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Budd Peaslee – Part 7

Budd Peaslee – Part 6 was published November 29, 2017 here. (Scroll to the end of this post for links to the entire series).

In Heritage of Valor, Budd Peaslee describes air battles, including the brutal first Schweinfurt mission, from the Summer of 1943 into the Fall. He quotes statistics, including numbers of bombers lost and number of men lost. But the most memorable words of his book to me are not the statistics, but his understanding of the brutalities of war and his empathy for the men who served under him. He wrote:

The men who flew the missions were numb with fatigue and the mental strain of facing death in one form or another – from hundreds of thousands of shrapnel fragments, cannon projectiles, bursting bombs, bullets, fire, oxygen starvation, or a fall from five miles up to sudden and total destruction on the ground. This kind of war had no foxholes or dugouts, no hedgerows or earthworks, no place to hide, no place to run; it was a far different kind of conflict than man had before faced.

He continued with this excerpt that answers the endless “what was it like over there” question to a veteran who was there long ago…

In the absolute darkness of the blacked-out metal huts of the combat crews there was silence except for the regular heavy breathing of those who slept and the creaking of the restless bedsprings of those who couldn’t. Always, day and night, day after day and night after night, there was the distant rumble of engines, as much a part of the air as oxygen. The engines were never still, but had to be listened for with effort except when some crewman revved up a nearby bomber engine to test the replaced spark plugs or the power output of a new turbo-supercharger. In this lonely darkness a man was alone with himself and his thoughts, from which there was no escape. It was in this hour of truth that those with the keenest sensibilities suffered the most. To some the thought of what they and their comrades must face on the morrow took possession of their minds and with it came a vague sadness for those they had seen falter in the vast expanses of sky and then start the long fall toward oblivion.

He continued with the answer to another question – why didn’t our fathers talk about the war?

To some came the nameless dread of the future for themselves, and the restlessness of suspense while waiting for the inevitable. To others, the more sensitive, there was thought of the guilt they bore for their acts and contributions. They saw the masses of the innocent, the aged infirm and helpless, the young, the uncomprehending and the pitiful – all shocked and torn by the devastation of fire and blast that was of their making. These were the things that besieged the mind, that could not be changed or buried by conversation with a companion, or a new romance with a willing British maid, or the ordering of another drink from the club bartender. This was man living with himself in the darkness of his thoughts, but hoping for the blessed oblivion of sleep, dreading to hear the approaching footsteps of a runner summoning him to the duties of war.

Budd Peaslee was a commander to whom the airmen and ground crews of the 384th could relate. He left the 384th on September 8, 1943, but he would forever be THE commander of the 384th, “the Boss.”

Col. Budd J. Peaslee
Photo Courtesy of Marc Poole, 2014, via the 384th Bomb Group Photo Gallery

To be continued…

Sources

“Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.

www.384thbombgroup.com

384th Bomb Group photo gallery

Budd Peaslee – Part 1 was published January 4, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 3 was published March 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 4 was published April 5, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 5 was published May 24, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 6 was published November 29, 2017 here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Excerpts from Heritage of Valor by Budd J. Peaslee, © Budd J. Peaslee, 1963

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Budd Peaslee – Part 6

One of the subjects I have neglected for the past six months is my series of posts on 384th Bomb Group Commander Budd Peaslee. I’d like to finish up the series before the end of the year, so the next several posts will be all about Budd Peaslee.

Budd Peaslee – Part 5 was published May 24, 2017 here. (Scroll to the end of this post for links to the entire series).

The 384th Bomb Group joined the Eighth Air Force flying missions over Europe in the first week of June 1943 with thirty-five combat crews. Replacement bombers and replacement crews would be added as original crews failed to return. In the first three months of operation, forty-two 384th Bomb Group bombers failed to return from missions over Europe, representing a 120% loss. At this time in the war, a flyer’s tour was defined as twenty-five missions.

In his book, Heritage of Valor, Budd Peaslee offers insights into WWII, and air war in general, that I have never seen from any other source. The following is a paragraph from Peaslee’s book.

