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Farrar Family in 1941

It was 1941. On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 8, the US declared war on Japan, entering WWII. On December 11, Hitler declared war on the United States. President Roosevelt then asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying, “Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.”

This was the year that life for this generation of Americans would change forever. This was the year that the Farrar’s took this family photo.

The Farrar family in 1941

Standing, back row, L to R: George Edwin (Ed, my dad), Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet Mae, Ozzie Couch (close family friend), Carroll Johnson Jr.
Standing, middle row, L to R: Martha Ann, Dorothy Gertrude (Dot) holding daughter Phyllis, Raleigh May, Carroll Johnson Sr.
Kneeling front row: Robert Burnham (Bob), Harold Eugene (Gene), Beverly Marie, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)
Not pictured: Nell Geraldine (Gerry)
Photo contributed by Joan Stephenson (Dot’s daughter)

My grandparents, Raleigh May and Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., had nine children twenty-seven years apart. The oldest was born in 1910 and the youngest in 1937. Of the nine children, four would be directly involved in the war effort, three sons and one daughter.

Nell Geraldine, the oldest child and first daughter, was born in 1910. Gerry married Wallace Mass in 1932 and moved to California. She was the only Farrar child to permanently move out of the state of Georgia and away from the closeness of the Farrar family.

Janet Mae was born in 1912. She married Bob Hunt (pictured) in 1936. During WWII, Janet joined the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft (known as Bell Bomber) in Marietta, Georgia, contributing at home to the war effort. She was hired as their very first policewoman in March 1943. Bell Bomber supplied the U.S. Army Air Forces with Boeing-designed B-29’s.

Carroll Johnson, Jr. was the first son, born in 1916. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on August 13, 1941. He served in Army Air Force Service Squadron 315 in the Pacific.

Dorothy Gertrude was born in 1919. She married Hugh Cobb in late 1936 or early 1937. Dot and Hugh followed in her parents’ footsteps and had nine children of their own. Included in the photo are the couples two oldest children, Denny and Phyllis.

George Edwin (my dad) was born in 1921. Ed enlisted June 4, 1942. He served in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the 384th Bomb Group as a waist gunner of a B-17 crew stationed in England. He was knocked down on his sixteenth mission and became a prisoner of war.

Robert Burnham was born in 1925. Bob enlisted in the Navy on May 8, 1943. He served in the Pacific on the USS Intrepid and was injured when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots on November 25, 1944.

Martha Ann was born in 1927.

Harold Eugene (Gene) was born in 1931.

Beverly Marie was born in 1937.

During WWII, Gerry, Janet, and Dot were married and living away from home. Carroll, Ed, and Bob were still living at home at the start of the war, but would all be far from home during their WWII service. Martha, Gene, and Beverly were the only children left to grow up in the family home during the war years.

The only person in the picture who has not yet been mentioned is a friend of the family named Ozzie Couch (I’m unsure of the spelling of his name). Ozzie and Carroll Jr. both worked at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta. Ozzie’s inclusion in the family photo says something about his closeness to the Farrar family. Youngest daughter Beverly remembered that Ozzie brought many gifts to the family including a variety of plants, Beverly’s first Persian cat, and a retired circus horse named Danny Boy that lived for a time in the garage. Ozzie’s family was from North Carolina. Ozzie, too, served in WWII. I am curious about Ozzie and would like to find out more about him. If anyone reading this can tell me more about Ozzie Couch (sp.), please contact me.

