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George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 5

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding my dad, George Edwin Farrar, one of the original waist gunners of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.

Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

This part will cover George Edwin Farrar’s post-WWII life.

Post-World War II

Following George Edwin Farrar’s honorable discharge and release from military service in San Antonio, Texas on 29 October 1945, he began a new career in a new part of the country as a civilian.

Ed’s father, Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., was in ill health and bedridden by time Ed returned to States in July 1945. Ed’s sister, Beverly, who was eight years old at the time, remembered a special visit to the Farrar home from the parents of the pilot, John Oliver “Jay” Buslee, of Ed’s B-17 crew.

The Buslee’s may have visited after Ed was discharged in October or at an earlier date while he was home on furlough soon after his return to the States. Regardless of the time frame, the Buslee’s traveled from Chicago to meet with Ed (whom they knew as George), the only survivor on their son’s B-17 in the mid-air collision over Magdeburg, Germany on 28 September 1944.

Ed had written to the Buslee’s from France and they in turn, wrote to Ed’s mother, Raleigh Mae Farrar, on 4 June 1944 about wanting to visit when he returned home.

The Buslee’s wrote again on 15 July 1945, mentioning a visit in the “near future.” The July 15th letter was the last letter from the Buslee’s that was in the war letters Ed’s mother saved, making it likely that the visit was in the summer of 1945 shortly after Ed’s return, but the visit could have been later, in the Fall, after his military discharge.

Jay Buslee’s parents were eager to learn everything they could about the mid-air collision that killed their son. John and Olga Buslee traveled to Atlanta to hear the news in person. Ed’s sister Beverly remembered Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, Ed, and her mother Raleigh Mae talking in the living room during their visit. Ed’s father Carroll was too ill to join the group.

John Buslee offered Ed a job as a salesman for his business. John Buslee was the “Buslee” in Neumann, Buslee & Wolfe, Inc., self-described as “Merchants, Importers, and Manufacturers” of essential oils, based in the Bauer Building on West Huron Street in Chicago, Illinois.

Ed did not want to leave home so soon, but he accepted the offer and the opportunity to restart his life. Ed moved to Chicago and into the Buslee home as Jay’s parents would not hear of him living anywhere else. John Buslee taught Ed sales skills and gave him the chance to make a good living in post-war America.

George Edwin Farrar became a traveling salesman of essential oils for Neumann, Buslee & Wolfe, traveling his territory by train and bus. The extent of the area his sales territory covered is unknown, but letters reveal he worked in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He wrote a letter home on 29 March 1946 from Oklahoma City in which he mentioned revisiting Ardmore, where he was a gunnery instructor in the war.

Ed missed his family and home in Atlanta, but the Buslee’s provided him with a good home, a good job, and a good life in Chicago.

In July 1946, the Henson’s traveled to Chicago to visit with Ed Farrar and the Buslee’s. Bill and Minnie Henson were the parents of William Alvin Henson II, the Sammons crew navigator who was on board the Buslee crew B-17 on 28 September 1944. Jeanne was their daughter. They, along with Ed and the Buslee’s, visited Barney’s Market Club on 10 July.

At Barney’s Market Club on July 10, 1946
Left side of table: John Buslee, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Gertrude (unknown relationship)
Right side of table: Bill Henson, Minnie Henson, Jeanne Henson, Ed Farrar, Olga Buslee. (Photo courtesy of John Dale Kielhofer).

and earlier, on 6 July, visited The College Inn.

The College Inn in Chicago, Illinois on July 6, 1946
Left to right: Ed Farrar, Minnie Henson, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Jeanne Henson. (Photo courtesy of John Dale Kielhofer).

Ed Farrar worked for Mr. Buslee and lived in Mr. and Mrs. Buslee’s home from late-1945 to mid-1949. In mid-1948, Ed’s brother Carroll Jr., and his brother’s wife Millie, formerly of Enid, Oklahoma, introduced Ed to Millie’s friend, Bernice Jane Chase of Enid. Bernice, known as Bernie, was a native of the farming community of Meno, Oklahoma, about twenty miles from Enid.

Bernice Chase was the middle daughter of Louis Albert Chase and Mary Selina Allen Chase, born on 2 June 1920. She had two sisters, an older one named Bethel, and a younger one named Beatrice. Mary called her three girls her “three little B’s.” Bernie’s father Louis and grandfather Cornelius Judson Allen both homesteaded on land in Meno acquired during the Oklahoma Land Rush. Their land in Meno was used to raise wheat crops, and later, oil wells and oil pumps marked the landscape.

Bernice Chase and her sisters lost their mother in 1928 to pneumonia and their father was left to raise them alone in a farm house with no electricity on the wheat farm. Bernice was eight years when her mother died. Her father never remarried. Electricity finally came to the Chase farm when Bernice was in high school. After high school and some college, Bernice moved into Enid to live and work.

I will write more about Bernice Chase Farrar, my mother, in future posts.

Bernie and Ed met in June 1948. Their courtship was mainly through letters as Ed was a traveling salesman who could visit only on occasions when he was working in the area.

Their letters and courtship photos would have to do between visits,

Bernice Jane Chase
“To Ed with all my love, Bernie”


George Edwin Farrar

George Edwin Farrar married Bernice Jane Chase a year after they met, on 30 June 1949 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a small ceremony with just Ed and Bernie standing in front of the Justice of the Peace. No family. No photos. Even though I don’t have a wedding photo, I do have a photo from early in their marriage.

Bernie and Ed Farrar

After his marriage to Bernice Chase in June 1949, Ed left Chicago and they both moved to his parents’ Atlanta home until Ed took a job with Oakite Products, Inc. on 26 September 1949. That day, Ed was in New York City for his final interview and was hired and began his training with the company that same day.

Ed Farrar’s First Oakite Company Photo (1949)

With his training complete, on November 14, 1949, he was assigned to the Columbia-Spartanburg, South Carolina territory as an Oakite Products salesman. Little did he know that a witness to his 28 September 1944 mid-air collision over Magdeburg, the late Wallace Storey, lived in Spartanburg after the war.

Ed and Bernie moved to Greenville, South Carolina and rented an apartment in a beautiful large stone home at 20 Arden Street. Bernie took a job doing office work with an insurance company as Ed began his Oakite career.

The recently-released 1950 Federal Census records George E and Bernice J Farrar residing in the Arden Street home in that year. George/Ed was 28 years old and Bernice was 29.

The 1950 census record incorrectly identifies my parents’ states of birth as South Carolina. His correct place of birth was Georgia and hers was Oklahoma. Just a reminder that not all information recorded in the census is correct information.

Also recorded,

  • Ed worked 45 hours the previous week as a salesman for a cleaning products plant
  • Bernice worked 40 hours the previous week as an accountant and office clerk for a life insurance company.

Notes recorded on their page of the census indicate that the census taker had stopped by previously, but found no one at home. The note did provide some interesting information about the house, however.

House unit 416, upstairs apartment, in large house, did not find any one home on first call and thought house had only 3 apartments. Return call, found 1 more.

Ed and Bernie photographed their Greenville home,

Home in Greenville, South Carolina where Ed and Bernice Farrar lived after they got married

and I photographed it sixty years later when I visited Greenville.

Home in Greenville, SC where Ed and Bernie rented an apartment in 1949, photographed in 2010

The Greenville home reminds me very much of the Keeper’s Lodge at Grafton Underwood. The lodge sits just outside a gate separating it from George Edwin Farrar’s 544th Bomb Squadron living area on the 384th Bomb Group base.

Bert Denney at the Keeper’s Lodge in Grafton Park Woods, home of the Denney family for nearly 50 years (Photo courtesy of Richard Denney)

On 13 November 1950, Ed Farrar was notified by Oakite Products that he was reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia as of 1 December. Ed and Bernie Farrar moved to Atlanta to continue their lives in Ed’s hometown where they both remained until their deaths.

George Edwin Farrar wearing his Air Force ring

George Edwin Farrar never forgot his lost crewmates of the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg. He wore a memorial to them in the form of an Air Force ring for the rest of his life.

Dad’s United States Air Force Ring

Ed Farrar became a top salesman for Oakite Products and late in his Oakite career, won the top corporate honor for Oakite Products, the D.C. Ball Award for Distinguished Oakite Service.

In the sales year of 1979, he was in the #4 sales spot nationally in the company. In March 1982, he set a new one month sales record for Oakite, the “highest sales volume ever recorded in one month by an Oakiter.”

