To review: a man whom I will call “Mr. B” was an immigrant to the United States from Czechoslovakia. In 1948, he was living in Richmond, Texas. He had received a letter from a friend of a friend still living in Czechoslovakia. The friend had a special favor to ask Mr. B – to please help him find the next of kin of the owner of a ring he had found in Germany in September 1944.
With the information he had been given, on January 5, 1948 Mr. B wrote to the Veteran’s Service Office in Richmond requesting the name and home address of the family of John Oliver (Jay) Buslee. He received a letter in reply on January 21, stating that if he transmitted any communications to the next of kin to their office, they would forward it to the family.
A week later, Mr. B wrote back, giving the details of his request.
Richmond, Texas, Jan. 28, 1948
The Adjutant General’s Office,
Records Administration Center,
St. Louis, Missouri.
Charles D. Carle, Colonel, AGD Commanding.
AGRS-DC-8 301 Buslee, John O.
Mr. William F. Doggett, Veteran Service Officer for Fort Bend County, Texas, send to my hand your letter, concerning John O. Buslee, serial number O 764 209. Let me explain first, why I would be so happy to get in touch with the next of kin, above mentioned flyer.
On 22/12, 1947, I received a letter from one unknown in Czechoslovakia, who got my address from one friend of mine. Here is the translation of said letter:
Dear Mr. B,
I am begging you for a favor and I do hope you will be so kind and help us. On Sept. 22, 1944, American plane came down in flames alone, about 40 kilometers from Magdeburg. I have been working in the fields, there the Germans put me on forced labor. I came to the plane before the Gestapo and SS did and all the flyers have been dead and I pick up a ring which belonged to one of the flyers. It is a ring with a big jewel and around the jewel there are 13 stars engraved, and on one side of the jewel is a USA emblem and on the other side a USA flyer emblem with the wording: War of survival, and the name John O. Buslee, O-764209. Please, Mr. B, if it would be possible for you to find out the family of the dead flyer, so I would be able to send them the ring. But I will not give it to nobody, unless I am sure the right people will get it.
I hope you will fulfill my wish and I remain yours,
I would be very happy, dear Colonel, if the ring would be send to the family of the flyer and I am sure, they would be happy to get it too. I am sending a letter to Z too and I am informing him, that if he would send the ring to me, I would send the ring to you and I am sure, the ring would reach the right people. Please, kindly advise me on this matter.
A young man from Czechoslovakia witnessed the Lead Banana crash after its mid-air collision with the Lazy Daisy. He was working in the fields, as forced labor of the Nazis during WWII. He was the first person to arrive at the plane and discover that there were no survivors of the crash.
In this letter, Z identifies the date of the crash as September 22, 1944, a Friday. The mission, and crash, actually occurred the next Thursday, September 28, 1944.
This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families. In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.
Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014