Carroll and Raleigh May Farrar had nine children spanning over twenty-seven years. Their second child was daughter Janet Mae. Janet was born December 1, 1912, about two and a half years after older sister Nell Geraldine (Gerry) in 1910. Janet grew up to be a headstrong child, earning the nickname “Major” from her father. When she was particularly difficult, he referred to her as the “Major General.”
Amid all the chaos as the household grew – Janet was followed by Carroll Jr in 1916, Dorothy (Dot) in 1919, George (Ed) in 1921, Robert (Bob) in 1925, and Martha in 1927 – Gerry chose to move in with Raleigh May’s sister Ennis and her husband Claude Reeves. Ennis and Claude had children of their own and Gerry became very close to their daughter, Louise. Gerry considered Louise another sister.
Janet was the first of the children living at the Farrar home to earn her driver’s license and took on the task of driving Carroll Jr and Dot around Atlanta in the late 1920’s.
In December 1936, at twenty-four years old, Janet married Atlantan Bob Hunt. According to her youngest sister, Beverly, Janet and Bob lived just around the corner from the Farrar family’s home at 79 East Lake Terrace in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta.
Janet was also known as a great shot who could pick off a lizard in the back yard. Her abilities with a gun may have lead to her employment in early March 1943 with the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft in Marietta, Georgia. She was hired as their very first policewoman and began her career at the B-2 information booth.
On June 10, 1943, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Plant Protection.
By January 10, 1944, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Police Manual Training.
On March 13, 1944, Janet received a letter of appreciation for her year of service with perfect attendance with the Guard Force at the Bell Aircraft plant.
During WWII, Janet became enamored with Johnnie Smith Boyt, a fellow employee at Bell Aircraft in Marietta. Johnnie was five years older than Janet and was a widower. His first wife, Louvinda, had died in 1941, leaving Johnnie to raise their five-year-old son, Donald, alone. Janet divorced Bob Hunt and she and Johnnie Boyt married on August 11, 1945. By the time Janet and Johnnie married, Donald was nine. Janet raised Donald as her own, never having any of her own children.
And a late- or post-WWII era photo:
Although none of these documents explain exactly what Janet’s job with the Guard Force of the Bell Aircraft Corporation actually entailed, the Certificate of Meritorious Conduct she was awarded on August 31, 1945 sheds a little more light on the subject. Her job was with the Auxiliary Military Police of the Army Air Forces of the United States at the Marietta Aircraft Assembly Plant in Marietta, Georgia. She worked as part of the auxiliary military police from March 21, 1943 to August 21, 1945 during WWII. Janet apparently left her job ten days after her marriage to Johnnie. So, in addition to the three Farrar boys – Carroll Jr, Ed, and Bob – one of the Farrar girls was also involved in the war effort.
My cousin Nola, my Aunt Gerry’s daughter, has a distinct memory of both Donald and Janet. Nola remembers that “Donald was such a nice boy. He pulled me out of the water once when he saw cotton-mouths (snakes) swimming with me. Aunt Janet shot them with her shot gun. She was a real dead-eye.”
Janet and Johnnie spent most of their married life in Yatesville, Georgia. Johnnie died on December 8, 1966 at the age of 59. Janet continued to live in Yatesville and never remarried. She died August 20, 1990. Both Janet and Johnnie are buried at New Hope Cemetery in Yatesville, Georgia.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016
Normally, Mr. Buslee was the letter writer of the Buslee family, but today John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother took the time to write to George Edwin Farrar’s mother.
April 9, 1945
Park Ridge, Ill.
My Dear Mrs. Farrar: –
We have received your letter telling of the good news of hearing from your son, George, it is, and must be wonderful for you to know he is alive and well, at least I imagine that’s all he could say or they wouldn’t pass it if he would say he was ill or hungry which I’m sure he is. I understand all prisoners would really be in a bad way if it weren’t for the Red Cross. I hear each fellow gets certain rations from them each week which should help a little, altho, their life must be almost unbearable there in those camps.
Just a day or so before we received your letter I noticed in one of our papers where a boy who was a prisoner in Stalag Luft 4 B – Germany had notified his people he’d be released, so we are in hopes your son is also free again. We are so happy to know that George at least is alive and that he may some day be able to tell us all about the rest of the crew. Isn’t it strange the nothing has been heard of the other two boys?
We have never had a word from the McManns altho Mr. Buslee has written them several times, the Peluso’s have promised to let us hear as soon as they hear anything, and the family of Lt. Brody who was the other pilot haven’t heard any other news than missing, either, and according to some of the other eye witnesses he was in the most dangerous spot, so you see we never can tell so we hear are still hopeful because each day we see where someone who had been reported killed has been found to be alive. I do hope our prayers will be repaid with good news soon.