Ed and Bernie’s first home was on Conway Road in Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia. In 1957, they moved to Arrowhead Trail in Atlanta, also in DeKalb County.

Ed and Bernie wanted to start a family upon their return to Atlanta, but it took longer than expected. I was born in the late 1950’s and my sister in the early 1960’s. We were born ten to fifteen years behind the children of most WWII veterans, in the later years of the baby boom.

George Edwin Farrar at home on Arrowhead Trail

Ed Farrar continued to work for Oakite Products until his death at the age of 61 on 5 November 1982 from cardiac arrest. Bernie continued to live in the Arrowhead Trail home until her death at the age of 83 on 12 March 2004. They are buried side by side at Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Tucker, DeKalb County, Georgia.

I will write more about both my dad’s and mother’s lives in future posts, but for now I conclude this update.


Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

Previous posts, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Previous post, letter, The Buslees Want to Visit

Previous post, letter, Faithful Correspondent

Previous post, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee Visit

Previous post, Revisiting Ardmore

Previous post, Ed Meets Bernie

Previous post, Ed and Bernie Marry

Previous post, Ed and Bernie Start Their New Life Together

Previous post, Wallace A. Storey

Previous post, September 28, 1944 – Wallace Storey

Short story and previous post, The Replacements

George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Find a Grave, George Edwin Farrar

Find a Grave, Bernice Jane Farrar

Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023

George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 4

George Edwin Farrar

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding my dad George Edwin Farrar, one of the original waist gunners of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.

Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

This part will cover George Edwin Farrar’s journey home from Germany following his liberation as a POW and his release from military service.

Germany Surrenders

George Edwin Farrar was liberated by the British Royal Dragoons on 2 May 1945. Just five days later, on 7 May 1945, Germany surrendered to the western Allies at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Headquarters in Reims, France. German Chief-of-Staff, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender, to take effect the following day.

On 8 May 1945, V-E (Victory in Europe) Day was declared as German troops continued to surrender to the Allies throughout Europe.

On the day of Germany’s surrender (7 May) and V-E Day (8 May), George Farrar was likely still in Germany or possibly in Brussels, Belgium, but would travel to both France and England before returning home. I am able to track his path through letters home and a medal application.

Waiting to Return Home

George Edwin Farrar just wanted to get home, but between the time he was liberated and the day he departed the European Theater calculates to sixty-one days.

In Germany following 2 May 1945 Liberation

George Edwin Farrar first wrote home after liberation, filling out the blanks of a “Priority Message.” Within his fifteen word limit, he did not indicate what day it was or where he was.

He wrote:

Dear Mother, was liberated May Second.  Am in good health.  Will be home soon.  Love, S/Sgt. George E. Farrar, ASN 14119873

In Germany on 6 May 1945

Four days after he was liberated, George Edwin Farrar wrote a longer letter to his mother from Germany. Some of the highlights of the letter were that,

  • I was liberated by the English May 2nd.
  • I should be home soon.
  • I have been on the road marching since Feb. 6th with very little food, but am not in bad condition.
  • I guess I’ll have to get a new watch when I return as I had to sell mine for bread when I was on the march.
  • I hope you can read this, as I am writing on an old German gas mask case, and it is a bit rough, so will close until I have a better chance to write.

In Brussels, Belgium after leaving Germany

In filling out my dad’s posthumous Prisoner of War (POW) Medal Application on 17 August 1988, my mother wrote,

He was liberated on May 2, 1945. Sent to Brussels, Belgium and on to a hospital in France where he spent several weeks.

I do not know the source of her information other than probably told to her by my dad.

According to a U.S. World War II Hospital Admission Card, on 14 May 1945, George E. Farrar was hospitalized for ten days (presumably till about May 23) in a field hospital with a diagnosis of acute Tonsillitis. This field hospital likely was in Belgium, but the location was not included on the transcription of the card.

In France, 22 to 29 May 1945

On 22 May 1945, George Edwin Farrar wrote a letter to his mother from France. In part, he wrote,

  • Thought I had better drop you a line, as it is taking a little longer to get away from here than I thought, but it won’t be much longer.
  • I had better cut this as it is getting late and the lights here are very poor. And if I expect to do any more flying I had better take good care of them (my eyes).

At this point, he probably thought he would have to return to combat duty and flying. He also noted that while he was a prisoner of war,

I was in three German Hospitals for about two and a half months.

This indicates he was not placed in the general population of Stalag Luft IV until mid-December 1944, not mid-November as I have been thinking. I am also now even more curious about in which three German hospitals he stayed.

After not having a chance to mail his letter, Ed Farrar added a few more lines on 29 May 1945, with the new information that,

I have been in France for little over a week, and am going to England before I come to the States.

That last line leads me to believe he was in Germany and Belgium for almost three weeks before he arrived in France around 22 May.

In addition to a hospital stay in France, as indicated in the POW medal application, I believe it’s possible he was processed through the Cigarette Camp, Camp Lucky Strike, while he was in France. Most American airmen who had become POW’s during the war were processed through this camp.

I’ll write more about Camp Lucky Strike and the other RAMP (Recovered American Military Personnel) camps in a future post.

In England, June 1945

On 29 June 1945, George Edwin Farrar wrote a letter to his mother from England. He had thought he would be going home near the end of May and now it was a whole month later and he was still in Europe, in England.

He wrote that,

This will be my last letter from England, as we are leaving to-night. I will call you the first chance I get, after we reach the States. It will take a good while to cross, as we are going to be on a very small ship.

But George Farrar didn’t leave that night. According to his separation papers, he left England three days later, on 2 July 1945.

Return Home

George Edwin Farrar left England one year and one day after he left the States on 1 July 1944 heading to the European Theater of Operations for combat duty. He returned home by ship from an unknown departure point in England on 2 July 1945 to an unknown arrival port in the U.S. on 17 July 1945. I have not found any more details about his journey, including the name of the ship.

Release from WWII Military Service

George Edwin Farrar’s WWII Final Payment Worksheet noted a “Previous Organization” as Miami Beach, Florida. Just like Brodie crew waist gunner Harry Liniger, I believe George Farrar was sent to Army Air Forces Redistribution Station No. 2 in Miami Beach for reassignment processing after completing his tour of duty outside the continental United States.

The Gates County Index newspaper reported for Harry Liniger that, “During his processing, he is housed in an ocean-front hotel and enjoys abundant facilities for rest and recreation in this year-round beneficial climate.” George Farrar likely spent time in Miami for the same reason and probably in the same or a similar hotel.

Before going to Miami, Harry Liniger enjoyed some time at home, and I believe George Farrar would have also. George must have been considered to be on furlough from 24 July (a week after he returned to the States on 17 July) until 5 October 1945, and I believe the two locations he would have been in during this timeframe would have been home in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the AAF Redistribution Station in Miami.

During this time, on 14 August 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender, but surrender documents would not be signed until 2 September. Some consider the 14 August 1945 date to be V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, but others consider it to be 2 September 1945, when the surrender document was signed.

From Miami, George Farrar was likely next sent to San Antonio, Texas, where he received his Honorable Discharge and Separation Notice on 29 October 1945, from Miami.

According to his Final Payment Worksheet, George Edwin Farrar was discharged from the Army Air Forces on 29 October 1945. Up until this final payment, he was last paid on 30 June 1945, which was just before his departure from England, on the way home.

His Accrued Base & Longevity Pay from 1 July 1945 to 29 October 1945 was $399.84. His Foreign Service Pay from 1 July to 17 July 1945 was $10.88. His Furlough Rations from 24 July 1945 to 5 October 1945 was $48.84.

Honorable Discharge and Enlisted Record and Report of Separation

George Edwin Farrar was honorably discharged from the military service of the United States of America on 29 October 1945.

His place of separation was SAD AAFPDC (Army Air Forces Personnel Distribution Command), San Antonio, Texas.

He recorded his Honorable Discharge with the Clerk Superior Court of DeKalb County, Georgia on 14 November 1945.

George Edwin Farrar’s Report of Separation listed his height as 5’8″ tall and weight as 140 pounds. Comparing these measurements to those he listed on his draft registration card, during the course of his military service he lost an inch in height and two pounds. I can’t say why there was a height difference, but he must have regained the weight he lost as a prisoner or war over the six months since his liberation.

