I have been researching my dad’s (George Edwin Farrar) WWII history for several years. Dad was a waist gunner for the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. When I first started researching, I wasn’t quite sure where to look, but along the way found many resources. For anyone just starting their own search of a family member who was in the 384th Bomb Group, here are some places to start. The headings below are clickable links.
The 384th Bomb Group’s Web Site
You should begin your search on this site. For starters, enter first and last name of the 384th member in the Personnel Database Search box on the home page and click the Lookup button. The member’s Individual Personnel Data page will display.
A lot of interesting information is presented on this one page and note that several fields contain links for more information on the other members of his original crew if he was on a combat crew, mission numbers, sortie reports, and aircraft.
At the top of the Personnel Data page to the right of the Name field, click on the white “Experimental: Personal War Service Records” button to produce a more detailed report on the 384th member. You may find some of the most interesting information at the bottom of the report. There you will find two lists. One list displays all of the aircraft in which the member flew during his service. The other list displays all of the other 384th members with which he flew missions.
This detailed report is also printable. Follow the instructions at the top of the report to convert it into a PDF file. Once converted, the PDF file can be printed to produce a record of the member’s missions with the 384th Bomb Group.
If the member was involved in an accident or was part of a missing air crew, you will most likely find a link to the accident report or missing air crew report at the bottom of the sortie report for that crew for that mission. On the member’s Individual Personnel Data page, click “Sortie” for the particular mission to display the Sortie Report. At the bottom of the Sortie Report, click on the link for the Accident or Missing Air Crew Report for available information.
The 384th Bomb Group’s Photo Gallery
The 384th Bomb Group’s photo gallery contains thousands of photos and tens of thousands of documents. You can browse through the gallery, or enter a specific search in the Quick Search box on the left side of the screen. You may find an original crew photo or other interesting information here. If you have any photos that you do not see on the gallery, we request that you register for an account and upload photos to share with the group.
You may also access the photo gallery through the menu of the 384th Bomb Group’s web site. You will find the Photo Gallery in the menu at the top of the page.
384th Bomber Group Facebook Group
The 384th Bomb Group has its own Facebook page. It is a closed group, and you must request membership in the group to view and become part of the ongoing discussions. The group consists of 384th Bomb Group veterans, 384th NexGens (the next generation – sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, nieces, and nephews of 384th members), friends of the group, and others interested in WWII history.
Many NexGens have connected with other NexGens whose relatives served on the same bomber crews with each other. The 384th Bomb Group researchers also frequent the page and can help with questions and research.
National Archives WWII Enlistment Records
Enter first and last name in the search box and click the Search button. Click View Records in the “Series and Files” returned in the search. You may find the person you are looking for in the list and you may not. If you do find the record you are looking for, click the “View Record” icon to the left to see the record’s detail.
American Air Museum in Britain
You can search for personnel at the American Air Museum’s web site. You may also add and edit information at this site.
This is a paid site for military information, but does offer an unpaid trial subscription.
This is another paid site for all kinds of genealogical information, but military information can be found here as well.
You can search for military personnel records at the National Archives by mail or in person. I have done both. Depending on how many records exist, the price to receive records by mail could be very costly. On the other hand, a fire in 1973 destroyed many records, so no or very few documents could still be available for your search.
If you opt to visit the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri, you can make your own copies by photographing available records for free. You must schedule an appointment and request records well in advance, though, so records can be made ready for your visit. Camera stands are available for your use and the research staff at the center is very helpful.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016