To review: On March 8, 1948, the Buslees wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring. In the letters they identified themselves as the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944. They also confirm that the ring in question is their son’s ring. In addition to wishing to get the ring back, they ask for information about the crash that took their son’s life.
Mr. B writes the following letter back to the Buslees.
March 11, 1948
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee,
Park Ridge, Ill.
My dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee:
To-day I received your letter and am answering at once. I am writing to Z in Czechoslovakia too and at the same time, but—I don’t know if the letter will reach him. You know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, what happened in that little country I was born, last couple of weeks – the red murderers took Czechoslovakia over – and I did not receive any mail.
Your letter, dear people, touched us – me and my wife – so much, that we were not able keep our tears back-! Your sorrow is our sorrow-! You don’t know how happy I would be, if it would be possible for me now, to get the ring for you, because I DO know, how you would be happy and how you would esteem it.
The way it looks to me now is, that the red murderers, who took Czechoslovakia, do not let the peoples even write the letters to USA, and I don’t believe it would be possible for Z to mail the ring now. But, I got an idea, how it would be possible to get the ring and I will return to this below.
First I would like to tell you, that I do not know Z. I have some friends in the same town where he is, and all my letters to Czechoslovakia I furnished with nice American stamps, the “flag stamps”. And it so happen, that he have soon one of my letters and because he is a stamp collector, my friend gave him my address and he asked me for the stamps and in the same letter he asked me, if I would be able to find out you.
I am enclosing his first letter and you better send this letter to the American Embassy too, so they will understand better what it is all about. So I am very sorry, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, that I am not able tell you anything about your beloved son. All I know is, what Z wrote to me, that is, that the plane came down Sept. 24, 1944, near a town about 50 km from Magdeburg.
“I worked” – he write – “near by, and came to the plane sooner than the German did. The plane came down in flames and none of the flyers were alive.” Then he write, he found the ring with the name and number and he ask me, if it would be possible to find out his family, that he would be glad to send them the ring.
I don’t know this man, but I do believe, he is an honest man. You know, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, it all could be finished already if it would not be so much red tape. Soon, as I got the letter from Z, I went to the Veteran Service Officer here in Richmond and asked him for help.
He wrote at once to the Adjutant General’s Office, but they told him, “It is a long established policy of the Department to protect the privacy of the next of kin of former military personnel.” Well, I do understand this, but in this case, if the Adjutant General would send your address, you would have the ring long time ago. Of course, nobody knew, what would happen in Czechoslovakia. But now, here is my idea, now – I hope – would be possible to get the ring for you. I am SURE, Z will be glad to send you the ring. If he would be not, he would not ask me to find out the family of that flyer.
Please, write a letter to: American Consul General, Prague, Czechoslovakia., and tell him all you know, now you got the information about the ring, and it would be wise, to enclose the letter which Z wrote to me. It is written in Czech, but they have translators in the office in Prague, and asks the Consul General, to ask Z to send the ring to the Consul General and he will deliver the ring to you. It will be possible for the Consul General to do this, because I believe, those red murderers would not dare to open diplomatic mail.
You don’t know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, how happy I would be, if you would get the ring. I know, it would be great ease for you. And I do all I am told, to get it for you -! I will write to the president office in Prague, and I will beg President Dr. Beneš, to help me and, if the komunists will not kill him before that, – like they kill Jan Masaryk last Tuesday – I am sure he will help us too.
I am asking Z, if he will get a letter from American consul in Prague, and the consul will ask him for the ring, just to send him the ring, because I did arranged it this way, and please, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, ask the American consul, when he will ask Z for the ring, ask him to enclose Z a letter, /which he wrote to me and I am enclosing to you/ so he will be sure, that the right people get the ring.
I am closing, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee and I wish, you believe, how happy I would be if you would get the ring-!
With great respect for you,
I am sincerely yours:
Handwritten addition to the above typed letter:
P.S. Please, send the letter to the Amer. Consul General in Prague Registered and Air Mail (15cents half oz., 30 cents one oz. and 20 cents registry)
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