His separation record listed his (partial) Military History and Pay Data,

  • Military Occupational Specialty and No. – AP Arm Gnr. 612
  • Military Qualification – AAF Air Crew Member Badge (Wings)
  • Battles and Campaigns – Normandy, No. France, Rhineland
  • Decorations and Citations – listed below…
  • Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return – listed below…
  • Wounds Received in Action – Germany 28 Sept 44
  • Longevity for Pay Purposes was 3 years, 4 months, and 25 days
  • Total Length of Continental Service – 2 years, 4 months, and 9 days
  • Total Length of Foreign Service – 1 year and 16 days
  • Reason and Authority for Separation – RR 1-1 Convn of the Gov’t.
  • Service Schools Attended – Kingman, Ariz., Ft. Myers, Fla.

Decorations and Citations (Awards and Decorations)

  • American Theater Ribbon
  • EAME Ribbon w/3 Bronze Stars
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Air Medal w/1 Bronze (Oak Leaf) Cluster
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Purple Heart

George Farrar was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received on 28 September 1944 per General Orders #41, San Antonio District, AAF PDC dated 25 October 1945.

George Edwin Farrar Purple Heart Card
Image courtesy of Keith Ellefson

  • POW Medal (awarded posthumously in 1988)

Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return

  • Departure from U.S.
    • Date of Departure 1 Jul 44
    • Destination ETO
    • Date of Arrival 3 Jul 44
  • Departure from ETO
    • Date of Departure 2 Jul 45
    • Destination USA
    • Date of Arrival 17 Jul 45

George Edwin Farrar’s Separation Record noted for his Military Occupational Assignments,

  • 1 month, Grade Pvt, a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of AAF Basic Tng 521
  • 13 months, Grade Sgt, MOS of AAF Gunnery Instructor 938
  • 3 months, Grade S/Sgt (Staff Sergeant), MOS of Airplane Armorer Gunner 612

The Summary of his Military Occupations noted,

  • AAF GUNNERY INSTRUCTOR (938) – Instructed Military Personnel in flexible gunnery for 7 months 1943 at Kingman, Arizona. Conducted and administered training classes and gunnery tests. Administered phase checks, organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunner for six months at Ardmore OTU, Okla.
  • AIRPLANE ARMORER GUNNER – Was a crew member of a B-17 at an 8th AF Heavy Bombardment Base in England for 3 months in 1944. Flew 17 missions over German Occupied territory. Flew as Armorer Gunner in lead ship and was responsible for inspection and repair of bomb racks, gun sights, and turrets. Fired 50 caliber machine gun from Waist position when in combat.

George Farrar’s Military Education noted,

  • ACGS: Kingman, Ariz. Flexible Gunnery, (30 and 50 caliber machine guns) 6 weeks.
  • AC INSTRUCTORS SCHOOL – Ft. Myers, Fla. 6 wks. – Course included instruction and practical training in teaching methods and Student Psychology as well as fundamentals of advanced Aerial Gunnery.

Additional Information noted,

POW in Germany 28 Sept 44 – 2 May 45.

More about George Edwin Farrar’s post-WWII life in my next post…


Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

Previous posts, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 3

George Edwin Farrar

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding my dad George Edwin Farrar, one of the original waist gunners of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.

Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1 and Part 2

This part will cover George Edwin Farrar as MIA (Missing in Action) and as a POW (Prisoner of War).

The Mid-air Collision

On 28 September 1944, the B-17’s of the John Buslee crew and the James Brodie crew collided over Magdeburg, Germany. Rather than repeat the story of the collision, I will direct those who would like to read it to 384th Bomb Group pilot Wallace Storey’s account of the collision here.

Missing in Action

Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group note the following for George Edwin Farrar: On 28 September 1944, on Mission 201 to Magdeburg, Germany (Target was Industry, Steelworks), George Edwin Farrar, flying with the John Oliver Buslee crew, went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action).

George Farrar and the other airmen involved in the collision would remain missing until some word was heard, typically relayed from the Red Cross to the military, and from the military to the families, or next of kin, of the missing. Word did not travel quickly outside of wartime Germany to families waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.

George Edwin Farrar’s missing in action status was reported in his hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, date unknown, but likely in early- or mid-October 1944.

Sgt. George Farrar Missing Over Reich

This particular article noted George received his wings at Kingman, Arizona, and mentioned he was a gunnery instructor at Kingman before going overseas for combat duty. It also looks like, at the time, his older brother Carroll was stationed in Greensboro, North Carolina with the Army Air Corps and his younger brother Robert (Bob) was stationed in the Pacific with the Navy.

During WWII, Greensboro was the only city to have a military base inside its city limits. In 1944, Greensboro’s Army Air Force base’s role was as an ORD, an “Overseas Replacement Depot.” It processed, reassigned and shipped out soldiers. It is likely that Carroll had finished one tour and was being reassigned there at the time.

At that same time, Robert (Bob), the youngest of the trio of Farrar brothers in WWII, was serving on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, the USS Intrepid.

Prisoner of War


In the mid-air collision, George Edwin Farrar was thrown unconscious from his B-17. He awakened long enough to deploy his chest chute before losing consciousness again. He next awoke on the ground, received a beating from German civilians, but was soon rescued by Nazi military.

He was unable to walk and was carried to a house. He received medical attention and was interrogated, but I don’t know the details other than he traveled by train and remembered that his German guards were kind to him and allowed him to ride in one of their bunks.

Within the first week after capture, the Germans allowed the POWs to send a pre-printed postcard home. George Edwin Farrar was allowed to send his postcard on 5 October 1944.

George likely wrote his card from the hospital. Considering his condition, his report that he was “in good health” was certainly not accurate. And he was not transported to another camp “within the next few days.”

POW mail could take several months to arrive at its destination. Fellow POW, Brodie crew waist gunner Harry Liniger, wrote his post card on 3 October and his mother received it on 20 December 1944.

George Farrar’s postcard, written two days later, could have been received in late December, too, but I think it is equally likely that it was not received until after the first of the new year. In late December, the Farrar family had not yet heard any official word about the fate of their son from the U.S. government.

Hospital and Prison Camp

George Edwin Farrar was severely injured in the mid-air collision and was hospitalized at an unknown location. Unable to walk, he remained hospitalized until shortly before Thanksgiving 1944, at which time he was moved to a barracks in the Stalag Luft IV POW camp.

Aside from George Farrar of the John Oliver Buslee crew, the only airmen of the two crews to survive the mid-air collision were George Hawkins, Wilfred Miller, and Harry Liniger of the James Joseph Brodie crew.

The only surviving officer, Brodie crew navigator George Marshall Hawkins, was seriously injured and served his entire POW internment in a POW hospital. All three gunners, Farrar, Miller, and Liniger, were all held in the Stalag Luft IV POW camp for enlisted airmen.

Stalag Luft IV map drawing courtesy of Jack McCracken

George Farrar and Wilfred Miller appear on the same camp roster, a Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster, placing both of them in the same Lager of the camp. I believe Harry Liniger may have been held in the same lager even though his name does not appear on the roster, which could be incomplete.

George Edwin Farrar’s POW number was #3885. He was held in Stalag Luft IV, Lager D, Barracks 4, Room 12. This I know from two POW Lager D rosters, one for American airmen and one for British airmen, from Gregory Hatton’s website, Kriegsgefangen Lagar Der Luft VI and VI.

George Edwin Farrar’s POW ID Tag

Telegram Received

The Farrar family received official word on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1944, that their son was alive and a prisoner of war. More than three months had passed since the mid-air collision between the Buslee and Brodie crews’ B-17’s before George Edwin Farrar’s parents and siblings would officially learn he had survived.

Subsequent newspaper articles reported George’s status as a prisoner of war. None of these articles are dated, but are likely from early January 1945. Two of the articles were very similar, but provided slightly different details.

Prisoners of War


Sergeant Farrar Is Prisoner of Nazis

Both articles refer to my father as “Edwin” Farrar, the name he was called by family, rather than “George” Farrar, as he was known in the service. Both also mention his duty as a B-17 gunner, his Air Medal, and note he was a gunnery instructor, with one article adding the location detail of Albuquerque, New Mexico (rather than Kingman, Arizona as in the previous MIA article) and Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Both articles also mention brothers Carroll and Robert (Bob). Both identify Carroll as a Staff Sergeant with one noting his branch of service as Army Air Corps. Both identify Bob’s branch of service as the U.S. Navy with the additional detail of his duty as Watertender, and his rank of Third Class in one article. (Watertender is defined as “a crewman aboard a steam-powered ship who is responsible for tending to the fires and boilers in the ship’s engine room.”)

