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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Filling in the Blanks

I have a number of photos that I found with my dad’s WWII letters that have no identifications. I have come up with a theory and have made some guesses about who appears in the photos. I would love to get some feedback and opinions as to whether I am on the right track or not.  Here goes…

The information I’m basing my theory on is this:  August 4, 1944 was the Buslee crew’s first mission.  Arthur Shwery was training John Buslee that day, which put Arthur Shwery as the pilot with the crew and John Oliver Buslee as the co-pilot. As a result, David Franklin Albrecht, the Buslee crew’s assigned co-pilot, flew with the Paul Norton crew that day. This setup was repeated the next day, August 5. As a result, David Albrecht got to know some of the men of the Norton crew.

I believe Number 6 in this photo is David Albrecht. I believe Number 2 in this photo is either Carl Bennett Guinn, the engineer/top turret gunner or Thomas Bruce Everitt, the flexible/waist gunner, on the Norton crew.

NUMBERED Unknown 3


Here’s why:

I see a resemblance to Number 6 in the above photo to David Franklin Albrecht in the Buslee crew photo:

NUMBERED Albrecht in crew photo

Buslee Crew - Number 6 is David Albrecht

Buslee Crew – Number 6 is David Albrecht

Opinions? Do you see any resemblance?

I also think Number 2 in the above photo is either Carl Bennett Guinn or Thomas Everitt.

Guinn and Everitt both flew with the Norton crew and David Albrecht on August 4 and 5, 1944.  The sortie report shows the entire crew:

8-4-1944 Norton Crew Sortie Report

And in this photo from the 384th Bomb Group’s September 30, 1944 mission, the only two men not identified are Carl Guinn and Thomas Everitt. I have numbered them 2 and 3 in the photo. Comparing the men in the photo to the sortie report, the unidentified men must be Guinn and Everitt.


Back L-R: Bruno Melchionni (N), Nicholas Leschek (FG), Albert Sherriff (RO), unidentified 2, unidentified 3
Middle: George Jacobson (N)
Front L-R: Joe Sarto (VN), Maj. George Koehne (CA/CP), Ralph Wiley (B), Capt. William Johnson (P), Richard Rafeld (OBS/TG)
To Be Identified: Carl Guinn (TT) and Thomas Everitt (FG)

September 30 1944 Sortie Report

I believe Number 2 in the September 30 photo is the same man standing next to Number 6 (possibly David Albrecht) in the first photo.  Opinions?

Ok, next photo in question:

NUMBERED Unknown 1

Number 2 looks like the same man in the previous photos – either Guinn or Everitt. Note: he is continuously designated as Number 2 in each photo.

Number 1 looks somewhat like Richard Rafeld to me (see Number 1 on the September 30 photo above), but note that Rafeld did not fly with the Norton crew on August 4 and 5, so I may have this identification incorrect. Number 1 may be another of the Norton crew, but I cannot find any more photos for comparison.

Number 3 is probably Lester J. Noble, the Norton crew’s ball turret gunner. Note the name printed on the front of his jacket, “Les,” apparently short for “Lester.”

Number 4 is probably Clarence C. Bigley, the Norton crew’s togglier. Note the number of bombs painted on the back of the jacket he is holding. There are twenty. August 4, 1944 was Clarence Bigley’s twentieth mission. I can also compare this photo to his senior class high school photo in the Phillipsburg, New Jersery 1938 yearbook. His nickname was “Hutch” and his yearbook quote was “A big man with a big name.”

Clarence C. Bigley

Clarence C. Bigley 1938 senior class photo

Next photo:

NUMBERED Unknown 2

Again, Number 2 is the same Number 2 in the other photos – either Carl Guinn or Thomas Everitt.

I am almost certain Number 5 is Lenard Leroy Bryant of the Buslee crew. Lenard started out on the August 4 mission as the flexible gunner/waist gunner on the Buslee crew, but by the August 9 mission had become the Buslee crew’s engineer/top turret gunner.

Number 5 is Lenard Bryant. Pictured with his brother, Buck.

Number 5 is Lenard Bryant. Pictured with his brother, Buck.

And the final photo:

NUMBERED Unknown 4

Number 1 may be Richard Rafeld or one of the Norton crew.

Number 2 must be either Carl Guinn or Thomas Everitt.

I have sent messages to relatives of both Guinn and Everitt on I hope the relatives can provide photos and perhaps clear up the identifications of both of these men. If anyone else can provide any information, please contact me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

Florida Writers Association Collection Volume 7

This past weekend, I attended my very first writers conference. The Florida Writers Association 2015 Conference was held in Orlando, Florida at the Altamonte Springs Hilton. It was a wonderful experience meeting other writers and attending workshops and panels.

One of the highlights for me was the book signing, where all the writers – including me – of the sixty short stories included in Volume Seven of the Florida Writers Association Collection book, Revisions: Stories of Starting Over, had a chance to autograph copies of the book.

Book Signing

I got to sit at a table alongside some writing veterans and sign my name – over and over – and loved every minute of it! And just a few feet away, New York Times best selling author, Marie Bostwick, signed her name to the same book!

