To review: On March 26, Mr. B sent a translated letter to the Buslee’s explaining that it would be possible for the finder of their son’s ring to send it to them from Czechoslovakia.
In a follow-up letter, Z’s father explains that his son was home on a short visit and told of the crash of the Lead Banana on September 28, 1944. In a previous letter, Z identified the date of the crash as September 22, and in this letter as September 24.
Richmond, Texas, April 12, 1948
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee-:
Thank you for your nice letter Mrs. Buslee and please, forgive me, it took me two days to answer your letter. First, here is the translation of Z’s father’s letter. Please kindly correct those words, they are written in “my” English, that mean, there is plenty of errors in spelling, but, I do hope, you will understand-!
Esteemed Mr. Buslee,
In addition to my first letter, I am informing you, that my son Z came home on very short visit and was unable to answer your letter and asked me, to do so for him and to tell you about the plane in which your dear son found his death.
First I have to state, that the ring really belong to your son, Mr. Lt. John O. Buslee and the No. 0-764209 is correct-! His name is engraved inside the ring and no doubt everything is correct-! /Here Z’s father means, that I found the right kins./
My son Z left the ring here with me and now I am waiting for your directions how to send the ring to you, or I will take care of this myself and send it. Mr. B, who helped us to find you has told us, that he suggested to you, to ask the Amer. Consul, who would take care of it. /I told Z’s father in last letter, if he is SURE, he can send the ring direct to you, Air Mail-Registered, it would be the best way, but, he MUST be SURE, that the Czechoslovak authorities would let him send the ring-!/
And now to the unfortunate death of your son, my son Z stated this:
On Sept. 24, /Sunday/ about 14 hours, /That is 2 P.M./ came a swarm of bombing US planes and the direction was Magdeburg in Germany. One plane was separated from the swarm and the way it looks, damaged. Finally after a while, the plane came down in flames near the village. My son, who have been in Germany on forced labor in lager close to village, went to the scene and came there sooner before the German authorities did. The plane was burned, motor deep in the ground and the way it looks, everybody in the plane was dead and burned, too, because there was no sign of any body of the dead flyers. Because the place, where the plane came down, is out of populated places, it is not possible, that the flyers, dead or injured, have been removed, before Z and his friends came to the wreckage of the burned plane. The very next day, Sept. 25, 1944, my son and his two friends, one Czech and One Frenchman, went to the place again and in the ruins they were looking for some souvenirs. My son found the ring, and at first he thought, he found some little part of the instruments of the plane. But after cleaning the little thing from all the sticky material on it, he find out it is a ring, which must belong to one of the dead flyers. Then he found the name, the serial number and the engraved Emblem of the USA. The stone – the color of the stone – is damaged by flames and it is not possible to tell the original color of the stone.
After Z came home from Germany, in Dec. 1944, he hide all the things he found in the burned plane, it was some papers and some money besides the ring, and after the liberation in 1945 he went to the Amer. Consul in Prague, /I will return to this point of Z’s father’s letter-!/where he told them all he know about the plane and asked them to find out the kins of the flyer, so he can send them the ring. They kept the half-burned papers and money, but asked Z to keep the ring till they find out the family of the flyer.
With the help and kindness of Mr. B it will be possible for my son, to return the ring to you, and it will be a great honor for me, to return this memory-ring-which belonged to your heroic son.
Please, forgive my son Z for not writing to you, but he is in service now, and is changing place very often. /Here Z’s father can’t say, where his son is stationed-! /I will be happy to answer all your questions and please, do not bother yourself about the expense with sending the ring-! It will be only a happiness for us to deliver to you the ring, which, we know, will be treasured by you.
My son have only one wish to you and that is, if you would be so kind and send him a picture of your son, which he would be happy to have as a memory for unknown hero and which would be the only reward he is asking for; that would be the best reward for the safekeeping of the ring-!
And now I have only one wish and that is, to deliver the ring to you soon as possible, because I know, how it would and will be treasured by you-!
I am looking forward to your instruction and your decision how to send the ring.
Yours: Z’s Father,
So that is the translation of Z’s father’s letter. And now, dear Mrs. Buslee, let me tell you, that you DO NOT bother me and please, do not mention this again-!!! You don’t know, how happy I will be, after you will send me a letter, that you have the ring-! And I do hope, it will be soon. Z’s father in his letter to me last week told me, he believes, you will have the ring in hand in the second half of April. A pray for this-!!! I made the suggestion to you and to Z’s father too, that it would be the best way to send the ring to the Amer. Consul General in Prague, but after the information, which Z’s father gave me about those things his son have to the Consul in 1945, I believe it would be the best send the ring direct to you. I told Z’s father to go to the Czech authorities and explain them what it is all about and I am sure, they would let him send it direct. I would not care, to write direct to President Beneš and I am sorry Jan Masaryk is dead-! If I would write to him, he sure would fix it up and the ring would be here in 10 days-!!
PLEASE, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, DO NOT send any money to Z’s family-! You know, they have plenty of money in Czechoslovakia, but—they can’t buy nothing for it, because, there is nothing to buy. The boy, Z, he is a Philatelist-stamp collector-and I already send him US stamps about 20 dollars worth and I send him about 40 beautiful “First Day of Issue” covers and he is very happy about them. All Z is asking you is a picture of your son John. And you, dear Mrs. Buslee, in letter to me, are promising the picture not only to Z’s family but to us too. Please, believe me, we sure will be happy to have one too.! So please, DO NOT send any money to Z’s family, but, if you really would like to send something to make those people happy, I will give you a suggestion, but after you will have the ring-!!! You know, piece of cloth or pair of stockings, that’s something, which they can’t buy for no money and how happy they would be- ! But—only after you will have the ring, then we will discuss it further-! Once again I am asking you PLEASE, do not mention any bothering, Mrs. Buslee and we too hope, we meet some time. In case you came to the South, please do not forget Richmond and the B’s-! Sincerely yours: Mr. B
The next day, Mr. B wrote a quick note to the Buslee’s with some information he forgot to include in the previous day’s letter.
Richmond, Tex., 4-13-48.
Dear Mrs. Buslee-:
By translating Z’s father’s letter, I forget to tell you that the time when the plane came down, is given in CET /Central European time/ that mean, if the plane came down 14 hours /2 P.M./CET, that would be 7 A.M, CST, or 8. A.M, EST.
The time of day of the mid-air collision between Lazy Daisy and Lead Banana noted on Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 9753 was 12:11 p.m. – just after noon. I assume this would have been the time of day at the Grafton Underwood air base. I believe there is an hour time difference between Grafton Underwood, England and Magdeburg, Germany.
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, 2015