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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Dear Friend

By now with everything the families of the Buslee crew had all been through together, they considered each other friends.  Not a happy friendship, but one brought together by sadness and loss.  More of a family, really, as their loved ones were as close as brothers as they served their country in WWII.

Raleigh Mae Farrar hadn’t received a letter from one of the crews’ families in many months, but in November 1945, Gerald Andersen’s wife took the time to write.

Gerald Lee Andersen

Gerald Lee Andersen

November 19, 1945
Stromsburg, Nebraska

Mrs. Raleigh Mae Farrar,
Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Friend:

I have wondered so many times if your son S/Sgt. Geo. Farrar has gotten home after I received word from you that he had been released from prison Camp. I have been so in hopes that he could give us some information.

I received the following information from Quartermaster General, Washington, D. C. concerning my husband’s burial.

“The remains of your husband were interred in the United States Military Cemetery at Margraten Holland, Plot R, Row 3 Grave 51. This cemetery is located twelve miles Northwest of Achen, Germany and eight miles Southeast of Maastricht, Holland.”

I do hope your son is in good health. Was he near this Cemetery?

I am trying to contact someone in the Occupational Forces, to visit the cemetery and get pictures of a same.

I am teaching again this year. The time passes and when you are busy you don’t have time to think.

I would appreciate very much to hear from you and to know if your son has come home.

Your friend,
Mrs. Esther E. Andersen

Gerald Andersen has since been reinterred in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell (Lincoln County), Nebraska, Section F, Site 1229.

Andersen Grave

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Instructions for Presentation of Claims

On November 15, 1945, just two weeks after George Edwin Farrar’s honorable discharge and separation, the Army’s Claims Division sent him a letter.  It outlined the instructions for reimbursement of personal property losses while in the service as long as the loss was within the regulations.  I wonder if my dad was able to claim the loss of his watch during the prisoners’ march across Germany, which he had to trade for bread.  Do you think trading an item in lieu of starvation was covered in the cited regulations?

November 15, 1945
Headquarters, Army Service Forces
Office of the Judge Advocate General
Washington 25, D. C.

Instructions for Presentation of Claims
(AR 25-100)

1. Army Regulations 25-100, 29 May 1945, provide a means whereby reimbursement may be obtained by military personnel and civilian employees of the War Department or of the Army for private property damaged, lost, destroyed, captured or abandoned in the service when the circumstances of the loss are within the purview of the cited regulations. (For further details see AR 25-100, 29 May 1945, obtainable at any post, camp, station or military establishment.)

2. A claim for private property lost in the service should be made on WD Form 30B, 1 June 1945, and submitted to the Commanding Officer of the organization to which the claimant belongs or with which he is serving if practicable, otherwise to the Commanding Officer of any post, camp, station or military establishment, if practicable the one nearest the point where investigation of the facts and circumstances can most conveniently be made. Claims may also be submitted to the Commanding General of any Service Command or any Air Technical Service Command, within the United States, its territories and possessions, or to any office of the Command Claims Service in any Theater of Operations or other command outside the continental limits of the United States. In any case where submission under the foregoing provisions is impracticable claims may be submitted direct to The Judge Advocate General, Washington 25, D. C.

3. Blank forms and assistance in the preparation of a claim may be obtained from the Claims Officer at the post, camp, station or other military establishment where the claim is submitted.

Colonel, JAGD
Chief of Claims Division

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Honest and Faithful Service

On October 29, 1945, my dad, George Edwin Farrar, received an honorable discharge from the Army of the United States.  The Honorable Discharge certificate declared…



Army of the United States

is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military

service of the United States of America.

This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest

and Faithful Service to this country.

 His date of separation was October 29, 1945 and place of separation was SAD AAFPDC, San Antonio, Texas.  Listed on the separation form were decorations and citations:

  • American Theater Ribbon
  • EAME Ribbon w/3 Bronze Stars
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Purple Heart
  • Air Medal w/1 Bronze Cluster

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Eight-Digit Number

My dad’s youngest sister, Beverly, was only seven years old when my dad’s B17 collided mid-air with another B17 on September 28, 1944.  With three of her older brothers away serving in WWII, her childhood was entrenched in the war.  One of the memories that she still recalls vividly to this day was of her mother awakening from sleep with the thought of an eight-digit number in her head, which she quickly wrote down upon rising.  By the way, premonitions were apparently a common occurrence for my grandmother.

My Aunt Beverly told me about this incident, but she didn’t know what the number signified, or what the eight digits actually were.  My dad’s Army Air Forces serial number was eight digits, but he had been assigned that number when he enlisted.  My dad’s POW number was only four digits.  Again, not a good candidate for matching the story.