Recorded history has little to say about great air battles or significant happenings of aerial combat. As an army or navy moves ponderously across the surface of the earth there is time to record the strategy of its generals or admirals. There is even time to speculate on their thoughts and motives, and to make analysis of their decisions. And there is time to record and reward great acts of heroism and courage, and to condemn and punish cowardice and error. But with an air force, although the drama and heroics are undeniably present, the occurrence is condensed in time and expanded in space to such an extent that the record of significant decision is lost forever to the world. That there are momentous occasions – as an air force moves from deep in the friendly zone, mounts into the firmament, crosses multiple sea and mountain barriers and national boundaries, to penetrate in a few hours to the very heartland of the enemy and there to strike a devastating blow – let no one doubt. That these deeds are lost to history and to the people is the unfortunate penalty of the era of speed that will become worse, never better.

As a heavy bomb group commander based in England, in the summer of 1943, Peaslee identified another enemy of the 8th Air Force, or at the very least an obstacle to a successful air war, poor weather conditions.

In these early months of day bombardment, success was dependent almost wholly on a favorable weather situation, not only over the bases where the bombers must rise and assemble into formation and to which they must return, but also along the routes and in the target area. In truth the weather had turned out to be the greatest enemy of the American scheme and until it was defeated, or at least neutralized to a great extent, the effectiveness of daylight operation with massive striking forces against precision targets was open to serious and skeptical scrutiny.

During that same summer, Peaslee recalls a particular mission in his book, Mission 9 on July 24, 1943.

24 July 1943, Heroya, Norway (Industry)
Back L-R: Lt. Brown (OBS/TG), SSgt. William O’Donnell (LWG), SSgt Fred Wagner (RO), Lt. Charles Bonnett (B), Lt. James Martin-Vegue (N), SSgt James Self (RWG), Lt. James Merritt (CP)
Front L-R: TSgt. George Ursta (BT), Lt. John DuBois (N), TSgt David Cochran (TT), Col. Budd Peaslee (P)
Aircraft: B-17F 544th BS 42-5883 SU*D No Name Jive/Weary Willie
Source: The Quentin Bland Collection via the 384th Bomb Group photo gallery.

The bombing at Heroya has passed into history and is rarely recalled, except by those who made the trip and who still survive. To them it was the most successful and shrewedly planned and executed mission of the entire war.

384th Bomb Group veteran Burnia Martin flew that mission. I met Burnia at the 8th Air Force reunion in New Orleans this year, but wasn’t aware of his participation in that mission, and missed my opportunity to hear about it in person.

Burnia Martin then…

Burnia Martin
Photo courtesy of the Quentin Bland Collection via the 384th Bomb Group photo gallery

Burnia Martin now…

Burnia Martin, September 2017

To be continued…

Sources

“Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.

www.384thbombgroup.com

384th Bomb Group photo gallery

Budd Peaslee – Part 1 was published January 4, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 3 was published March 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 4 was published April 5, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 5 was published May 24, 2017 here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Excerpts from Heritage of Valor by Budd J. Peaslee, © Budd J. Peaslee, 1963

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I’ll take a brief look back at Thanksgiving at Grafton Underwood during WWII.

It seems that even with a war going on, the men of the 384th Bomb Group based in Grafton Underwood, England followed the American tradition of a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.

Grafton Underwood cooks carving turkey
Photo courtesy of Tony Plowright

I found this interesting photo in the 384th Bomb Group’s photo gallery this week.

S/Sgt. William D. Johnson leads an informal discussion on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1943, with school children at the Church of England School, Sudborough, Northamptonshire
Photo provided by both Robert Bletscher and Quentin Bland

William D. Johnson was a Quartermaster Supply Technician with the 6th Service Squadron. Johnson was twenty-eight years old at the time and was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent Thanksgiving 1943 at war and away from home and wanted to share the story of this American holiday with the English schoolchildren.

Photos courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

An Italian-American Airman in WWII

384th Bomb Group veteran John DeFrancesco is a WWII rock star. He has been the subject of several magazine and newspaper articles and is now set to appear on Italian television. Both of John’s parents were from Italy. John’s father immigrated with his family when he was fourteen years old and served in the American Army in WWI, earning his American citizenship. John’s mother was also born in Italy and immigrated with her family when she was very young.

Italian Air Force veteran and journalist Vittorio Argento recently visited Florida to interview John about his role as an Italian-American B-17 pilot in WWII.

Vittorio currently works with the Department of Safety and Security for Italy’s national radio/television public broadcasting company, RAI. He is a veteran journalist who has worked in television and daily newspapers and was previously Deputy Managing Director for RAI Radio News. In 2016, Vittorio served as the Prix Italia’s (an international Italian television, radio-broadcasting and website award program) Secretary General.