The news of Ed Farrar’s POW status even made the Susanville, California newspaper. His oldest sister Geraldine, “Gerry,” must have reported the story to her local paper after learning the wonderful news from home.

Previously “Missing”, Is Reported a Prisoner

I must assume that Ed Farrar’s POW postcard had been received by this time also as the telegram did not mention his condition. The postcard, with its report that he was in “good health” (and with “slightly wounded” canceled out) must have led Ed’s family to believe he was uninjured. And at this point, it is clear that the assumption was that his plane was shot down rather than being involved in a mid-air collision.

George Edwin Farrar’s sister Gerry (Mrs. W.C. Mass) also reported to her local paper that her brother had written to her and said, “With the things the Red Cross gives us we get plenty to eat.” If that was so, why would he have written to his mother on 24 October 1944 that, “I hope you will have plenty chicken when I get there. I think I could eat a couple all alone.”

The Red Cross Appreciated!

I believe prisoners in the German hospitals may have been fed more and better than the prisoners in the POW camps, but still of insufficient calories and nutrients.

It was not that the Red Cross wasn’t providing. It was that the Germans were not distributing the packages to the prisoners – at least the enlisted POW’s, but letting them slowly starve instead. With the Americans and British bombing the railways, many Red Cross packages did not get to their intended destinations. But many packages did and were hoarded by the Nazi POW camp leaders instead of distributing them to the prisoners.

The March

While Wilfred Miller was evacuated by train from Stalag Luft IV to Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany in late January 1945, George Farrar and Harry Liniger remained in Stalag Luft IV until the majority of the POW camp’s prisoners were marched out of the gates of the camp on 6 February 1945.

They did not know where they were going or how long they would be on the road, but it would be the start of an 86-day 500-mile march of prisoners across Germany.

I have previously written about the march and how little the men were fed, how poorly they were clothed, how sick and exhausted they became, and how they were housed in barns or slept out in the open all across Germany. I have written about how the winter of 1945 was so brutally cold. But as I learn more details about the march from many of the survivors who wrote about it, I will have more information to share in future articles.

POW Liberation

George Edwin Farrar was liberated by the British Royal Dragoons on 2 May 1945. He and his marching companion Lawrence Newbold, an RAF Lancaster wireless operator, were still on the road when they were freed.

As a prisoner of war, George Farrar had been hospitalized for almost two months, had been held in a POW camp for over two more months, and had been on the road marching across Germany for almost three more.

Once he was liberated, George was again hospitalized, but not until twelve days after he gained his freedom. According to a U.S. World War II Hospital Admission Card, on 14 May 1945, George E. Farrar was hospitalized for ten days in a field hospital with a diagnosis of acute Tonsillitis. The record does not give any other indication of his weight or overall condition at the time of his hospitalization. I believe he was cared for in multiple hospitals before returning home, including a hospital in England, remaining overseas until early July 1945.

More about George Edwin Farrar’s return home, release from military service, and post-WWII life in my next post…


Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

Previous posts, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1 and Part 2

Previous post, Stalag Luft IV, Lager D, Barracks 4, Room 12

George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

George Edwin Farrar’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives

George Farrar’s POW record in the online National Archives

Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

Jack McCracken‘s map drawing of Stalag Luft IV

Missing Air Crew Report 9366 for the Brodie crew on 28 September 1944 courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Missing Air Crew Report 9753 for the Buslee crew on 28 September 1944, courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

Online article, Greensboro’s Forgotten And Now Mostly Hidden History As Military Base

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 2

George Edwin Farrar

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, my dad George Edwin Farrar, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.

Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1

George Edwin Farrar’s Education and Civilian Employment prior to his Military Service

An entry on George Edwin Farrar’s WWII Separation Qualification Record reveals his pre-war Civilian Occupation as “Vending Machine Repairman: Was employed 18 mos. by C.D. Harris Cigarette Service, Atlanta, Ga. Serviced, repaired, and restocked cigarette vending machines.”

The timeframe of 18 months prior to his WWII enlistment and entry into active service (4 June 1942) would mean he started the vending machine repairman job in December 1940. This leads me to believe Ed Farrar’s last complete year of school was his 10th grade year in the 1939 – 1940 school year. He may have begun 11th grade in the Fall of 1940, but left school to take the job with C.D. Harris in December 1940.

Entry into WWII Military Service

Following in his older brother’s footsteps

Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr.
Enid (Oklahoma) Army Airfield Yearbook, Station Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. An inscription dates the yearbook to July 1943.
Photo courtesy of Fold3 and Find a Grave

George Edwin Farrar’s older brother, Carroll, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on 13 August 1941. One of his stateside training stations was the Enid, Oklahoma Army Airfield in Army Air Forces Training Cd class 43H – Station Aircraft Maintenance Squadron / Air Base Squadron. He later served in the Pacific Theater.

Information from a Farrar family history book written by Clarence B. Farrar in 1988 notes that Carroll,

Served 1941 to 1945, was Technical Sgt. Decorations include American Service Medal; Asiatic Pacific and American Defense Medal. WWII Victory medal; Air Forces Service Squadron 315th Army Air Forces. Battles India, Burma.

Ed always looked up to his older brother and followed in Carroll’s footsteps into the Army Air Forces.

Draft registration

George Edwin Farrar registered for the draft on 15 February 1942. According to his draft registration card, he was 20 years old, born on 3 September 1921 in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia, and lived at 79 East Lake Terrace, Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia.

The name of the person who would always know his address was his mother, Mrs. C.J. Farrar, of the same address.

His employer’s name was Harris, Inc., at the Hurt Building, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, which was his place of employment.

George listed his height as 5 ft. 9 in. and his weight as 142 pounds. He had gray eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. He also noted, as an “obvious physical characteristic that will aid in identification,” a scar on his right ankle.


George Edwin Farrar enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia on 4 June 1942, beginning his entry into active service on that date. His residence was noted as Fulton County, Georgia, although the area of Atlanta – Kirkwood – in which the Farrar family lived was in DeKalb County rather than Fulton County.

He also noted he was born in Georgia in 1921 and his education was two years of high school, which means he left school after the 10th grade. His civilian occupation was “Skilled mechanics and repairmen.” His marital status was single, without dependents.

Military Training

George Edwin Farrar began his military training with one month of AAF Basic Training 521 as a private.

Following Basic Training, he attended Flexible Gunnery School (30 and 50 caliber machine guns) for six weeks at Kingman, Arizona. He may have gone to a classification center before gunnery school, but I do not see any record of it. George Farrar was part of the 4th Student Squadron at Kingman, AZ in October 1942.

I see additionally that he was part of the 383rd Student Squadron in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Kirtland Army Air Base during the same timeframe, but do not see a formal record of him there. I have two pieces of evidence that he was in Albuquerque.

One is a news blurb in the base’s Bombsight newsletter, news reported from the 383rd Student Squadron,

It reads:

Lfc. Farrar made high score of the class with the Thompson Sub-Machine gun on the range. (Gee guys, better not fool with his gals.)

George was such a good shot with the Thompson Sub-machine gun, aka Tommy gun, that he earned the nickname “Tommy”.

The second piece of evidence was that he was in Albuquerque at the time of the filming of the Bombardier movie, which was filmed on location between October 12 and December 18, 1942. In this photo with one of the movie’s stars, Anne Shirley, you can see the 383rd School Squadron sign on the desk.

George Edwin Farrar on left with movie Star Anne Shirley
383rd School Squadron in Albuquerque, New Mexico

During his time in Kingman as a gunnery student, George Farrar attended the ACGS flexible gunnery school there for a six-week course. In a notebook he kept, he titled a section “4th Student Sq., Kingman, Ariz.” In that section are notes dated October 8 and 9, 1942.

His notes cover gunnery subjects such as small arms, Thompson sub-machine gun (cal.-45, model 1928), “US” Browning automatic rifle (cal.-30, M-1918), U.S. rifle (cal.-30, M-1917, Enfield), Shotgun (M-31, Skeet & Riot), and Browning machine gun (cal.-50, M2, Aircraft, Fixed & Flexible).

After gunnery school, George attended AC Instructors School in Fort Myers, Florida for six weeks. The course included “instruction and practical training in teaching methods and Student Psychology as well as fundamentals of advanced Aerial Gunnery.” I assume he was given the opportunity to become a gunnery instructor after performing so well as a student.