Did the Farrar family, sensing the war moving right into their living room, take this photo in 1941 wondering if it might be the last photo of them all (except for Gerry) together? Many families lost sons to WWII, but the Farrar family was fortunate to see all three of their sons – Carroll, Ed, and Bob – and even family friend Ozzie return from the war. A family intact.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

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Dad’s Escape and Evasion Photos

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

In WWII, airmen were equipped with an escape and evasion kit to help them in the event that they had to bail out of a crippled plane. Once on the ground, if they were not immediately captured, they would have a few tools to help them evade capture.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

For those airmen in the European theater, the kit may have contained banknotes from several countries, multilingual language cards, silk maps, a knife, a small amount of rations, first aid supplies, and photos in civilian clothing for false papers.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

An airman forced to bail out over France or Belgium had a better chance of evasion than an airman forced to bail out over Germany. One who bailed out over Germany was much more likely to be found quickly by German soldiers and much less likely to be found by someone sympathetic to his predicament.

When my father, George Edwin Farrar, landed on German soil, he was severely injured. He was unable to walk and never had a chance to attempt to evade capture.

I found these photos in my dad’s wartime things along with two silk maps which he never had the chance to use.

Edouard Renière has written a nice piece on the items the airmen may have been given before their missions which you can read here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Lingering Shadows of an Aluminum Overcast

When  I look at written World War II history, I see names, dates, places of great battles, and statistics. I rarely see mention of family, but families are what’s at the core of such a great struggle. One man was not fighting this great war against his enemy, another man. Their families were right there beside them fighting, too. When one man went down, many more at home who shared his blood went down with him. The loss of one man became a great emotional loss at home and the loss of many future generations of his family.

Two B-17 flying fortresses collided above Germany on September 28, 1944. Of the eighteen men aboard the two forts, four survived. None of the four live on today, but their children and grandchildren carry on their legacy. At least three of the men who died that day had children or knew that they were to become fathers in the months to come. That makes seven families, not quite half, who share a common history dating back to WWII.

Of the eleven men who would have no descendants, most of them had siblings who had children and there are nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and -nephews who also share their history and cherish their memories.

We are known collectively as the Buslee and Brodie crews’ NexGens, the Next Generation of the men of these two crews of the 384th Bomb Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force who bravely defended our country in WWII.

I began my search for Buslee/Brodie NexGens, who I consider extended family, in 2011 after I met Wallace Storey. I remember so clearly now my astonishment when Wallace told me that he had been in touch with other family members of the two crews. It was that light-headed feeling of shattered disbelief that almost knocked me off my feet, the thought of something I had never considered possible. There we others out there who knew my father’s story of the mid-air collision. It was no longer my family’s private history.

I had never before considered that my sister and I were not the only ones. From my dad’s stories, I knew he was the only survivor of the Buslee crew. At the time, I did not know that children were born to two of the men after the mid-air collision. And I never suspected that any of the men of the Brodie crew had survived the horrific accident, but three of them had. One of their sons had contacted Wallace Storey before me. So had a newphew and great-nephew of Buslee crew members.

I began contacting the relatives for whom Wallace provided information and I started researching each man who had been on those two planes, looking for their families, and finding some of them. During this process, I realized there was a lot we didn’t know about September 28, 1944, and that the other NexGens wanted to know as badly as I what happened in the skies above Magdeburg, Germany on September 28, 1944.

Top secret reports from WWII were public now, and I discovered details bit by bit and started putting them together, like pieces of a puzzle. I shared what I found with the other Buslee/Brodie NexGens and they shared knowledge, photos, and letters. These men who were our fathers and grandfathers, and uncles and great-uncles had an incredibly close bond. And now we NexGens were forming our own bond as we learned details about that late September day, details that in the 1940’s our families struggled so very hard to discover, but of which they were left uniformed.

With the power of knowledge of what happened to the boys that day, we are able to feel them again, hold them close, grieve for them, and look at them with a new sense of awe and respect. I have new family now, these descendants of the great airmen of WWII. We live in the lingering shadows of an aluminum overcast that will never fade away as long as we remember.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

A Place for Everything…

A place for everything and everything in its place. My dad must have repeated those words to me a thousand times. Or maybe more. When I was a child, it meant “clean up your room.” I was a big fan of clutter and rarely put anything away. Cleaning up meant either dumping everything in a drawer or stuffing it into a closet. As long as Dad couldn’t see it, I was in the clear.