Vittorio Argento looking at some of John DeFrancesco’s WWII documents

Vittorio has a personal interest in WWII history and has restored two WWII jeeps. You can read about Vittorio’s adventure to bring a 1943 Willys back to its Ohio factory from Italy here.

Vittorio Argento’s 1943 Willys Jeep

At John’s interview, Vittorio presented him with a beautiful plaque of the Italian Air Force. “Virtute Siderum Tenus” translates to “With Valor to the Stars”.

L to R: John DeFrancesco and Vittorio Argento

As a result of his interview, John will be the subject of two television programs in Italy and an article in the Italian Air Force magazine.

I enjoyed Vittorio’s visit with us and he has sparked an interest in my husband and me to visit Italy. My passport is ready, my phone is loaded with Google Translate for Italian, and, most importantly, I am shopping for travel shoes.

L to R: John DeFrancesco, Cindy Bryan, and Vittorio Argento sporting 384th Bomb Group caps

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

French Jubilee of Liberty Medal

Dad’s Jubilee of Liberty Medal

On June 6, 1994, the French government commemorated the 50th anniversary of D-Day (the invasion by the Allied forces of Normandy on June 6, 1944) by distributing the French Jubilee of Liberty medal to U.S. veterans who participated in the Normandy campaign. The medal was first awarded to American servicemen for their participation in the Battle of Normandy. They were minted at the request of the Regional Council of Normandy to be presented to the veterans attending the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landing. Eligible veterans included those who served in the Normandy campaign from June 6 to August 31, 1944, and were part of the of land forces, off-shore personnel, or airmen flying overhead. The first medals awarded were those presented in the anniversary ceremony to the veterans attending.

The French government no longer awards the Jubilee of Liberty medal. However, they have granted the 8th Air Force Historical Society approval to mint and distribute the medal to eligible veterans or the families of eligible deceased veterans who qualify for the award. A certificate accompanies the medal.

My Dad’s Jubilee of Liberty Medal and Certificate

The certificate reads:

Jubilee of Liberty Medal

The Jubilee of Liberty Medal is presented in grateful recognition of your contribution in the liberation of France. Your participation in the invasion of Normandy is a testament to your commitment to the freedom so many have fought and continue to fight for, every day. Your honorable service to the United States is commendable and will never be forgotten.

Thank you for all that you have done for France, the United States, and the world.

It is with great gratitude and extreme honor that I proudly present

the Jubilee of Liberty Medal to Normandy Veteran:

George E Farrar, 384th Bomb Group

The front of the medal is inscribed with “Overlord 6 Juin 1944” on the upper part of the medal, with the flags of the Allied nations and the names of the landing beaches completing the face of the medal.

Dad’s Jubilee of Liberty Medal, front

The reverse of the medal shows the Torch of Freedom surrounded by the device of William the Conqueror “Diex Aie” (“God is with us” in Norman French).

Dad’s Jubilee of Liberty Medal, back

Dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated in the Normandy campaign with the 384th Bomb Group in August 1944, which made him eligible for the award. I applied for the Jubilee of Liberty medal for him as soon as I found the application instructions in the September 2017 issue of the 8th Air Force News. As I hold this medal in my hand, it becomes more than metal and ribbon. It is a reminder for me of my dad’s service to our country and his fight for not only our freedom, but France’s and the free world.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

2017 8th Air Force Reunion – A Teaser

I had hoped to be able to tell you all about the 8th Air Force Reunion that I attended last week, but I have barely had time to unpack and rest up from my excellent adventure in New Orleans with veterans, family, and friends of the 384th Bomb Group and other groups of the 8th. It will just have to wait until next week! For now, I’ll just leave you with this teaser…

Over five hundred folks attended the reunion, including seventy-five WWII veterans and eight former POW’s, two of which represented the 384th Bomb Group.

Eight 384th Bomb Group Veterans attended the reunion…

384th Bomb Group Veterans attending the 2017 8th AF Reunion.
Left to Right: Hank Sienkiewicz, Don Hilliard, John DeFrancesco, Burnia Martin, Len Estrin, Dave Lustig, Bill Wilkens, and Peter Bielskis

Seventy-five 8th AF Veterans attended (I don’t think they all made it into this photo)…

8th Air Force Veterans attending the 2017 Reunion.

And eight of the veterans attending were former POWs including the 384th’s John DeFrancesco and Burnia Martin…

8th Air Force Veterans attending the 2017 Reunion who were POWs during WWII (Burnia Martin sits third from left and John DeFrancesco sits fifth from left).

