger (kid workers). The program included Harry Liniger, Paul, Jr., and Eileen Liniger in songs and dances, and comedy acrobats by the Liniger Bros. and Paul, Jr. [Billboard, July 15, 1922, p. 63, Classic Circus History – Liniger Brothers.]

The Liniger Brothers Circus Family
Photo courtesy of Harry Allen Liniger, Jr.

For 1925, the only archive record I find online is this archive from Circus World. It is an Archive Record Herald. A herald is a circus advertisement that was similar to a hand bill. Below is the header for the Liniger Bros.’ herald.

Photo courtesy of Circus World Archives

Please check the Archive Record Herald link for images of the herald itself, both Side A –“WATER-PROOF TENTS” and Side B –“CASTLE’S CONGRESS OF ANIMAL ACTORS.” Among the “notable acts” are the “3 Liniger Brothers.”

After 1925, I know the show went on because the Liniger’s were recorded in the 1930 census with the occupations of Showman and Show woman in a traveling circus, but I find no other mentions of the Liniger Brothers in internet searches after this year. To learn more about the American circuses of this era, I may have to visit the Showmen’s Museum just south of Tampa, Florida.

The Showmen’s Museum is described as “Unlike other museums, the Showmen’s Museum houses decades of memories and history of carnivals and circuses of the past. Guests can stroll the 54,000-square-foot property and view the many artifacts, photographs and relics of the past.” Check their website for hours and ticket prices. 6938 Riverview Dr., Riverview, FL  33578, (813) 671-3503.

But I need to back up one year for a notable event in 1924. In 1924, the Liniger family grew by one. When Paul and Estella’s son was born in 1924, Paul named him for his brother – Harry Allen Liniger. The future 384th Bomb Group waist gunner grew up in a circus family whose many acts included everything from clowning to acrobatics and more. But for all the shows the Liniger’s performed, Paul’s son Harry would perform the most death defying act of any of them.

As a waist gunner on a B-17 heavy bomber, Harry celebrated his twentieth birthday on 9 August 1944 participating in his third combat mission of World War II. He risked his life on a total of sixteen combat missions, avoiding injury from enemy fighters and the ground fire of the German flak guns, until seven weeks after that birthday mission. On 28 September 1944, after his bomber and another of the 384th collided 25,000 feet above Madgeburg, Germany, Harry was propelled from the B-17 in an explosion that threw him from the ship.

If Harry had any flashbacks from his family’s circus days, he may have felt like he had been shot out of a cannon and was flying through the air, but not with the greatest of ease, no trapeze, and without a net to catch him and break his fall. Fortunately for Harry, his chest chute functioned properly and delivered him safely to the ground, although the “safely” part ended rather abruptly when he was taken into custody as a prisoner of war upon landing.

More about Harry Liniger and his military training and World War II service in my next post…

Notes

Previous post, Harry Liniger, Waist Gunner for the Brodie Crew

Previous post, Harry Liniger – After the War

Previous post, Boarding a Train

Harry Allen Liniger’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Harry Allen Liniger’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives

Harry Liniger’s POW record in the online National Archives

The World War History and Art Museum website, page “The Circus Goes to War – Show Business and the Armed Forces of World War I.”

Circus World Archive Record Herald

Parkinson’s Directory of American Circuses, 1916-1925, Classic Circus History from the Circus Historical Society – Liniger Brothers listing

Classic Circus History from the Circus Historical Society – Liniger Brothers

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

The Loss of the Brodie Crew on 28 September 1944

Last week I wrote about The Loss of the Buslee Crew on 28 September 1944. This week I want to explore the Brodie crew’s losses on that day.

We are just past the seventy-eighth anniversary of the 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee crew’s and Brodie crew’s B-17’s over Magdeburg, Germany. Killed in Action on this day were original Brodie crewmembers James Brodie (pilot), Lloyd Vevle (co-pilot), Robert Crumpton (engineer/top turret gunner), and Gordon Hetu (ball turret gunner). Original crew members George Hawkins (navigator), Wilfred Miller (tail gunner), and Harry Liniger (waist gunner) became prisoners of war.

Two more airmen were also killed aboard the Brodie B-17, men who were from different crews, but were flying with Brodie that day. They were Byron Atkins (togglier) and Donald Dooley (radio operator).

Original Brodie crew waist gunner Leonard Opie had been transferred after his third mission with the group. The crew’s original radio operator, William Taylor, became a POW on his twenty-first mission one week later, on 5 October 1944 (seventy-eight years ago today). The crew’s bombardier, William Barnes, was the only one of the original Brodie crew to complete his tour of thirty-five missions and return home without serious injury, death, or capture by the enemy.

