Two weeks after the mid-air collision between the Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy, the original navigator on the Buslee crew, Chester Rybarczyk, wrote to the Farrar family. Rybarczyk flew the September 28 mission with the William J. Blankenmeyer crew, and watched the mid-air collision involving his Buslee crewmates aboard Lead Banana.
October 12, 1944
Dear Mrs. Farrar,
First of all, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Lt. Rybarczyk, navigator on the crew that George trained with at Ardmore and we flew our first missions together. You probably have the news of him being missing. Well I can’t tell you very much about what happened. I’m not allowed to give such information. I was flying in another ship that day. I saw what did happen. The ship he was in was not on fire and he had plenty of altitude. The crew had a good chance of bailing out and I think they did. You may not hear anything else about him for a little while. He will probably be a prisoner of war and he will be back with you as soon as the war with Germany is over. So don’t take this too bad. I think he is safe and well.
He sure was a good boy. One of the best men on the crew. I had lots of confidence in him. He got along swell with the rest of the boys. We never had any trouble with him. He was excellent in his work and gave it everything he had. You should be proud of a boy like that. I know I was glad to have him on the crew.
If you should hear anything about him, please let me know. May God Help those boys.
The ship Rybarczyk was flying in that day, Aircraft 42-39888, also known as Hot Nuts, “left formation after target for unknown reasons, but returned to base” according to the Sortie Report, apparently in a effort to determine the fate of the crew of Lead Banana. It is unclear why Rybarczyk would state that “the ship he [George Edwin Farrar] was in was not on fire” as all other eye witness reports state otherwise. Perhaps it was simply an act of kindness to give Farrar’s family more hope for his survival.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014