Following AC Instructors School, George became an Army Air Forces Gunnery Instructor with the 328th Hd. Sq. at Kingman. Beginning in May 1943 (Dad wrote a letter to his mother on May 23, 1943 giving her 328 Hd. Sq., Kingman, Ariz. as his new address, stating that he had just moved), he instructed military personnel in flexible gunnery for 7 months at Kingman, Arizona. He conducted and administered training classes and gunnery tests.

George Farrar left Kingman for an instructor’s position in Ardmore, Oklahoma about December 1943. In Ardmore, he administered phase checks, and organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunnery for six months at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School at Ardmore OTU. The Ardmore assignment lasted until May 1944.

On June 8, 1944, while at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School in Ardmore, George Edwin Farrar and future crewmate, Eugene D. Lucynski, received written orders “as a combat crew member requiring regular and frequent participation in aerial flights.”

George Farrar left Ardmore around June 22, 1944 with the John Oliver Buslee B-17 combat crew heading to England to fly heavy bomber missions over Europe. The crew made several stops in the states before finally departing the states June 29/30.

Combat Duty with the 384th Bomb Group

Morning Reports and other military documents of the 384th Bombardment Group indicate the following for George Edwin Farrar:

  • On 22 JULY 1944, George Edwin Farrar was assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944 as a waist gunner (classification AAG, Airplane Armorer/Gunner, with the MOS, military operational specialty, of 612), for the John Oliver Buslee crew. His pay per month was $140.40. His rank when assigned was Sergeant. He listed his home address as Mrs. Raleigh Mae George Farrar (his mother), 79 East Lake Terrace, N.E., Atlanta, GA.
  • On 9 SEPTEMBER 1944, George Farrar was promoted to Staff Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #180.
  • On 28 SEPTEMBER 1944, George Farrar went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action). He was subsequently declared POW (Prisoner of War) on that date.

George Farrar was credited with 16 completed combat missions with the 384th Bomb Group.

On his sixteenth mission, the B-17’s of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group collided with the Buslee crew’s B-17 over Magdeburg, Germany. Three of the Brodie crew survived the collision, but George Edwin Farrar was the sole survivor of the Buslee crew’s Flying Fortress.

More about George Edwin Farrar as a prisoner of war in my next post…


Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1

Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. photo courtesy of Fold3 and Find a Grave

George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Buslee Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1

George Edwin Farrar

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, my dad George Edwin Farrar, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.

George Edwin Farrar

I’m going to begin with a discussion about my dad’s name. His full name was George Edwin Farrar. His first name, George, came from his maternal roots. It was his mother’s maiden name, the surname of her paternal ancestry. I am not sure where his middle name, Edwin, came from. I do not find an Edwin in the George or Farrar ancestry other than his 22nd great-grandfather happened to be Edward I Plantagenet, King of England. Did Dad’s parents even know of that ancestry? I’m not certain they did.

But Dad was an “Edwin,” not an “Edward.” The only other “Edwin” I find in his family’s history is the name of the street on which his parents lived in 1913, 1 Edwin Place in Atlanta, Georgia. Did they like the name so much that they picked it for his middle name eight years later? I’m so not certain about that either.

To family and friends, George Edwin Farrar, was always “Ed.” Once he entered the military, he became “George.” Obviously, when your superior officer calls you “George,” your name is “George.” I’m quite sure he never would have corrected anyone with whom he was associated in the military, including fellow enlistees or crewmates, and especially not anyone under whom he was training or serving.

The name issue causes me difficulty when I transition between stories of my dad’s military life and his family life, like now. I often find myself switching back and forth between “George” and “Ed” when referring to my father, and sincerely hope I do not cause too much confusion about whom I am speaking. Forgive me for the lengthy digression into something as simple as my father’s name, but I thought it deserved an explanation up front.

Farrar Family

George Edwin Farrar came into this world on 3 September 1921. He was the fifth child and second son of Carroll Johnson Farrar and Raleigh Mae George Farrar.

Carroll was born December 17, 1888 in Charlotte Court House, Virginia to Charles Henry Farrar and Martha Ann Johnson Farrar. Charles was a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Raleigh Mae was a native Atlantan, growing up in the Grant Park area of Atlanta. She was born January 25, 1890 in Atlanta, Georgia to Raleigh David George (1858 – 1891) and Mary Willie Hollingsworth George (1861 – 1935). Her father, Raleigh David, was a train conductor and killed in a train accident the year after her birth.

Supposedly, up until his death, his daughter remained unnamed and was called “Baby.” After his death, Baby’s mother decided to name her Raleigh after her father. Unfortunately, the 1890 Federal census records were destroyed by fire leaving me unable to confirm this family legend told to me by the family’s youngest daughter, Beverly Farrar Millwood.

Carroll Farrar and Raleigh George were married in Atlanta, Georgia on June 25, 1909. Over the next twenty-eight years, they would have nine children.

The nine children of Carroll Sr and Raleigh Mae Farrar were:

  • Nell Geraldine “Gerry” Farrar (1910 – 1994)
  • Janet Mae Farrar (1912 – 1990)
  • Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr (1916 – 1967)
  • Dorothy Gertrude “Dot” Farrar (1919 – 1970)
  • George Edwin “Ed” Farrar (1921 – 1982)
  • Robert Burnham “Bob” Farrar (1925 – 1983)
  • Martha Ann Farrar (1927 – 1970)
  • Harold Eugene “Gene” Farrar (1931 – 2011)
  • Beverly Marie Farrar (1937 – 2017)

While I have previously covered the 1930 and 1940 Federal census records for the Farrar family, I’ll provide a summary, or recap, here. Click the link for all the details.

Carroll and Raleigh Mae Farrar raised their family in Atlanta, Georgia, and according to the 1920 census, were renting their home in the Kirkwood section of the city. Four of the Farrar children were born by this year: Geraldine (age 9), Janet (age 7), Carroll, Jr. (age 3), and Dorothy (a month shy of age 1).

The family moved around quite a bit in the 1920’s, always renting in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood.

According to the 1930 census, the Farrar family was living in a rented home, still in Kirkwood. By now the family had grown to seven children and all seven lived at home: Geraldine (19), Janet (17), Carroll Jr. (13), Dorothy (11), my dad, Edwin (8), Robert (5), and Martha (2). The Farrar family continued to rent the same home for the first half of the 1930’s.

By 1937, according to the Atlanta city directory, the Farrar’s lived at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE. By now the family had grown to nine children with the addition of Gene, born in 1931, and Beverly, born in 1937. The youngest child of the Farrar family, Beverly, was the only one born in the East Lake Terrace home.

Ed Farrar attended J. C. Murphy Junior High School in Atlanta, Georgia, completing the junior high course of study on 2 June 1938. He would go on to high school, but I do not know which high school he attended. More research for me, I see.

By the late 1930’s, while Ed Farrar was still completing his education, it was now two decades after the end of World War I. World War II was brewing in Europe, but most Americans felt the United States should stay out of foreign conflicts.

On 1 September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland to start World War II. Two days later, on 3 September, the day George Edwin Farrar celebrated his eighteenth birthday, Great Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany.

On 5 September, the United States proclaimed its neutrality, but it would only be a matter of time before three of Carroll and Raleigh Mae’s four sons would take part in fighting in the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.

Before America and the Farrar family went to war, time slowly marched on into the 1940’s. Americans must have been very on edge while the rest of the world battled on, wondering if and when they and their American sons would be called upon to join the destruction of nation against nation.

According to the 1940 census, the Farrar family owned their home at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia. Beverly remembered that the family rented the home first and then Raleigh decided they should buy it. Carroll, Sr., objected to the purchase, but Raleigh succeeded in talking him into buying the home. I don’t know what year they made the purchase, but they had done so by 18 April 1940, when census takers recorded the Farrar family for the Federal census.

In 1940, the three oldest girls – Geraldine, Janet, and Dorothy – were married and no longer living at home, but six of the Farrar children lived at 79 East Lake Terrace with their parents. Living in the home in 1940 were Carroll Sr. (51), Raleigh (50), Carroll Jr. (24), Edwin (18), Robert (15), Martha (12), Gene (9), and Beverly (3). Carroll Sr. worked as a printer in a printing shop, Carroll Jr. worked as a floor salesman in a department store (Atlanta’s downtown Rich’s store), and Edwin was a soda clerk in a drug store. The younger children attended school.