When you look at the statistics for this one original B-17 crew of ten airmen from World War II, four were killed in action, four became prisoners of war, one transferred, and only one completed his tour without serious injury, death, or capture.

The statistics for the original Brodie crew:

  • Killed in Action 40%
  • Prisoner of War 40%
  • Transferred 10%
  • Returned home without major incident (or transfer) 10%

As I mentioned last week, remember, these boys weren’t just “statistics.” They were sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. They were from all over the United States, some from farming communities, some from big cities, and everywhere in between. But regardless of their differences, ten young men came together to create one cohesive air crew, and they would fight, even to their deaths, to protect their families and country.

To learn more about each of these airmen of World War II, visit my permanent page, The Buslee and Brodie Crews, which is continuously updated with new information.


At this point, I want to note a few more grim statistics for these twenty airmen, ten from the original Buslee crew and ten from the original Brodie crew.

Nine of the twenty airmen were killed in combat, eight young men only in their twenties, and one at only nineteen years of age.

Adding in those who survived the war,

  • One died in his teens 5%
  • Nine died in their twenties (including one post-war) 45%
  • One died in his forties 5%
  • Two died in their fifties 10%
  • Four died in their sixties 20%
  • Three died in their seventies 15%

None of the survivors lived to see eighty years old. The last surviving airman of the original Brodie crew, radio operator William Taylor died in 2002, the only one of both crews to live into the 2000’s.

None of the Buslee crew survivors lived past sixty-one years old. All of the enlisted men of the Buslee crew who had not died on 28 September 1944 died between 1980 and 1982, Clarence Seeley in 1980, Erwin Foster and Eugene Lucynski in 1981, and my dad, George Farrar, in 1982.

Not only was Dad the sole survivor on his B-17 on 28 September 1944, he was the last survivor of the original Buslee crew. I wonder if he knew.

Notes

Previous post, The Loss of the Buslee Crew on 28 September 1944

Permanent page, The Buslee and Brodie Crews

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

The Loss of the Buslee Crew on 28 September 1944

Buslee crew at Ardmore Army Airfield in Ardmore, Oklahoma shortly before leaving the States for combat duty in Europe.
Standing left to right: John Buslee (P), David Albrecht (CP), Chester Rybarczyk (N), Marvin Fryden (B)
Kneeling left to right,: Sebastiano Peluso (RO), Erwin Foster (BT), Clarence Seeley (TT), Lenard Bryant (WG)
Missing from this original crew photo are Eugene Lucynski (TG) and George Farrar (WG)
Photo courtesy of Sebastiano Peluso’s nephew, David Mesite

Today is the seventy-eighth anniversary of the 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee crew’s and Brodie crew’s B-17’s over Magdeburg, Germany. Killed in Action on this day were original Buslee crewmembers John Buslee (pilot), David Albrecht (co-pilot), Sebastiano Peluso (radio operator), and Lenard Bryant (top turret gunner). Original crewmember George Farrar (waist gunner) became a prisoner of war.

Four more airmen were also killed aboard the Buslee B-17, men who were from different crews, but were flying with Buslee that day. They were William Henson (navigator), Robert Stearns (bombardier), George McMann (ball turret gunner), and Gerald Andersen (tail gunner).

Original Buslee crew bombardier Marvin Fryden had been killed on the crew’s 5 August 1944 mission.

Other than my father, George Edwin Farrar, who became a POW on the 28 September 1944 mission, and liberated 2 May 1945, four other original Buslee crew members returned home after the end of the war. They were Chester Rybarczyk (navigator), Clarence Seeley (engineer), Erwin Foster (ball turret gunner), and Eugene Lucynski (tail gunner).

Both Clarence Seeley and Eugene Lucynski were seriously wounded in action. Seeley was able to recover from his injuries enough to return to combat duty and complete his missions, but Lucynski was not able to return to combat after being injured on his fourteenth mission.

When you look at the statistics for this one B-17 crew of ten airmen from World War II, five (half) were killed in action, two were seriously wounded in action, one became a prisoner of war, and only two completed their tours without serious injury, death, or capture by the enemy. It’s a very grim statistic which highlights the dangers faced by the airmen of World War II.

The statistics for the original Buslee crew:

  • Killed in Action 50%
  • Wounded in Action 20%
  • Prisoner of War 10%
  • Returned home without major incident 20%

Now remember, these boys weren’t just “statistics.” They were sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. They were from all parts of the United States, some of whose ancestors arrived in Colonial times and some of whose families were recent immigrants. They came from all walks of life. They had varying educations.