We are so sorry to hear your other son is ill in the hospital, please let us hear how he is, we are very much interested in you and your family. Hope good luck follows your son in China, and that you will continue to hear good news of George often. Wish we could get something to him to lighten his burden in camp. Mr. Buslee has written him, it must have been a terrible blow to him to have them tell him all his crew were gone – but we heard tell that the Germans like to break down the hopes of the boys by telling them all sorts of lies.
We hear the Henson’s are enjoying a trip to Florida, they seem to be such grand folks, nice that you live so close to each other in Atlanta.
We have had such nice letters from so many of the wives and mothers of the boys and we do appreciate them so much.
We hope you and Mr. Farrar are in perfect health and try to keep up your spirits until your sons come home again and thank you so much for all your kindnesses, and write again soon.
Mrs. John Buslee
Lots of interesting information for me in this letter. From this one letter I have learned:
How uninformed the folks back home were about conditions in Germany. Most of the boys were out on the road marching, not sitting in a prison camp. They weren’t receiving those Red Cross rations either. Most of the boys were slowing starving to death. Don’t know how or what kept them going.
- Mrs. Buslee must have meant Sebastiano Peluso of the Buslee crew and James Brodie of the Brodie crew as the “other two boys.” From reviewing letters, I believe all of the Buslee crew next-of-kin except the Pelusos had heard word of their sons.
- I don’t have any letters from the McManns, and apparently other familes had not heard from them either.
- The families did know the identity of at least the pilot of the other crew as Mrs. Buslee references Lt. Brody (meaning James Brodie). This is the most interesting piece of information in this letter to me. It does let me know that the families knew that their boys were involved in a mid-air collision that involved two flying fortresses and did know about the other crew.
- My Uncle Bob, George Edwin Farrar’s (my dad) younger brother, who was injured in a kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in November 1944 must have still been hospitalized.
- My Uncle Carroll, Dad’s older brother, was still serving in China.
- The Hensons were the parents of the crew’s navigator, William Alvin Henson II. Mrs. Buslee may also have been including Henson’s wife and infant daughter.
- “Mr. Farrar”, my dad’s father, was not in good health. He was bedridden and very ill and the family hoped he would live long enough to see the three of his four sons that were in WWII come home from the war.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014
By late 1944, Raleigh Mae Farrar would have more than one son in the war to worry about. George Edwin Farrar’s younger brother, Robert Burnham Farrar, known as Bob, had enlisted in the Navy on May 8 the year before, just a few months after turning eighteen. His parents were against it, thinking him too young to go to war, but he had made his mind up that he was going to serve his country like his older brothers Carroll and Ed.
Bob was serving on the USS Intrepid when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots within five minutes on November 25, 1944, the day after Thanksgiving. Six officers and fifty-nine crew were killed, while about a hundred men were wounded. Bob survived the attack, but was injured, possibly from smoke inhalation from the resulting fire. He required later hospitalization.
The fire was reportedly extinguished in two hours. Still able to sail, Intrepid headed to San Francisco the next day, November 26, for repairs and arrived there on December 20.
A slide show of photos of the attack on the USS Intrepid on November 25, 1944 can be seen on YouTube.
Bob and older brother Ed as children in Atlanta, Georgia:
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014
George Edwin Farrar, my dad, was born in 1921 and was the middle child in a family of nine children. His mother was Raleigh Mae George Farrar and his dad was Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr. The ages of the Farrar children spanned twenty-seven years, from Geraldine born in 1910, to Beverly born in 1937.
Geraldine was eleven years older than my dad and was called “Gerry.” A photo of Gerry and my dad as a child:
By 1944 Gerry was married to Wallace “Wally” Mass and living in Susanville, California. On October 15, 1944, she sent this telegram home after hearing the news of my dad being missing in action:
And finally, a photo of my dad and his mother when he was home on leave earlier in his service:
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014
Honoring the Farrar boys of Atlanta, GA – my dad and his brothers – who served in WWII on this Veteran’s Day: from left to right, Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. who served in Army Air Force Service Squadron 315 from 1941 to 1945, Robert Burnham Farrar, who served until 1945 with the US Navy and was injured on the US Intrepid, which was torpedoed, and my dad, George Edwin Farrar, who served in the 8th Air Force, 384th Bombardment Group, 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) from 1942 to 1945, was a POW at Gross Tychow, and survived the Black March in the Winter of 1945. All three returned home from the war.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013