Once, in college, I checked out a cookbook from the library. I don’t remember the name or author of the book, but right there in the front, after the title page, was that quote:  “A place for everything and everything in its place.” The quote continued with some reference to the kitchen, the exact wording of which I do not remember. After hearing those words so many times from my father, I was surprised to see them in print. I never considered that anyone but my father strung those particular words together into a phrase.

After a little searching, I found that the origin of the quote is generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is also sometimes attributed to Mrs. Isabella Beeton, who published “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” and “Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book” in the 1860’s. However, Mrs. Beeton’s books were published seventy years after Franklin’s death, so she must have been quoting Franklin. Perhaps Mrs. Beeton’s father admonished her room-cleaning skills with that phrase, too, and it became her mantra.

Samuel Smiles also quoted Benjamin Franklin in his book “Thrift,” published in 1875.

Thrift of Time is equal to thrift of money. [Benjamin] Franklin said, “Time is gold.” If one wishes to earn money, it may be done by the proper use of time. But time may also be spent in doing many good and noble actions. It may be spent in learning, in study, in art, in science, in literature. Time can be economized by system. System is an arrangement to secure certain ends, so that no time may be lost in accomplishing them. Every business man must be systematic and orderly. So must every housewife. There must be a place for everything, and everything in its place. There must also be a time for everything, and everything must be done in time.

There are many interesting concepts in this one paragraph written by Samuel Smiles, but clearly Mr. Smiles was expanding on ideas originating with Benjamin Franklin. And please note that Smiles did not mention room cleaning as a proper use of time.

The list of authors borrowing the quote from Franklin goes on and on. Even Budd Peaslee, first commander of the 384th Bomb Group used Franklin’s words in his book, “Heritage of Valor.” On page 41, Peaslee wrote:

…there was a place for everything and everything must be in its proper place so as to preserve the balance of the bomber in flight as its weight changed with the using up of its great fuel load.

Did those words become common around the Grafton Underwood airfield, surviving Peaslee’s command of the group? Is that where my father first heard them? I’ll never know, but I know those words still echo in my head to this day and when my piles of clutter get too big, “a place for everything and everything in its place” still means stuffing it all into the nearest drawer or closet. Dad, my room is ready for inspection.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Farrar Roots in England

Regardless of whether the American boys who fought in WWII were born to immigrants who were recent arrivals or into an ancestral line of immigrants who arrived in America long ago, they were all American patriots fighting for the same thing. They all stood together united in the same cause.

George Edwin Farrar was one of the boys whose family arrived in America long, long ago. Our immigrant ancestor of the Farrar line, Captain William Farrar, arrived in America in 1618. William’s wife Cecily and her father arrived even earlier, in 1610.

Dad’s paternal ancestry can be traced fourteen generations (fifteen for me) and more than a half century back to Henry Ferror I of Midgley, Halifax Parish, Yorkshire, England.

Midgley is about thirty miles northeast of Manchester, one hundred fifty miles northwest of Grafton Underwood, and a little over two hundred miles northwest of London. I don’t think my father was aware of the specific location of his roots in England at the time he was stationed at Grafton Underwood with the 384th Bomb Group, but he likely had English relatives nearby.

Dad’s and my ancestor, Henry Ferror I, was the original owner of Ewood Manor or Ewood Estate in Midgley from 1471. Ewood was subsequently the home of the Farrar family for over four hundred years. Henry and his wife (whose name is unknown) raised fifteen children at Ewood.

Ewood Manor

All of the children have not been identified due to loss of records, but it is believed that Bishop Robert Ferrar (listed in Foxes’ Book of Martyrs) was born around 1502 at Ewood and was possibly a son of Henry Ferror I. Bishop Ferrar was educated at Cambridge and Oxford where he received his Doctor of Divinity degree and was later appointed Bishop of St. David’s by King Edward VII in 1547. He died as a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary (known as Bloody Mary) on March 30, 1555, burned at the stake because he embraced the English Reformation.