But they all had one purpose for serving their country and serving on this crew. They were all needed to help fight a war, to defeat Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and to regain the freedom and safety of citizens in Europe and assure its continuation in America.

For every loss of an airman or any other serviceman or woman, family members at home suffered. One family who suffered immensely was the family of the Buslee crew’s radioman, Sebastiano Joseph Peluso.

Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, Radio Operator/Gunner for the Buslee Crew

Waiting for word about the fate of their son after learning he was missing in action was pure torture for Sebastiano’s parents. Farrar’s parents learned he was alive and a prisoner of war on New Year’s Eve 1944, three months after the collision. Then, one by one, over the course of several months, the families of the other airmen aboard Buslee’s B-17 received the bad news that their sons and husbands had been killed on 28 September.

All except for Sebastiano Peluso’s parents. By the middle of July 1945, the Peluso’s still had no word regarding the fate of their son. I am not sure how long they did wait for the official word of his death, but the passage of time between that date and the notification that he had been declared missing on 28 September 1944 must have been excruciatingly slow for his father Giuseppe (Joseph), mother Antonetta, and two older sisters Sara and Gina.


Over the years of researching the men of both the Buslee and Brodie crews and their families, I have connected with many children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews of most of these airmen. I was overjoyed recently to connect with several Peluso family members, descendants of both of Sebastiano’s sisters, Sara and Gina.

Right at the tail end of August, I received a Facebook message request and was delighted to find a message from David Mesite along with the Ardmore crew photo. David is the son of Sebastiano Peluso’s sister Gina.

David also sent me a close-up of the photo of the boys at Ardmore.

Buslee crew at Ardmore Army Airfield in Ardmore, Oklahoma
Photo courtesy of Sebastiano Peluso’s nephew, David Mesite

I had seen the Ardmore crew photo once before, as published in an old 8th Air Force Magazine from September 2005. The magazine arrived courtesy of 384th Bomb Group NexGen, Paul Furiga, son of 384th BG bombardier Frank Furiga. Frank had saved the magazine because his friend, Buslee crew bombardier Marvin Fryden, was pictured on the cover. This was the first time I had seen a copy of the Ardmore photo that was used in the magazine.

Not pictured in this photo were tail gunner Eugene Lucynski and waist gunner George Farrar. The photo opportunity may have happened before the two were named to the crew, or perhaps they were just not around for the photo. Lucynski and Farrar were issued combat orders at the same time, 8 June 1944. Farrar, my dad, was a gunnery instructor at Ardmore at the time, so perhaps Lucynski was an instructor there as well, with both leaving their duty at Ardmore to go into combat in the European theater.

In his Facebook message, David Mesite told me that his daughter, also named Gina, found my The Arrowhead Club stories about Sebastiano and the Peluso family while performing an internet search of her grandmother’s name. David made the initial contact with me, but over the next week or so, I received e-mails from many more Peluso family members. I am happy to report that I now have connections with many of Sebastiano Peluso’s nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

I am pleased that information I shared from my research provided Sebastiano’s family with details about his military service and sacrifice of which they were not previously aware. And I am equally pleased to learn Sebastiano’s memory is honored by them all even though he died before they were born and never had the chance to meet or know him.

The Peluso family’s messages to me are heart-warming. I have learned how proud they are of Sebastiano and how grateful they are for his and his generation’s sacrifices during World War II.

I also understand something that this future generation of the Peluso family may not have considered. After reading and rereading all of their messages to me, and appreciating how grateful, compassionate, and talented the nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews are, I know Sebastiano would be equally, if not more, proud of them.

I won’t share the many messages I received from Peluso family members, but I hope Sebastiano’s niece Marianne doesn’t mind if I share her moving thoughts and touching reflection.

It is such a tragic story for all of us, in all of the families—yet, I feel better knowing that my uncle had wonderful friends and fellow soldiers right until the end. Again, many thanks to you and yours and please know that your love and care have helped us to grow closer as a family, and to honor the memory of our beloved uncle.

Left to right: George Edwin Farrar, Lenard Leroy Bryant, Erwin Vernon Foster, and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso.

Notes

Thank you David, Marianne, Gina, Bill and Gina, Kirsten, and Christopher for connecting and conveying your heartfelt messages. I know you all will keep your Uncle Sebastiano’s memory alive for generations to come.

Sebastiano Peluso

Peluso Family Letters

Previous post, Marilyn Fryden’s Letter and Photos Sixty Years Later

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

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