On January 5, 1945, Lenard Leroy Bryant’s wife, Maudene, wrote to George Edwin Farrar’s mother, Raleigh Mae. Maudene was writing in response to a letter she had just received from Mrs. Farrar. Lenard and George (Ed) had both been on Lead Banana on September 28, 1944 when it collided with Lazy Daisy over Magdeburg, Germany. Raleigh Mae Farrar had received news just six days earlier that her son was a prisoner of war. Maudene Bryant had still not heard any news about her husband except that he was missing in action.
Photo: Lenard Bryant on the left, location may be Grafton Underwood
January 5, 1945
Dear Mrs. Farrar,
Received your letter this noon. Am so glad for you that George is a prisoner.
I had the pleasure of meeting your son in Ardmore, Okla. and it seems as tho they were all brothers, the boys were so close to one another.
Only five of our old crew went down, the others are in England.
I haven’t as yet heard from the War Dept. – but when I do I pray for the best – and I for one hold out for the best. I think I would have known if Lenard (my husband) was dead.
I just wonder now how close to Magdeburg the boys will be kept. Mrs. Henson has my deepest sympathy.
I am in hopes of hearing from you again.
Maudene had apparently heard that William Alvin Henson II, the crew’s navigator, had been declared killed in action. Not hearing anything about her husband, Lenard, gave her hope that he was still alive. She must have known the names of all of the boys on the original Buslee crew and realized, after reviewing the next-of-kin list, that only five of them were on the Lead Banana when it went down.
The five original members were:
- John Oliver Buslee, pilot
- David Franklin Albrecht, co-pilot
- Sebastian Joseph Peluso, radio operator/gunner
- Lenard Leroy Bryant, engineer/top turret gunner (Maudene’s husband)
- George Edwin Farrar, waist/flexible gunner (my dad)
As she states that the other members of the crew were in England, Maudene may not have been aware that original bombardier, Marvin B. Fryden, had lost his life on August 5, 1944 on the Buslee crew’s second mission.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014