For the 1940 Federal census record entry for Edwin Farrar, in response to the question “Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940,” the answer was “Yes.” The next question, “Highest Grade Completed” was H2, or 10th Grade. Ed left school after completing the 10th grade. He was a good math student and won many math competitions, but with so many brothers and sisters at home to feed, the family needed an extra paycheck and his education was over.

[Note: his WWII Separation Record notes that after 2 years of high school, Ed Farrar left school in 1939. Even though the year he left school contradicts the census record, all records note his highest grade completed as 2 years of high school, or 10th grade.]

After his stint as a soda clerk, or as Ed called it, “soda jerk,” he worked as a vending machine maintenance man and made extra money as a Golden Gloves boxer.

On 4 September 1940, the “America First Committee” was established with the goal of keeping the United States out of WWII. But less than two weeks later, on 16 September, the United States military conscription bill passed and the first U.S. peacetime draft was enacted. A month later, Ed Farrar’s older brother, Carroll, Jr., registered for the WWII draft on 16 October.

Left to Right: Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. and George Edwin (Ed) Farrar.
May 8, 1941
Carroll enlisted in WWII 3 months later, on August 13, 1941

The next year, in the Summer of 1941, Carroll, Jr. was preparing to join in the war effort, even though the U.S. had not yet entered the war. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the Air Corps on 13 August 1941, and this family photo was taken shortly before he entered the service.

The Farrar family, circa Summer 1941
Standing, back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt (Janet’s first husband), Janet, Ozzie Couch (family friend), Carroll Jr.
Standing, middle, L to R: Martha, Dorothy (Dot) holding her daughter Phyllis, Raleigh, Carroll Sr.
Kneeling front: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)
Not pictured: Geraldine

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The next day, on 8 December, the United States and Great Britain declared war on Japan.

On 11 December 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Hours later, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying,

Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.

As the U.S. entered the war in Europe, Ed Farrar was still living in Kirkwood with his family at the 79 East Lake Terrace home. He followed his brother into war the next year, enlisting in the Army Air Corps on 4 June 1942.

On 8 May 1943, Ed’s younger brother Robert “Bob” enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18.

More about George Edwin Farrar and his military training and World War II service in my next post…


Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Robert Osler “Ozzie” Couch

Standing, back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt (Janet’s first husband), Janet, Ozzie Couch (family friend), Carroll Jr.
Standing, middle, L to R: Martha, Dorothy (Dot) holding her daughter Phyllis, Raleigh, Carroll Sr.
Kneeling front: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)

A couple of years ago, I published the above photo and wrote about the Farrar family in 1941. My dad, George Edwin Farrar, is standing on the far left.

I asked for help in identifying family friend Ozzie Couch, but did not turn up any leads. Still curious about this man who was apparently important enough to the family to earn a place in their family photo, I kept searching.

I just recently found Ozzie, or at least who Ozzie was, because I found that he’s been gone since 1984.

My dad’s youngest sister, my Aunt Beverly, is the one who identified him by name and told me a few things about him. Among those, Ozzie and Carroll Jr. (the Farrar’s oldest son) both worked at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia. Beverly remembered that Ozzie brought many gifts to the family including a variety of plants, Beverly’s first Persian cat, and a retired circus horse named Danny Boy that lived for a time in the garage. Ozzie was from North or South Carolina and served in WWII.

Unsure of the spelling of Ozzie’s last name (I had never seen it in writing), and wondering what formal name “Ozzie” stood for, I searched mainly for the first name “Oswald” and as many spelling variations of the last name “Couch” as I could think of. Google had a habit of showing me pictures of sofas when I Googled his last name with the spelling “Couch.”

I finally settled on searching using his nickname “Ozzie Couch” and a birth year of 1915, thinking he was probably close in age to his friend Carroll, Jr. (who was born in 1916). I don’t know how, but after many unsuccessful searches, Ancestry finally turned up an “Osier Couch” in the 1942 Atlanta City Directory. The database actually contained a typo as he was listed in the directory with the correct spelling of his name “Osler.” I guess “Osler” preferred the nickname “Ozzie.”

Surprised as I was to finally find him, the bigger surprise was that his residence address in 1942 was listed as 79 E Lake Ter SE (East Lake Terrace), the Farrar family home. Along with parents Carroll Sr. and Raleigh, living in the home in 1942 were also G Edwin (my dad) and Robt B (Bob). I assume the younger children weren’t listed because of their ages. Carroll Jr. was not living there at the time as he had enlisted in WWII in 1941. Ozzie’s occupation was listed as Assistant Warden.

Once I had found Ozzie on Ancestry, census and other records revealed more information about him. I found that Ozzie was the oldest of the seven children of Dudley Spiegal (1890 – 1960) and Leila Ellison (1890 – 1975) Couch. Ozzie had five brothers and one sister. His parents and all the children were born in South Carolina.

In 1920, the family lived on a farm on North A Street in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina. Ozzie’s father’s occupation was butcher. In 1930, his father had turned to the dairy business and his occupation was listed as dairyman of his own dairy.

In 1940, Ozzie was no longer living at home in Easley. When Ozzie filled out his military draft card on October 16, 1940, he listed his residence as 1428 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. According to that record, he was 5′ 10 1/2″ tall, weighed 157 pounds, had blue eyes, blonde hair, and a light complexion. The record also noted he was 29 years old, born on December 28, 1910 in Easley, South Carolina. His employer was the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. He listed his father, D.S. Couch living on North A Street in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina as the person who would always know his address.

Ozzie’s friend, Carroll Farrar Jr., enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on August 13, 1941. Ozzie enlisted in the Army the next year, on February 26, 1942, at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though the Atlanta City Directory showed him living on East Lake Terrace in 1942, Ozzie listed his residence as Pickens County, South Carolina on his enlistment record. He listed his education as four years of college.

I found a photo of Ozzie on Ancestry identified as obtained from the Fold3 website, with the original source being the 1943 WWII Yearbook of the Ninth Academic Group of Gulfport Field, Mississippi.

Robert Osler “Ozzie” Couch
Image from 1943 WWII Yearbook of the Ninth Academic Group of Gulfport Field, Mississippi

In the Gulfport yearbook, he was identified as a Second Lieutenant, Assistant Post Classification Officer. The yearbook describes the school as a technical school or more formally as the Army Air Forces Eastern Technical Training Command at Gulfport Field, Mississippi. I have been unable to determine how Ozzie spent the entirety of his WWII service other than that he was in the US Army Air Forces.

Aside from the war years, several years of Atlanta City Directory searches, both before and after his WWII service, resulted in Ozzie being listed as a warden or working at the Atlanta prison, or as a clerk, location unknown, but perhaps the location was Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta where Carroll Jr. worked for a time.

Various years of Atlanta City Directory searches produced results of:

  • 1938 and 1939 Atlanta City Directories – no listing for Ozzie. I believe he was still living at home in Easley, South Carolina.
  • 1940 Atlanta City Directory – Robt O. Couch was an Assistant Jr Warden, Federal Prison. Residence, 1440 Lakewood Ave, SE.
  • 1941 Atlanta City Directory – Osler Couch was a Clerk. Residence, 1428 Peachtree NE, Apt. A-7. He had moved to Peachtree Street by at least October 1940 according to his draft registration card.
  • 1942 Atlanta City Directory – Osler Couch was an Asst Warden, Residence 79 E Lake Ter SE (the address of the Farrar home).
  • 1943, 1944, and 1945 Atlanta City Directories – no listing for Ozzie, probably due to his WWII service including training in the states and possible overseas service.
  • 1946  – no Atlanta city directory on
  • 1947 Atlanta City Directory – Robt O. Couch was an Emp [employee?], US Penitentiary, Residence 964 Piedmont Avenue NE.
  • 1950 Atlanta City Directory – Robt O. Couch was a Clerk, Residence 964 Piedmont Avenue NE.
  • 1951, 1953, and 1960 Atlanta City Directories – no listing for Ozzie; he likely moved from Atlanta around 1950.

I found Ozzie in a few more photos in the family photo collection, one with his friend, my uncle, Carroll Farrar, Jr.,

R to L: Carroll Farrar, Jr. and Robert Osler “Ozzie” Couch

And one in uniform,

Robert Osler “Ozzie” Couch in US Army Air Forces Uniform

Ozzie never married and died at 73 years old on August 7, 1984. His headstone notes (photo on that he was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. His obituary noted,

Robert Osler Couch, 73, of 400 North A. St. [Easley, South Carolina], died Tuesday.