FWA 2015 Collections Cover

My non-fiction story, The Replacements, is the story of my dad starting his life over again after WWII. It starts on page 57. The book can be found on here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

More Information About James B. Davis

I previously wrote about James B. Davis, the second bombardier of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squad of the 384th Bomb Group stationed at Grafton Underwood Airfield in England. Click here for the previous article.

I have found some more information about him before and after his WWII years that I’d like to share.

James Buford Davis was born on October 5, 1921 in New Castle, Henry County, Indiana to Charles Raymond (1891 – 1986) and Bessie “Bess” Millican (1893 – 1981) Davis. Charles Raymond, who went by the name “Ray,” named his son after his own father. He and Bess lived in Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky in 1920 and he was a farmer. But by the time son James was born, the family had moved to Indiana.

In 1930, the Davis family lived at 356 South 14th Street in the Fifth Ward of New Castle, Henry County, Indiana. Ray was thirty-nine years old and Bess was thirty-six. Ray had been born in Kentucky and both of his parents were from Kentucky. Bess was born in Indiana. Her father was from Indiana and her mother was from Kentucky. James was eight years old at the time of the 1930 census. He had a younger brother Charles R., age five, and a younger sister Evelyn Joy, age four. Ray was employed as a commercial paint salesman.

In 1940, the family had moved to 1216 Woodlawn Drive, but still lived in New Castle. Ray was still working as a salesman for a paint company. James was now eighteen years old, and had another brother Neel D. Davis, who was nine.

James graduated from New Castle Chrysler High School with the Class of 1940. The school’s Rosennial Yearbook of 1940 pictured James with the caption “Hi-Y Student Manager.”

James Buford Davis Senior High School Photo

James Buford Davis Senior High School Photo

The code of the sixty Hi-Y boys of New Castle High School was “clean speech, clean living, and clean scholarship.” All boys of good character who desired membership were eligible to join.

After high school, James attended college for two years before enlisting in the Air Corps on July 21, 1942 at Bowman Field, Louisville, Kentucky. As I’ve covered James’s WWII career here, I won’t cover it again. While serving with the 384th Bomb Group, James received 3 bronze stars, an Air medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, and a presidential citation.

After the war, James graduated from Purdue University. He married Joan McShirley on August 21, 1948. They had one son, Sean (1951 – 1967). At one time James owned Express Auto Supply in Hobart, Indiana and later co-owned a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in New Castle, Indiana.

James B. Davis, 88 of Indianapolis died December 20, 2009.

Note:  Now that I have found a photo of James B. Davis, I am trying to determine if the bombardier in the Buslee crew photo is the original bombardier Marvin Fryden or replacement bombardier James B. Davis.  What do you think? Is the man standing on the far right Fryden (who I don’t have a picture of) or Davis?

Update, February 2023: Since my original post, I have determined that this Buslee crew photo does indeed include James Buford Davis rather than Marvin Fryden standing on the far right of the back row.

The Buslee Crew

The Buslee Crew

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

More Information About William D. Barnes, Jr.

Thank you to Keith Ellefson, combat data specialist and volunteer for, and Bobby Silliman, of the Carlsbad Army Airfield’s Facebook community, for finding “our” William D. Barnes, Jr. Bobby Silliman has a master list of all 47,466 bombardier graduates who earned their wings in America during WWII and the only William D. Barnes Jr. was from Hastings, Michigan. There were no other bombardiers with this name, so this has got to be our guy.

Bombardier class picture of William Douglas Barnes, Jr.

Bombardier class picture of William Douglas Barnes, Jr.

Now that we found the right Barnes, I can tell you more about him.

William Douglas Barnes, Jr. was born on May 20, 1919 in Charleston Township, Pennsylvania to Williams D. Sr. (b. August 4, 1884 – d. September 27, 1965), and Carrie M. Vandegrift Barnes (b. November 8, 1887 to d. July 6, 1970).

In 1920, the Barnes family lived on a farm on Elk Run Road in Charleston Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. William Sr. was a farmer. William Sr. was 35, Carrie was 33, and William Jr. was only 7 months old at the time of the census on January 2 or 3, 1920.

In 1930, the family had moved to Eastmanville Street in Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. The Barnes’s second son, Charles F., had been born in 1920 and was now nine years old. William Sr. was a machinist in a condensery and Carrie was a clerk in a dry goods store in 1930. William Jr. may have been called by his middle name “Douglas” as he is listed on the census as “W. Douglas.”

In 1940, the family lived in Hastings, Barry County, Michigan at 135 S. Jeff Street. They moved to Hastings some time after 1935. William Sr. was a pattern storage foreman for a press and tool manufacturer. Carrie was no longer working outside the home. William Jr., at 20, was a commercial teller for a city bank. Charles was a clock repairman and salesman for a jewelry store.

Younger brother Charles was the first of the Barnes boys to enlist in the Army Air Corps on January 10, 1942. William Jr. enlisted in the Air Corps a few months later, on May 21, 1942. Born only about a year apart, the brothers must have been very close.

William D. Barnes, Jr. was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squad on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated July 26,1944 as bombardier of the James Joseph Brodie crew. For more information about his military career with the 384th, see my previous post.

Charles married Dorothea E. Kolch on October 22, 1950 in Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan, but I can find no record of a marriage for William Douglas, Jr.

William Douglas Barnes, Jr. died on December 6, 1990. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Hastings, Michigan. His parents are also buried in the same cemetery.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015