Another one of Henry I’s sons, Henry Ferror II, who inherited Ewood in 1548, is the only other child of the fifteen identified and was next in the line of my father’s ancestry. He and his wife, Agnes Horsfall, had three children, and their oldest, William Ferror, continued our family’s lineage.

William Ferror inherited Ewood from his father and he and his wife Margaret Lacy Ferror raised six children there. Our line continued with their second child, who was known as John Ferror the Elder.

John Ferror was not only the second child, but was the second son of William and Margaret Ferror. Upon his father’s death, John’s older brother Henry inherited Ewood Estate. In 1610, Henry was stabbed to death by Justice Thomas Oldfield. He died before having children and Ewood Estate passed to John, keeping the ownership of Ewood in our lineage for the time being, although John didn’t live there. Henry’s widow continued to live at Ewood until her death. John Ferror, Esquire and his wife Cecily Kelke Ferror lived in London. John and Cecily had four children, all sons. Their third, William, continued our lineage.

William Ferror was our immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1593 in London, England. He was a barrister and immigrated to Virginia aboard the Neptune in 1618. The founder of the Farrar family in America, here he was known as Captain William Farrar.

William played an important role in the early development of the Virginia colony. He patented 2000 acres on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, known as Farrar’s Island. In 1622, ten people were killed at his home on the Appomatuck River during the Great Indian Massacre. William escaped to his neighbor Samuel Jordan’s home, known as Jordan’s Journey.

Jordan’s wife Cecily had arrived at Jamestown from England at the age of ten with her father in 1610 aboard the Swan. Samuel Jordan was her second husband, her first being a Mr. Baley. After the death of Samuel Jordan, Cecily married Captain William Farrar in 1625.

In 1626, Captain William Farrar was appointed by King Charles I as a member of the King’s Council. He served as Chief Justice of the county. Captain William and Cecily Jordan Farrar had two children, both sons, although some Farrar ancestral records state that they also had a third child, a daughter. William and Cecily’s first born son was our ancestor and was known as Colonel William Farrar. He was born about 1626 on Farrar’s Island.

Colonel William Farrar later inherited Farrar’s Island and he and his wife Mary had five children there. Our Farrar lineage in America continued in Virginia with William and Mary’s son, Thomas Farrar; Thomas’s son, William Farrar; William’s son, Joseph Farrar, who fought in the Revolutionary War; Joseph’s son, Charles Farrar, Sr.; Charles Sr’s son, Charles Farrar, Jr., who was born after his father died; Charles, Jr’s son, Ezekiel Baker Farrar; and Ezekiel Baker’s son, Charles Henry.

Charles Henry Farrar was born in 1837. He was seven feet tall, though he preferred to refer to his height as “six foot twelve.”

Two books record our lineage of Farrar ancestry, the original The Farrars, written by William B. and Ethel Farrar, and The Farrars Addendum, written by Clarence Baker Farrar, a grandson of Charles Henry Farrar. Between his book and a letter to my mother, Bernice Jane Farrar, Clarence provided some interesting information about Charles Henry Farrar.

During the Civil War, Charles Henry Farrar was a private in the Confederate army and on April 9, 1865, surrendered at Appomattox with Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant gave Charles Henry a horse and he rode south from Appomattox one day, spending the night on the banks of the Staunton River on the farm of the widow Johnson (Mrs. William Brent Johnson) and her six and a half year old daughter, Martha Ann. Charles was hired the next day as men were a scarce commodity in the South after the Civil War.

In 1874, just before his thirty-seventh birthday, Charles Henry married Martha Ann, who was just a month past her sixteenth birthday. After the marriage, Martha Ann was sent off to finishing school in Danville, Virginia. The school was Miss Somebody’s Seminary for Young Ladies – now Fairfax Hall. After finishing school, Martha Ann returned to Charlotte Court House, Virginia. She bought a large Georgian house uptown, a home built by Patrick Henry called Villeview, for herself and Charles Henry.

