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Lloyd Oliver Vevle

Oliver R. Vevle was born in Illinois in 1886. Both of Oliver’s parents were from Norway. Louise Cleveland was born in Illinois in 1884. Both of her parents were also from Norway. Oliver and Louise married on May 6, 1911 in Fort Dodge, Webster County, Iowa. Their first-born son, Rudolph (Rudy) Bernhardt Vevle, came along on October 22, 1912.

In 1920 (according to the federal census), Oliver and Louise Vevle lived at 334 7th Avenue North in Fort Dodge. Martha Cleveland, Louise’s mother, lived with Oliver and Louise. Oddly, Rudolph was not listed in the census record, possibly simply an oversight in recording the census. Oliver worked as a bank teller.

On December 9, 1922, twin sons Lloyd Oliver and Floyd Martin were born.

On October 19, 1925, Louise Vevle died at the age of 41, leaving her husband, Oliver, to raise their three sons. She was buried three days later, on October 22, Rudy’s thirteenth birthday. The twins, Lloyd and Floyd, had not yet reached their third birthday.

Almost four years later, on August 15, 1929, Oliver remarried. His new bride was Martha Elizabeth Richardson Vevle, born in Illinois in 1882. Like Oliver, her parents were born in Norway.

In 1930 (according to the federal census), Oliver and Martha and the rest of the Vevle family lived at 6th Avenue North in Fort Dodge. Oliver was a teller at a savings bank. At 17 years old, Rudolph worked as a grocery store clerk. The twins were 7. Martha was listed as Elizabeth M., so possibly she preferred to go by her middle name.

A 1940 census record for the family eludes my searches, but a 1940 city directory lists Lloyd as a student and Floyd as a salesman at L&L Department store. Their father, Oliver, was listed as a teller at the Fort Dodge National Bank. By the printing of the 1941 Fort Dodge city directory, Lloyd and Floyd were both listed as students. Both boys graduated from Port Washington High School in 1940.

Update, September 19, 2018

Thank you to Sarah Little, who found that a 1940 census record does exist for the Vevle family. Sarah gave me the enumeration district number, page number, and location for the record. After more research I discovered that Ancestry.com had transcribed their last name as Viole and the record was therefore not coming up in searches. In 1940, the Vevle family still lived on 6th Avenue North in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Oliver held the same job as in 1930 as a teller in a bank. Son Rudolph no longer lived at home, but Lloyd and Floyd, at 17 years old, did.

Lloyd Vevle, Senior class of 1940, Port Washington High School Yearbook photo

Lloyd Vevle, Senior class of 1940, Port Washington High School Yearbook photo

Lloyd’s high school strengths and accomplishments included:  English, History, Science, Mathematics, Wrestling, Debate, and Orchestra. His 1940 yearbook quote was “I am not a politician and my other habits are good.”

Floyd Vevle, Senior class of 1940, Port Washington High School Yearbook photo

Floyd Vevle, Senior class of 1940, Port Washington High School Yearbook photo

Floyd’s high school strengths and accomplishments included:  English, History, Science, Mathematics, Wrestling, Student Manager, Debate, and Orchestra. His 1940 yearbook quote was “Honor lies in honest toil.”

On April 7, 1942, oldest brother, Rudy, enlisted in WWII. His residence was noted as Cook County, Illinois, and his place of enlistment as Chicago. His enlistment record states that he was single and had two years of college. He served as a technical sergeant in the US Army.

On November 4, 1942, Floyd enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. His residence was noted as Webster County, Iowa, and his place of enlistment as Minneapolis, Minnesota. His enlistment record states that he was single and had two years of college.

January 31, 1943? Lloyd also enlisted in the US Army Air Corps, but his enlistment record raises some questions. His record states that he was born in 1908, not 1922. It does note his residence as Webster County, Iowa, but incorrectly shows his highest level of education was grammar school. His place of enlistment was noted as Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. His enlistment date was noted as January 31, 1943. Lloyd’s record also noted that he was a widower without dependents, although I have not found a marriage record for him.

Both boys, Lloyd and Floyd, became co-pilots in the 8th Air Force in WWII.

Lloyd was assigned to the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group (Heavy) on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated 26 July 1944, James Joseph Brodie Crew. The 384th was based in Grafton Underwood, England. Lloyd’s first mission was as Brodie’s co-pilot on the 384th’s Mission #174 to Dugny (Paris), France. The target was a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) fuel depot.

Lloyd earned the title of First Lieutenant by his nineteenth mission on September 28, 1944, the 384th’s Mission #201 to the Krupps Steel Manufacturing Plant in Magdeburg, Germany. It was on this mission that the Brodie crew’s aircraft, Lazy Daisy, collided with the John Oliver Buslee crew’s aircraft, Lead Banana, coming off the target at Magdeburg. Lloyd Oliver Vevle was one of the eighteen crew from both flying fortresses listed as missing in action.

