On October 9, 1944, eleven days after the mid-air collision between the Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy, Chaplain Dayle R. Schnelle of the 384th Bombardment Group Headquarters wrote to the family of George Edwin Farrar to notify them that their son was missing in action.
October 9, 1944
384th Bombardment Group
APO 557 c/o P.M., N.Y.
Mrs. Raleigh Mae Farrar
79 East Lake Terrace, N.E.,
Dear Mrs. Farrar:
May I, as Chaplain of the 384th Bombardment Group, personally, and pursuant to the request of the Commanding General, Eighth Air Force, and in behalf of the Group Commander, express to you our deepest and heartfelt concern regarding your son, S/Sgt. George E. Farrar, 14119873, who is reported as missing in action.
I am well aware of the worry and anxiety which is yours. May I assure you that you will be notified immediately should any further word concerning your son be received. May I urge you to remember that you should in no wise consider your son as dead. It is highly possible that he may yet escape or is being held a prisoner of war. In either case it will be some time before any word will be received concerning him. May I add that your concern is our concern, not only of this group, but also of the entire Air Force as well.
There is no other information that I can give other than you have already received from the War Department, except, that all mail and packages will be returned to the sender. May I assure you that I believe that our God still answers prayers. I promise that I shall remember him continuely before God as I know that you are also doing. I firmly believe that the hand of God still guides the destiny of His children. May your faith in the ultimate triumph of God’s will give you courage, strength, and grace to meet the burden of this hour of uncertainty.
Dayle R. Schnelle,
- Was this the first word the family had received that their son was missing? A telegram from the War Department was sent later, on October 14, but may have been received prior to this letter (not knowing how quickly mail was delivered in 1944). Would someone from the War Department have delivered the news earlier in person?
- Was the US Army Air Forces already aware that Farrar was reported as a prisoner of war on the Telegram Form dated October 1, 1944?
- Did seventeen other families, the families of the other boys on both crews, receive this same letter this day?
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014