It wasn’t until I ran across this letter that I wondered about that eight-digit number again.  From this letter my dad received, I can only presume that his mother told him the story of awakening with that number in her head upon his return home from the war.  In turn, my dad wrote to the Parachute Department of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bombardment Group, now stationed in Istres, France, inquiring about the eight-digit serial number of the parachute that had saved his life on September 28, 1944.

September 11, 1945
Istres, France

S/Sgt. George E. Farrar
79 East Lake Ter. S. E.
Atlanta, Georgia
A. S. N. 14119873

In regards to the parachute you used on Sept. 28, 1944.

It is impossible anymore for us to give you the exact number of the chute which you used.

I am enclosing the number of one which did go down at about the time you stated.

Mfg. Reliance
Serial No. 42-263628

We hope this will be satisfactory and was glad to hear that we were of some help to you.

S/Sgt. W. A. Carnahan
544th. Bomb Sqd.
Parachute Department

A parachute saved my father’s life on September 28, 1944, but he had a little more help than just the parachute that day.  In the mid-air collision at 30,000 feet, he was knocked unconscious and thrown from the aircraft.  He didn’t even know he was out of the plane until he came to after free falling 25,000 feet.  He wrote down the events of that day several times since it happened, but he always left out one detail.

That detail was part of my dad’s story when he would tell it to me as a child.  It would be bedtime and my dad would sit on the side of my bed until I fell asleep.  I would ask for a story, the one about his airplane in WWII, or the prison camp, or the march across Germany when he had to sleep in the hay.  He would tell how another plane flew into the side of his plane, cracking it open like an egg.  He woke up out of the plane and falling, falling.  He was here sitting on the side of my bed, able to tell me about these experiences he had in the war because he woke up only 5,000 feet from the ground when he heard his mother calling his name.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Request for Details

By mid-August 1945, George Edwin Farrar was back in the states, but I do not know if he had returned home to Atlanta, Georgia by this time or not.  The Army Air Forces sent him a letter on the 16th inquiring about the death of crewmate Sebastiano Peluso, presumably at the request of the Peluso family.  The Peluso family must have finally received word that their son had died in the mid-air collision between Lazy Daisy and Lead Banana, on which he was the radio operator on September 28, 1944.

Peluso was the last crew member identified from the wreckage of the two flying fortresses.  James Brodie, pilot of the Lazy Daisy, was also not identified early on.  Notification of his death had not come until July 6.

Unfortunately, Farrar would not have much information to offer to the Peluso family as he had been knocked unconscious in the collision, coming to in free fall and just in time to deploy his parachute.  He was told in prison camp that he was the only survivor of his crew.  He had no information on the other crew members other than they were in position at the time of the collision.  One thing he did say when I asked repeatedly as a child how he came to be the only survivor, was that all the other boys thought they were out of harm’s way and had already removed their chest chutes when the collision occurred, but that he had left his on.

August 16, 1945
Headquarters, Army Air Forces

SUBJECT: Staff Sergeant Sebastiano J. Peluso, 12182596
TO: Staff Sergeant George E. Farrar, 14119873
79 East Lake Terrace Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia

1. This headquarters has received a request for details of the death of Staff Sergeant Sebastiano J. Peluso, 12182596, radio operator of your aircraft, B-17G, Serial Number 43-37822, which disappeared on 28 September 1944.

2. Request that you forward to this headquarters any information you may have concerning the circumstances of the death of Staff Sergeant Sebastiano J. Peluso, or any details you may be cognizant of regarding his status after your Fortress disappeared.

Major, Air Corps
Chief, Notification Branch
Personal Affairs Division
Asst Chief of Air Staff

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Coming Home

George Edwin Farrar had written a letter to his mother on June 29 that he was leaving England that night and heading for the states.  He was to travel on a very small ship and he expected a slow crossing.  His Separation Qualification Record notes, however, that he departed Europe on July 2, 1945 and arrived in the US on July 17.  I have no record of his first or subsequent stops in the US on his way back home to Atlanta, Georgia.

On July 21, his mother received a telegram from Washington.


The telegram read:

The Chief of Staff of the Army directs me to inform you your son S/Sgt. Farrar George E. is being returned to the United States in the near future and will be given an opportunity to communicate with you upon arrival.

Witsell Acting the Adjutant General

If Farrar’s separation record is correct, he had been back in the states for four days before the telegram was sent.  If he indeed was allowed to contact his family, presumably by telephone, what a happy call that must have been.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Chester Rybarczyk

Chester Anthony Rybarczyk

Chester Anthony Rybarczyk

Chester “Chet” Rybarczyk had finished his tour with the 384th and returned to the states.  He wanted to talk to George Edwin Farrar, his crewmate on the John Oliver Buslee crew after learning that Farrar was on his way home from the war.  Rybarczyk was fortunate to have not been on Lead Banana with the Buslee crew on September 28, 1944.