At Villeview, Martha Ann bore Charles Henry eight children, though one was stillborn. In later years, the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where Charles Henry joined his brother, William Baker Farrar, in the lumber business in Dalton, Georgia. Martha Ann was unhappy over the move and lonely for home. She took the younger children, including my grandfather, Carroll Johnson, and returned to Virginia.

Martha Ann divorced Charles Henry and he remarried in 1907. He died three years later in 1910. Martha Ann married Dr. W.E. Michie, who was her childhood sweetheart. After Dr. Michie’s death, Martha Ann said that next time she married, she was marrying a Yankee. She had had two Southern gentlemen and that was quite enough. She died in 1915.

My Farrar lineage continued with the first Farrar generation in Atlanta, Georgia, with Charles Henry and Martha Ann’s son Carroll Johnson Farrar, my father’s father, my grandfather. He was born in 1888 and married Raleigh May George in 1909. They had nine children and their middle child and second son was my father, George Edwin Farrar.

George Edwin Farrar was born in 1921. In 1944, he found himself in England, on an American air base in Grafton Underwood. He was only one hundred fifty miles from Ewood Manor, but at the time didn’t know of its existence or significance to his family. As he stood on the English soil, perhaps he considered that this was the place his family came from and that it took a world war to bring him here, to the home of his ancestors. His stay in England was only a few short months and after many more months as a prisoner of war in Germany, after a year away, he was thankful to be back in his home in America.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Immigrants

In my research of the members of the Buslee and Brodie crews and other crews of the 384th Bomb Group, I learned that many of their families were recent (pre-WWII) immigrants to America. It struck me that their parents came to America not only to escape religious persecution or a dangerous political climate, but to make a better life for themselves and to make a better and brighter future for their families. America provided freedom and would be a safe place to raise their children.

Coming to America was a hard decision to make and a difficult goal to realize. It cost life savings. A lifetime of possessions would be left behind, with only the most important and precious carried along.

Once on American soil, it was a new start at a new life, discovering an unfamiliar country, absorbing a new language, learning new customs. But they managed. They found jobs and became Americans. They settled in to live good lives and raise their children in the freedom of their new land.

But when freedom was threatened with a world war looming, they found their children would be the ones who would have to fight to keep that freedom. Immigrant parents had to sacrifice the very thing they came to America to protect. For many, their offspring were lost in the great battles of the land, sea, and air of WWII and the future of their families disappeared overnight. This is one of the greatest tragedies of war.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

One Moment

Sometimes we choose our path in life and sometimes it is chosen for us. Every single decision we make and every step we take in a certain direction write a piece of our history. But that history is not solely of our making. Outside influences are a huge factor in what happens to us upon each footfall, upon each spoken and unspoken thought, upon the most minute action we take.

The men of the Buslee and Brodie crews all chose the path of joining the United States Army Air Forces to fight in WWII. The histories of eighteen men from eighteen families were all very different from the moment of their births until the morning of September 28, 1944 when they climbed aboard their two B-17s to take their places in the 8th Air Force bomber stream on that day’s mission to Magdeburg, Germany.

On that day, each man had his job to do. The pilots and co-pilots had to deliver the bombs to the target. The navigators had to direct them to the correct location. The bombardiers had to release the bombs at the precise point. The radio operators had to maintain communications. The engineers had to make sure all systems worked properly. The gunners in the ball turret, waist, and tail had to defend their ships and loads of bombs and personnel. Each man had his individual job, but each crew was speeding through the skies toward their target as one.

They had one goal. Get their bombs on the target. And then they could go home. That day, their path was chosen for them. They were not completely in charge of the history they were making that day. They were a small piece of an enormous weapon of destruction, a tiny cog in a very big wheel.  And that day, they would not go home.