He was a retired warden with the Federal Penitentiary, Atlanta, Ga., and had served as chief of the Prison Parole Board in Tallahassee, Fla. He later served as personnel director for the Department of Social Services in Columbia [South Carolina].

Couch served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean Conflict. He was a member of Smith Grove Baptist Church.

Robert Osler “Ozzie” Couch, friend of the Farrar family, is buried in the West View Cemetery in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Let us be thankful for…this possum?

Daddy’s family never had much money when he was growing up in Atlanta. My granddad was a printer by trade and had trouble finding work during the Great Depression. After that, he owned his own print shop for a while, and even invented a printing press, but family lore says the patent was stolen from him and he never realized any money from his invention.

Granddad and Grandmother didn’t see a lack of money as a reason to limit their family size, though, and over twenty-seven years had nine children.  They kept a big garden, raised chickens and rabbits, and all the kids except the youngest, Beverly, left school after the tenth grade to get jobs to assist with the family finances.

The Farrar children were great story tellers and had a lot of interesting family memories to draw from, so when my Aunt Beverly told me the story of the most memorable family Thanksgiving, it stuck in my mind.

This particular Thanksgiving may have occurred in the 1920’s or 1930’s or as late as the early 1940’s, either before Beverly was born or when she was too young to remember the day herself. Her knowledge of that Thanksgiving was the story told to her by her mother, my grandmother, Raleigh Mae Farrar.

Beverly told me the story a couple of times and small details changed between tellings.  This is my version of the day compiled from my recollections and recordings of the events as told to me by Beverly. The quotations are Beverly’s words.

Grandmother had what the family called “the vapors.” Back then, having the vapors were at the very least described as having spells of light-headedness, flushing, or fainting, to the opposite end of the spectrum of hysteria, mania, or depression. It could involve mood swings and loss of mental focus. Having had her last child at the age of forty-seven in 1937, for Grandmother, the vapors may have been menopause. She would have turned fifty in 1940.

During the period of Grandmother’s vapors, she was sometimes bedridden, so the Farrar’s hired a woman, her name long-forgotten, to come in every day to take care of the family. That year when Thanksgiving neared, the family didn’t have money for a turkey and all the fixings.

Grandmother said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do, we don’t have money for a turkey. We’ll just have chicken.”

The hired caregiver said, “Oh, Miss Mae, don’t worry about that. I’m going to take care of Thanksgiving.”

Soon Thanksgiving Day came and Grandmother said the smells wafting from the kitchen were just absolutely fabulous. The family could hardly wait to get in there and eat Thanksgiving dinner. When the caregiver announced dinner was ready, they opened up the door and all rushed in to gather around the dining room table.

In the center of the table was a great big possum on a platter. The possum had an apple in its mouth and was surrounded with potatoes cut to look like flowers, with English peas scattered among the potatoes. Everyone sat and stared at that beautiful display and that possum. But just for a moment, before the room filled with laughter.

After composing themselves, my grandfather and all the children told my grandmother they weren’t eating the previous night’s roadkill for Thanksgiving. Then every one of them got up from the table and left the dining room.

In 1909, President William Howard Taft and his family reportedly enjoyed a twenty-six pound possum alongside the traditional turkey for their Thanksgiving Day meal. Maybe the woman who cooked Thanksgiving for my grandparents and their children that year thought that if a Thanksgiving possum was good enough for a U.S. President and his family, it would be good enough for the Farrar family who, that year, couldn’t afford a turkey.

Though the Farrar’s were poor in money, they were rich in family. Family is what Thanksgiving’s all about, isn’t it?

I’d like to think if that generation of my family had been aware of the centerpiece of President Taft’s 1909 Thanksgiving dinner, they might have given that possum a taste.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Farrar Family in 1941

It was 1941. On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 8, the US declared war on Japan, entering WWII. On December 11, Hitler declared war on the United States. President Roosevelt then asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying, “Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.”

This was the year that life for this generation of Americans would change forever. This was the year that the Farrar’s took this family photo.

The Farrar family in 1941

Standing, back row, L to R: George Edwin (Ed, my dad), Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet Mae, Ozzie Couch (close family friend), Carroll Johnson Jr.
Standing, middle row, L to R: Martha Ann, Dorothy Gertrude (Dot) holding daughter Phyllis, Raleigh May, Carroll Johnson Sr.
Kneeling front row: Robert Burnham (Bob), Harold Eugene (Gene), Beverly Marie, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)
Not pictured: Nell Geraldine (Gerry)
Photo contributed by Joan Stephenson (Dot’s daughter)

My grandparents, Raleigh May and Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., had nine children twenty-seven years apart. The oldest was born in 1910 and the youngest in 1937. Of the nine children, four would be directly involved in the war effort, three sons and one daughter.

Nell Geraldine, the oldest child and first daughter, was born in 1910. Gerry married Wallace Mass in 1932 and moved to California. She was the only Farrar child to permanently move out of the state of Georgia and away from the closeness of the Farrar family.

Janet Mae was born in 1912. She married Bob Hunt (pictured) in 1936. During WWII, Janet joined the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft (known as Bell Bomber) in Marietta, Georgia, contributing at home to the war effort. She was hired as their very first policewoman in March 1943. Bell Bomber supplied the U.S. Army Air Forces with Boeing-designed B-29’s.

Carroll Johnson, Jr. was the first son, born in 1916. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on August 13, 1941. He served in Army Air Force Service Squadron 315 in the Pacific.

Dorothy Gertrude was born in 1919. She married Hugh Cobb in late 1936 or early 1937. Dot and Hugh followed in her parents’ footsteps and had nine children of their own. Included in the photo are the couples two oldest children, Denny and Phyllis.

George Edwin (my dad) was born in 1921. Ed enlisted June 4, 1942. He served in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the 384th Bomb Group as a waist gunner of a B-17 crew stationed in England. He was knocked down on his sixteenth mission and became a prisoner of war.

Robert Burnham was born in 1925. Bob enlisted in the Navy on May 8, 1943. He served in the Pacific on the USS Intrepid and was injured when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots on November 25, 1944.

Martha Ann was born in 1927.

Harold Eugene (Gene) was born in 1931.

Beverly Marie was born in 1937.

During WWII, Gerry, Janet, and Dot were married and living away from home. Carroll, Ed, and Bob were still living at home at the start of the war, but would all be far from home during their WWII service. Martha, Gene, and Beverly were the only children left to grow up in the family home during the war years.

The only person in the picture who has not yet been mentioned is a friend of the family named Ozzie Couch (I’m unsure of the spelling of his name). Ozzie and Carroll Jr. both worked at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta. Ozzie’s inclusion in the family photo says something about his closeness to the Farrar family. Youngest daughter Beverly remembered that Ozzie brought many gifts to the family including a variety of plants, Beverly’s first Persian cat, and a retired circus horse named Danny Boy that lived for a time in the garage. Ozzie’s family was from South Carolina. Ozzie, too, served in WWII. I am curious about Ozzie and would like to find out more about him. If anyone reading this can tell me more about Ozzie Couch (sp.), please contact me.

Did the Farrar family, sensing the war moving right into their living room, take this photo in 1941 wondering if it might be the last photo of them all (except for Gerry) together? Many families lost sons to WWII, but the Farrar family was fortunate to see all three of their sons – Carroll, Ed, and Bob – and even family friend Ozzie return from the war. A family intact.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

A Place for Everything…

A place for everything and everything in its place. My dad must have repeated those words to me a thousand times. Or maybe more. When I was a child, it meant “clean up your room.” I was a big fan of clutter and rarely put anything away. Cleaning up meant either dumping everything in a drawer or stuffing it into a closet. As long as Dad couldn’t see it, I was in the clear.

Once, in college, I checked out a cookbook from the library. I don’t remember the name or author of the book, but right there in the front, after the title page, was that quote:  “A place for everything and everything in its place.” The quote continued with some reference to the kitchen, the exact wording of which I do not remember. After hearing those words so many times from my father, I was surprised to see them in print. I never considered that anyone but my father strung those particular words together into a phrase.

After a little searching, I found that the origin of the quote is generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is also sometimes attributed to Mrs. Isabella Beeton, who published “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” and “Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book” in the 1860’s. However, Mrs. Beeton’s books were published seventy years after Franklin’s death, so she must have been quoting Franklin. Perhaps Mrs. Beeton’s father admonished her room-cleaning skills with that phrase, too, and it became her mantra.