Floyd was assigned to the 568th Bomb Squadron of the 390th Bomb Group. The 390th was based in Framlingham, England. (Framlingham is just shy of 100 miles from Grafton Underwood.) Ten days after Lloyd was declared missing, Floyd flew his first mission. Would Floyd have gotten word by then that his twin brother was missing in action? It was the 390th’s October 7, 1944 Mission #202 to Bohlen-Biefeld, Germany. Note that each bomb group had their own unique numbering system for missions. Also note that Lloyd’s last mission was #201 and Floyd’s first mission was #202.

Floyd Vevle crew photo

On January 14, 1945, Floyd flew his twenty-seventh mission with the 390th Bomb Group, Mission # 243 to Derben, Germany. He was aboard aircraft 42-8426. Floyd was killed on that mission and he still considered missing.

I estimate that the Oliver and Martha Elizabeth Vevle received word of Lloyd’s death in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collison around January 28, 1945, two weeks after his twin brother, Floyd, died. I base this date on the fact that the Buslee family learned of their son Jay’s death that date and because the identification of both Buslee and Vevle were reported on the same telegram form.

Rudy returned to the states on June 20, 1945, arriving in New York on the Queen Mary. He was released from the service on January 18, 1946.

Lloyd Vevle is buried in Plot C, Row 37, Grave 20 at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium. Lloyd earned the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Lloyd Vevle grave marker, Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium

Lloyd Vevle grave marker, Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium

Floyd Vevle is memorialized on the Tablet of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. Like his twin brother, Floyd earned the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters.

In 1950, Oliver and Martha Elizabeth Vevle traveled abroad, possibly to visit Lloyd’s grave and find Floyd’s name on the Tablet of the Missing. A passenger list shows them returning on the Queen Elizabeth, leaving Southampton on September 29 and arriving New York October 4.

Oliver died in 1963. Martha Elizabeth died in 1987. Engraved on Oliver and Martha Elizabeth’s tombstone is:

In loving memory of our twin sons
Pilots – U.S. Army Air Corps – W.W. II
Lt. Lloyd O. (1922-1944) — Killed in combat, Mahgraten, Germany. Buried U.S. Military Cemetery Liege, Belgium.
Lt. Floyd M. (1922-1945) — Lost in combat over Berlin, Germany. Missing.

Vevle Tombstone - edited

Lloyd and Floyd’s older brother, Rudy, died on June 13, 2000 at the age of eighty-seven.

Note

The 390th Memorial Museum is located on the grounds of the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. The 390th’s reunion will be held October 16-17, 2015 in Tucson. The 384th’s reunion will be held later that same month, also in Tucson. On Friday, Oct 30, 2015, the 384th reunion attendees will tour the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. I am looking forward to visiting the 390th Memorial Museum during the reunion.

Links

http://www.384thbombgroup.com

http://www.390th.org

My next post will continue with more information on Floyd Vevle gleaned from MACR11719, the missing air crew report regarding his last mission with the 390th Bomb Group. I had hoped to include the information in this post, but due to a power outage from a large thunder storm sitting over central Florida, I could not finish the job Tuesday evening. Thank you to Keith Ellefson, combat data specialist for the 384th Bomb Group research group for providing me with a copy of MACR11719.

I know Floyd Vevle did not serve with the 384th and is therefore outside of the scope of my usual posts, but being he was Lloyd Vevle’s twin brother, I determined that the information about him was pertinent to the Vevle’s and the 384th’s story.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

 

 

 

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A Wearable Diary

I have very few writings of my father’s from his experiences in WWII other than the letters I have previously published and a few yet-unpublished notes. However, he did record a few things on a cap that, from the wear and stains, I believe he must have had with him when he became a prisoner of war and later endured the Black March.

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On the bill of the cap, he wrote the names of the men that were members of the original Buslee crew, and the name of the bombardier that replaced the original bombardier after his death on the August 5, 1944 mission.

PELUSO       FOSTER

FARRAR      BRYANT      SEELEY      LUCKNSKI

LT BUSLEE      LT ALBRECHT

LT FRYDEN      LT RYBARCZYK

LT DAVIS

Peluso was the radioman, Foster the belly gunner, Farrar and Bryant the waistgunners, Seeley the top turret gunner/engineer, Lucynski the tail gunner, Buslee the pilot, Albrecht the co-pilot, Fryden the bombardier, and Rybarczyk the navigator. Davis replaced Fryden as bombardier after the August 5, 1944 mission.

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On the top of the cap, he wrote the locations of some of his missions, although the town names he wrote do not all match the locations of his missions as recorded on the 384th Bomb Group’s website. He included Hanover (August 5, 1944), Pirmasens (August 9, 1944), Brest (August 11, 1944), and Leipzig (August 24, 1944). He also added Penemunde and what I can only decipher as ALC.

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The inside of the cap is torn and I believe he probably stored papers or other items under the lining.

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One torn area looks to have remnants of his serial number, which he may have purposefully torn out.

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One more view of his cap from above. A lasting memory of his crew mates and missions.