Whatever minute action or outside influence it was, because a single determining factor cannot be pinpointed, the Brodie crew’s ship collided with the Buslee crew’s ship after coming off the target. That one defining action fixed forever the most important moment in the history of eighteen men. It was the moment that the lives of fourteen men were lost and fourteen families were destroyed. It was the moment that the future path of four men was reset to skew greatly from the path that was imagined for them at birth.

It was just one moment in history. But it changed everything.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Back to My Dad’s Story

George Edwin Farrar

I started this blog when I started researching my dad’s WWII history, including his training, but mainly focused on his service with the 384th Bomb Group and his mid-air collision on September 28, 1944. By delving into the actions of the 384th Bomb Group, I have found many interesting stories and fascinating people. As much as I enjoy researching them, I find I have wandered very much off the subject which I originally intended to explore.

I am going to attempt – and I say attempt because I am easily distracted – to get back on topic this year and follow through my dad’s story to the end. George Edwin Farrar’s story includes the stories of many others – the other men on his crew, the other men he associated with at Grafton Underwood, the men of the crew of the other B-17 involved in the mid-air collision, his fellow POW’s, his family, and the families of his military “brothers.”

I will also study what the world was like during WWII and the years leading up to the war and what life was like during that time period for the people who lived through it. I don’t think I can fully understand the people I’m researching until I understand their time period, which was so different from ours.

The actions of the men who experienced that war still echo through the thoughts of those of us who descended from them or their brothers and sisters. But it is difficult to comprehend for many of us living in today’s very different world what it truly meant to fight in that war.

Today we can take a ride as a passenger in a B-17, as quite a few of them tour the country. But that is a fun ride in the clear skies at low altitude over a piece of beautiful American countryside. We cannot know, no matter how good our imaginations are, what that ride would have been like in the cold of 25,000 feet with no oxygen, with German fighters bearing down, or flak exploding into the belly of the plane. We cannot fully imagine the excitement or the terror or the sadness that those men felt mission after mission after mission.

I need to know. I need to piece the picture together bit by bit until I can see it more clearly. My dad is no longer around to tell me his war stories and even if he were, I don’t think I could ever completely know what it was like without living through it. By talking with men who served in the 384th, and reading books and watching documentaries and movies about the war, I have developed a picture in my mind. But that picture is not, and never will be, complete. The edges are fuzzy and holes remain in the middle of my picture.

I’ll just keep piecing it together, looking for new information and gaining a better understanding. It’s been an interesting journey so far.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

An Italian-American Airman on Television

In October, RAI (Italian television and radio) journalist Vittorio Argento traveled from Rome, Italy to Ocala, Florida to interview 384th Bomb Group pilot John DeFrancesco. I previously posted this article about Vittorio’s visit here.

The TV show has aired in Italy and I thought I would share it here.  It is available now through this link. This is a direct link to the episode of November 26, 2017, episode 26.11.17 of TG2 Storie.

Before you watch, I must let you know that the program is for Italian viewers and everyone, including John, is speaking Italian, but I think with the wonderful job of editing that Vittorio did with the photos and WWII footage he used, you’ll be able to follow the story just fine.

Multiple stories are presented in the program. John’s story starts at 28:58 in the video and goes through 34:45. Notice the photo on the wall of John’s kitchen.  That’s me and my Stalag Luft IV daughter friends with John. Standing left to right are Laura Edge and I. Seated left to right are Ellen Weaver Hartman, John DeFrancesco, and Candy Kyler Brown.

The story includes a photo of my dad and some of his crewmates at 33:52. They are left to right, George Edwin Farrar (my dad), Lenard Leroy Bryant, Erwin V. Foster, and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso (also an Italian-American). Vittorio also included several other photos of 384th Bomb Group airmen and ground crew.