Samuel Smiles also quoted Benjamin Franklin in his book “Thrift,” published in 1875.

Thrift of Time is equal to thrift of money. [Benjamin] Franklin said, “Time is gold.” If one wishes to earn money, it may be done by the proper use of time. But time may also be spent in doing many good and noble actions. It may be spent in learning, in study, in art, in science, in literature. Time can be economized by system. System is an arrangement to secure certain ends, so that no time may be lost in accomplishing them. Every business man must be systematic and orderly. So must every housewife. There must be a place for everything, and everything in its place. There must also be a time for everything, and everything must be done in time.

There are many interesting concepts in this one paragraph written by Samuel Smiles, but clearly Mr. Smiles was expanding on ideas originating with Benjamin Franklin. And please note that Smiles did not mention room cleaning as a proper use of time.

The list of authors borrowing the quote from Franklin goes on and on. Even Budd Peaslee, first commander of the 384th Bomb Group used Franklin’s words in his book, “Heritage of Valor.” On page 41, Peaslee wrote:

…there was a place for everything and everything must be in its proper place so as to preserve the balance of the bomber in flight as its weight changed with the using up of its great fuel load.

Did those words become common around the Grafton Underwood airfield, surviving Peaslee’s command of the group? Is that where my father first heard them? I’ll never know, but I know those words still echo in my head to this day and when my piles of clutter get too big, “a place for everything and everything in its place” still means stuffing it all into the nearest drawer or closet. Dad, my room is ready for inspection.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Farrar Roots in England

Regardless of whether the American boys who fought in WWII were born to immigrants who were recent arrivals or into an ancestral line of immigrants who arrived in America long ago, they were all American patriots fighting for the same thing. They all stood together united in the same cause.

George Edwin Farrar was one of the boys whose family arrived in America long, long ago. Our immigrant ancestor of the Farrar line, Captain William Farrar, arrived in America in 1618. William’s wife Cecily and her father arrived even earlier, in 1610.

Dad’s paternal ancestry can be traced fourteen generations (fifteen for me) and more than a half century back to Henry Ferror I of Midgley, Halifax Parish, Yorkshire, England.

Midgley is about thirty miles northeast of Manchester, one hundred fifty miles northwest of Grafton Underwood, and a little over two hundred miles northwest of London. I don’t think my father was aware of the specific location of his roots in England at the time he was stationed at Grafton Underwood with the 384th Bomb Group, but he likely had English relatives nearby.

Dad’s and my ancestor, Henry Ferror I, was the original owner of Ewood Manor or Ewood Estate in Midgley from 1471. Ewood was subsequently the home of the Farrar family for over four hundred years. Henry and his wife (whose name is unknown) raised fifteen children at Ewood.

Ewood Manor

All of the children have not been identified due to loss of records, but it is believed that Bishop Robert Ferrar (listed in Foxes’ Book of Martyrs) was born around 1502 at Ewood and was possibly a son of Henry Ferror I. Bishop Ferrar was educated at Cambridge and Oxford where he received his Doctor of Divinity degree and was later appointed Bishop of St. David’s by King Edward VII in 1547. He died as a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary (known as Bloody Mary) on March 30, 1555, burned at the stake because he embraced the English Reformation.

Another one of Henry I’s sons, Henry Ferror II, who inherited Ewood in 1548, is the only other child of the fifteen identified and was next in the line of my father’s ancestry. He and his wife, Agnes Horsfall, had three children, and their oldest, William Ferror, continued our family’s lineage.

William Ferror inherited Ewood from his father and he and his wife Margaret Lacy Ferror raised six children there. Our line continued with their second child, who was known as John Ferror the Elder.

John Ferror was not only the second child, but was the second son of William and Margaret Ferror. Upon his father’s death, John’s older brother Henry inherited Ewood Estate. In 1610, Henry was stabbed to death by Justice Thomas Oldfield. He died before having children and Ewood Estate passed to John, keeping the ownership of Ewood in our lineage for the time being, although John didn’t live there. Henry’s widow continued to live at Ewood until her death. John Ferror, Esquire and his wife Cecily Kelke Ferror lived in London. John and Cecily had four children, all sons. Their third, William, continued our lineage.

William Ferror was our immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1593 in London, England. He was a barrister and immigrated to Virginia aboard the Neptune in 1618. The founder of the Farrar family in America, here he was known as Captain William Farrar.

William played an important role in the early development of the Virginia colony. He patented 2000 acres on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, known as Farrar’s Island. In 1622, ten people were killed at his home on the Appomatuck River during the Great Indian Massacre. William escaped to his neighbor Samuel Jordan’s home, known as Jordan’s Journey.

Jordan’s wife Cecily had arrived at Jamestown from England at the age of ten with her father in 1610 aboard the Swan. Samuel Jordan was her second husband, her first being a Mr. Baley. After the death of Samuel Jordan, Cecily married Captain William Farrar in 1625.

In 1626, Captain William Farrar was appointed by King Charles I as a member of the King’s Council. He served as Chief Justice of the county. Captain William and Cecily Jordan Farrar had two children, both sons, although some Farrar ancestral records state that they also had a third child, a daughter. William and Cecily’s first born son was our ancestor and was known as Colonel William Farrar. He was born about 1626 on Farrar’s Island.

Colonel William Farrar later inherited Farrar’s Island and he and his wife Mary had five children there. Our Farrar lineage in America continued in Virginia with William and Mary’s son, Thomas Farrar; Thomas’s son, William Farrar; William’s son, Joseph Farrar, who fought in the Revolutionary War; Joseph’s son, Charles Farrar, Sr.; Charles Sr’s son, Charles Farrar, Jr., who was born after his father died; Charles, Jr’s son, Ezekiel Baker Farrar; and Ezekiel Baker’s son, Charles Henry.

Charles Henry Farrar was born in 1837. He was seven feet tall, though he preferred to refer to his height as “six foot twelve.”

Two books record our lineage of Farrar ancestry, the original The Farrars, written by William B. and Ethel Farrar, and The Farrars Addendum, written by Clarence Baker Farrar, a grandson of Charles Henry Farrar. Between his book and a letter to my mother, Bernice Jane Farrar, Clarence provided some interesting information about Charles Henry Farrar.

During the Civil War, Charles Henry Farrar was a private in the Confederate army and on April 9, 1865, surrendered at Appomattox with Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant gave Charles Henry a horse and he rode south from Appomattox one day, spending the night on the banks of the Staunton River on the farm of the widow Johnson (Mrs. William Brent Johnson) and her six and a half year old daughter, Martha Ann. Charles was hired the next day as men were a scarce commodity in the South after the Civil War.

In 1874, just before his thirty-seventh birthday, Charles Henry married Martha Ann, who was just a month past her sixteenth birthday. After the marriage, Martha Ann was sent off to finishing school in Danville, Virginia. The school was Miss Somebody’s Seminary for Young Ladies – now Fairfax Hall. After finishing school, Martha Ann returned to Charlotte Court House, Virginia. She bought a large Georgian house uptown, a home built by Patrick Henry called Villeview, for herself and Charles Henry.

At Villeview, Martha Ann bore Charles Henry eight children, though one was stillborn. In later years, the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where Charles Henry joined his brother, William Baker Farrar, in the lumber business in Dalton, Georgia. Martha Ann was unhappy over the move and lonely for home. She took the younger children, including my grandfather, Carroll Johnson, and returned to Virginia.

Martha Ann divorced Charles Henry and he remarried in 1907. He died three years later in 1910. Martha Ann married Dr. W.E. Michie, who was her childhood sweetheart. After Dr. Michie’s death, Martha Ann said that next time she married, she was marrying a Yankee. She had had two Southern gentlemen and that was quite enough. She died in 1915.

My Farrar lineage continued with the first Farrar generation in Atlanta, Georgia, with Charles Henry and Martha Ann’s son Carroll Johnson Farrar, my father’s father, my grandfather. He was born in 1888 and married Raleigh May George in 1909. They had nine children and their middle child and second son was my father, George Edwin Farrar.

George Edwin Farrar was born in 1921. In 1944, he found himself in England, on an American air base in Grafton Underwood. He was only one hundred fifty miles from Ewood Manor, but at the time didn’t know of its existence or significance to his family. As he stood on the English soil, perhaps he considered that this was the place his family came from and that it took a world war to bring him here, to the home of his ancestors. His stay in England was only a few short months and after many more months as a prisoner of war in Germany, after a year away, he was thankful to be back in his home in America.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018