July 15, 1945
Officers Mess – AAFNS – Hondo, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

With the war over in Germany, I was wondering if you had heard from George. Has he been home yet? I’m anxious to hear from him or of him. So if you will be kind enough to send me his address or send him mine.

I am the navigator from the crew. I have been in the States for some time now. I wrote to you once before if you can remember. I guess you could with a name like mine.

I really don’t have much more to say. I hope to hear something soon. Give my best to all.

Sincerely yours,
Lt. C. A. Rybarczyk 0720014
Br #3 H.A.A.F.
Hondo Tex

Thank you to Tony Rybarczyk, Chester’s son, for providing the photo above.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Faithful Correspondent

George Edwin Farrar’s mother, Raleigh Mae, sent her telephone number to the Buslees at their request.  They wished to speak to Farrar when he returned home from the war, and wanted to plan a visit to see him.

July 15, 1945
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Ill.

Mrs. R. M. Farrar
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Mrs. Farrar;

Many thanks for your letter with your telephone number and to learn that you expected George to reach a spot so near to Atlanta must have been very comforting word to you.

We have just received a letter from Miss Marbach and from it we understand that you have been in touch with her and the Peluso family. It does seem very strange that they are still without any definite word, however to us it seems that this is far better that the word the Hensons and we received. At least if one believes in the oft quoted term NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

Our son in law has just returned from the Admiralty Islands. He is a pilot in the Navy Air Transport so after a few days here he now reports to Olathe Kansas. So our daughter has left to be with him at that point.

George must have had many experiences that he will long remember and it is our prayer that he is now in the best of health and that he may in the future enjoy all of the best which he so richly deserves.

We do hope that the opportunity to visit with George will develop in the near future. Yes we are anxious to meet you as you have been such a faithful correspondent not only with us but with other families of the men who were on the ill fated plane.

To you and your family our sincere greetings, believe me when I say that in these days of worry you have lightened our load greatly.

Sincerely yours,
John Buslee

The Buslee’s son-in-law was Gene Kielhofer.  He was married to their daughter, Janice.

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee's sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Gene Kielhofer

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Gene Kielhofer

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Gratitude and Sorrow

Sebastiano Peluso’s parents had last written to George Edwin Farrar’s mother on June 27, but they felt compelled to write again two weeks later.  They assumed her son, the only known survivor from the Lead Banana on September 28 the year before, had returned home from the war.  Farrar had still not returned to the United States.  The Pelusos were still anxiously waiting for any word about their boy.

July 11, 1945
Coney Island

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

I am the father of Sebastiano and I have no word to express my gratitude for the kind of sympathy and cooperation you have show regard my son. Only a mother could understand and consider the sorrow we have, and really I want to thank you for what you are doing for us.

First of all I want to congratulate you for George coming home, and I wish happiness and success to a courageous boy, which deserves respect and honor from his nation.

Now I wish only one favor from you. First, let George rest and relax, and when he feels better the only think I ask to him if could give me any news of his friend Sebastiano. What happen after the plane was hit. If he saw my son coming down with the parachute?

He could write me a letter and if he have something important to tell me I could come myself and speak him personally. Although the trip is long. If I hear good news from my boy, I am sure I will not feel the trip. Maybe we could call George on the telephone and he gives details of what he knows.

So if George decide to speak with us just let us the day is home and we call him. The best hour for us to call is from 8 to 10 p.m. Again I thank you in advance and hoping to hear from George. Regard and happiness to a wonderful mother.

Joseph Peluso
2963 W. 24 St.
Coney Island

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Sorrow or Comfort?

The day after James Joseph Brodie’s wife received the dreaded telegram informing her of her husband’s death, the Adjutant General followed up with a letter of confirmation.

War Department
The Adjutant General’s Office
Washington, D.C.

In reply refer to:
AG 201 Brodie, James J.
PC-N 186032

7 July 1945

Mrs. Mary E. Brodie
4436 North Kostner Avenue
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mrs. Brodie:

It is with deep regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your husband, First Lieutenant James J. Brodie, 01012086, Air Corps.

Your husband was reported missing in action since 28 September 1944 over Germany. It has now been officially established from reports received in the War Department that he was killed in action on 28 September 1944 over Magdeburg, Germany.

I know the sorrow this message has brought you and it is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic sacrifice in the service of his country may be of sustaining comfort to you.

I extend to you my deepest sympathy.

Sincerely yours,
Edward F. Witsell
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General of the Army

1 Inclosure
WD Pamphlet No. 20-15

Pamphlet 20-15 was a pamphlet outlining survivor benefits.

The telegram and confirming letter certainly brought sorrow to Mary Brodie’s heart, but comfort was probably a long way off.

Thank you to Larry Miller, great-nephew of James Joseph Brodie, for sharing this piece of his family history.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014