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© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

Royal Palm Literary Awards

My two flash fiction (1000 words or less) entries for the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Award made it into the competition’s semi-finals and finals, but came up short of winning at the 2015 Florida Writers Conference in October.

But it was exciting to see my name and picture show up on the big screen at the banquet with the other finalists!

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© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

Gordon Eugene Hetu

Gordon Eugene Hetu was the ball turret gunner on the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squad of the 384th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force in WWII.

Gordon was born September 26, 1925 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. He was the only child of Raymond Joseph (1896 – 1982) and Esther A Johnson (1897 to unknown) Hetu. Raymond and Esther were married January 28, 1922, both at the age of 24. Gordon was born four years later, when they were both 28 years old.

Esther was born in Michigan, and her parents were also born in Michigan. Raymond was born in Michigan, but his parents were French Canadian. In 1930, the Hetu family lived at 3821 Webb Avenue in Detroit. Raymond worked a plumber, and Esther was a typist for an insurance office.

In 1940, the Hetu family still lived at 3821 Webb Avenue. Raymond was a maintenance man at an auto factory. Esther no longer worked.

At the young age of seventeen, Gordon enlisted in the Army Air Corps on June 24, 1943. After his training, Gordon was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squad on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated July 26, 1944, as the J Brodie Crew’s ball turret gunner.

Gordon’s first of nineteen combat missions was Mission #174 on August 7, 1944. The target was a Luftwaffe Aircraft Fuel Depot at Dugny (Paris), France. The Brodie crew was aboard Snuffy, also known as Worry Bird, as High Section Deputy of the Lead Group. The fuel depot was near Le Bourget and combined two strategic targets in one, the Luftwaffe and their fuel supply. Unfortunately, the lead and low groups dropped their bombs several miles to the east and the high group attacked Chateaudun Airfield as they were unable to sight the primary target. None of the bombs came near the intended target of the Luftwaffe or their fuel supply.

Gordon celebrated his nineteenth birthday on his eighteenth mission with the 384th – Mission #199 on September 26, 1944, to a steelworks target at Osnabruck, Germany. The Brodie crew completed a successful mission aboard Kathleen Lady of Victory.

Gordon’s next mission, his nineteenth, was Mission #201 on September 28, 1944.  The target was the Krupps Steel Manufacturing Plant in Magdeburg, Germany. The Brodie crew completed a successful mission aboard Lazy Daisy, but coming off the target, collided with Lead Banana. Only three men made it out of Lazy Daisy alive, and Gordon was not one of them. He probably never had a chance to emerge from the ball turret.

Gordon Eugene Hetu died September 28, 1944, two days after his nineteenth birthday.  He is buried at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Oakland County, Michigan.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

Gerald Lee Andersen

Gerald Lee Andersen

Gerald Lee Andersen

Gerald Lee Andersen was born on June 20, 1923 to Ernest William (1899 – 1982) and Verna Esther Yost (1900 – 1950) Andersen. Ernest was born in Nebraska and his parents were born in Denmark. Verna was born in Virginia, as were her parents. Ernest and Verna married on November 19, 1920.

In 1930, the Andersen family (listed in the 1930 census under the spelling “Anderson”), lived at 28 Adrian Street in Seneca, Thomas County, Nebraska. Ernest was the manager of an oil station. The Andersen’s had six children:  daughter Betty J (8),  son Gerald (listed as Girald J) (6), daughter Lila M (4), son Dale E (3), son Billie L ( a month shy of 2), and son Don D (10 months). James R Andersen (28) was listed as a boarder. James was Ernest’s brother and his occupation was listed as truck driver for an oil station.

In 1940, the Andersen family resided in the same house in Seneca, Thomas County, Nebraska. Ernest’s occupation was listed as a truck driver for an oil company. The family had grown considerably.  In addition to daughter Betty J (18) now known as Joyce,  son Gerald (16), daughter Lila M (14) now known as Mae, son Dale E (13), son Billy (11), and son Don D (10) now known as Devern, the family had an additional five children. They were son Wesley (9), daughter Elagene (7), son Edwin (5), daughter Charlene (2), and son Jimmie (10 months)

Gerald Lee Andersen married Esther Elaine Coolen, date unknown, before he began his military service. Esther was born June 16, 1916 in Pawnee, Pawnee County, Nebraska. In 1940, Esther was 23 years old, lived in the same town as the Andersen family (Seneca, Thomas County, Nebraska), and was employed as a school teacher. After they married, Gerald and Esther lived in Stromsburg, Polk County, Nebraska, where Esther waited for Gerald to return from war.

Gerald served as a tail gunner with the 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bomb Squad, Joe R. Carnes crew. He was assigned to the 384th on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated July 26, 1944. He flew twelve missions and was only 21 years old when he lost his life on September 28, 1944 in the mid-air collision between Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy.  He is buried in Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell (Lincoln County), Nebraska in Section F, Site 1229.

Esther was heartbroken by the news of the death of her husband. Letters she wrote to my grandmother, Raleigh May George Farrar, can be read here. Esther did not remarry until 1953. She died on March 6, 2002 in Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska. 

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015