Thank you, Vittorio Argento, for helping the 384th Bomb Group “Keep the Show on the Road.” You did an exceptional job telling 384th Bomb Group pilot John’s DeFrancesco’s story!

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Budd Peaslee – Part 9

Budd Peaslee – Part 8 was published December 13, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 9 concludes my series of posts on the first commander of the 384th Bomb Group, Budd Peaslee.

In the final pages of the final chapter of Heritage of Valor, Budd Peaslee recounted the statistics of the 384th Bomb Group’s “enviable” combat record in WWII. The 384th Bomb Group:

  • Flew 316 missions
  • Dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs on enemy targets
  • Lost 159 B-17’s
  • Lost 1,625 men
  • Were credited with the destruction of 165 enemy fighters in combat, plus 34 probably destroyed and 116 damaged

At the end of hostilities in Europe, the 384th moved to Istres, France where they participated in the evacuation. The airfield at Grafton Underwood was returned to its original tenants for the use of grazing cattle and sheep.

Peaslee wrote that the designation of the group was “no longer a proud identity in the armed forces” but for a select and honorable group of men for whom 384 will always have a special meaning. He would probably be pleased to find that the special meaning of 384 has been passed down to children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews of those men. He would probably be pleased to know the pride we have in the group and of the men of that group, who were represented by that number – 384.

Budd Peaslee died before the 384th Bomb Group website was developed, before the 384th Bomb Group photo gallery became filled with priceless photos, and before the 384th Bomber Group Facebook group started its first discussion. I think Budd Peaslee would be very proud that we have no intention of letting the number 384 become simply “a number preceded by 383 and followed by 385.” We will remember the acts of valor by the men of the 384th and we will make sure future generations learn what these men did for us.

During his military service, Budd Peaslee was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Croix de Guerre, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, service and campaign medals, and a Presidential Citation.

After WWII, Colonel Budd Peaslee served in Formosa as head of the Far East Air Force Section. He retired from the military in 1953 because of physical disabilities. In civilian life, he was the director of the Salinas, California airport and enjoyed flying his Cessna 195.

Budd Peaslee’s wife, Evelyn, died May 8, 1980, and three years later, Budd died on April 3, 1983 in Salinas, California. They are buried in the Garden of Memories in Salinas, Monterey County, California.

I want to close this series on Budd Peaslee with the closing words of his book, Heritage of Valor. Of all the stories written about WWII – the battles, the personal accounts, the self-published, and the best sellers – Budd Peaslee’s final words of Heritage of Valor affect me more deeply than any other.

The tumult and the shouting have died away. The B-17’s and B-24’s will never again assemble into strike formation in the bitter cold of embattled skies. Never again will the musical thunder of their passage cause the very earth to tremble, the source of sound lost in infinity and seeming to emanate from all things, visible and invisible. The great deep-throated engines are forever silent, replaced by the flat, toneless roar of the jets and the rockets. But, on bleak and lonely winter nights in the English Midlands, ghost squadrons take off silently in the swirling mist of the North Sea from the ancient week-choked runways, and wing away toward the east, never to return. On other nights the deserted woodlands ring with unheard laughter and gay voices of young men and young women who once passed that way. Recollections of all these fade a little with each passing year until at last there will finally remain only the indelible records of the all-seeing Master of the Universe to recall the deeds of valor excelled by no other nation, arm, or service. These sacred scrolls will forever remain the heritage of the free and untrampled people of this earth.

Budd Peaslee, courtesy of Quentin Bland via the 384th Bomb Group Photo Gallery

Sources

“Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.

www.384thbombgroup.com

384th Bomb Group photo gallery

Budd Peaslee – Part 1 was published January 4, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 3 was published March 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 4 was published April 5, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 5 was published May 24, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 6 was published November 29, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 7 was published December 6, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 8 was published December 13, 2017 here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Excerpts from Heritage of Valor by Budd J. Peaslee, © Budd J. Peaslee, 1963

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