Check back next week for more details about the reunion.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Faith

In researching WWII chaplains for previous articles, I wondered how a man of the cloth viewed war and his own involvement in it, how he reconciled the brutality of war within his own faith. How could these men of God, who volunteered to stand beside the officers and enlisted men of the various branches of service, rationalize and justify the killing of his enemies and destruction of his enemy’s homeland?

I wondered especially about the chaplains of the 384th Bomb Group and how they felt at the end of the day when many of the men that they had blessed that morning before the day’s mission didn’t return with the group that afternoon. Did they feel helpless knowing that they couldn’t protect or save every one? Did they wonder, when they looked into the faces before them on the morning of the next mission, which of these faces they were looking into for the last time?

It would not be surprising for the men who flew and returned from mission after mission to suffer from “shell shock,” or what we call today PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). They had flown through flak fields, faced enemy fighter attacks, watched other crews go down, and seen their own bombs’ destruction below on the enemy’s soil. But I would expect a military chaplain who had to witness the hell of war through the eyes of those he was shepherding could be as consumed with the guilt, terror, and grief as his flock.

When I read that the 384th’s Catholic chaplain Herbert Butterbach died of a heart attack at the age of thirty-five, shortly after returning to the States after the war, I wonder if his heart had been broken so severely from the many losses of his Group that he could no longer go on.

I began by looking at the rules and regulations the military set forth for these men, their guidelines of service. The US War Department’s AR (Army Regulations) 60-5 Chaplains General Provisions, spelled out the duties of a military chaplain, which included their duties to:

  • Hold religious services
  • Serve as friends, counselors, and guides, without discrimination, to all members of the command to which they are assigned, regardless of creed or sect
  • Strive to promote morality, religion, and good order
  • Conduct ceremonies including burial services, marriages, baptisms, etc.
  • Interview or address new recruits in matters pertaining to morals and character
  • Advise enlisted men under arrest or in confinement
  • Make regular visits to the sick in the hospital
  • Encourage correspondence between enlisted men and their relatives and friends

The 384th’s Protestant Chaplain, Dayle Schnelle, who was with the Group from the beginning, wrote an article for the Group’s very first WWII edition of their news publication, The Plane News, on April 17, 1943. This issue was published while the Group was still in the States, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Transcription below).

Published in the April 17, 1943 issue of “The Plane News”

The Chaplain Says… by Chaplain Dayle R. Schnelle

Some time ago a very famous American was giving an address in the interest of public morale. In this speech he made this remark, “We are fighting God’s war for Him.” The two following questions may help us clarify our thinking.

First, what kind of war is God waging? This is no difficult question. His is a war against Sin and all the forces of Evil. Surely, we say, this describes Hitler. But God’s war is not against a man or men. His war is for them. He would destroy the evil that makes men like Hitler possible.

Second, who can fight God’s war? Naturally, the only soldier who can fight for the United States are soldiers of the United States. In like manner, God’s war is fought by His soldiers. Just any man cannot claim that honor. God has laid down certain requirements to which we must conform if we are to be in His army.

From this we may draw our conclusions. We must not blame God for our failures and our weaknesses. We cannot force God to join “our side” and exclude another. Our only hope for a final victory and a lasting peace is not in getting God on our side but for us to join “God’s side.”

The Christmas 1943 edition of The Plane News included a photo of Protestant chaplain Dayle Schnelle (on the left) and Catholic chaplain Method Billy (on the right) standing in front of the Group’s chapel at their base in Grafton Underwood, UK with Major Roy Dier, who supervised the church’s construction.

Published in the Christmas 1943 issue of “The Plane News”

During my research, I ran across a paper written by a History Department Undergraduate at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Jeremiah Snyder. The title of Jeremiah’s paper, which was published in the Undergraduate Research Journal at UCCS in the Spring of 2009, is Let Us Die Bravely: United States Chaplains in World War II. (I’ve included a link at the bottom of this article).

Jeremiah looks at the role of military chaplains in WWII and how they fit into “America’s War Machine.” For those interested in more information on the role of military chaplains, I urge you to read Jeremiah’s entire paper. I will include only an excerpt here:

World War II chaplains served in the military for a number of reasons. One staunch pacifist clergyman turned military officer, Russell Cartwright Stroup, eloquently articulated the Christian justifications for the war. In a letter home to his brother and mother, Chaplain Stroup wrote:

I have asked myself so many times, “What am I doing here?”…I love peace so passionately and hate war so utterly. More than a hatred: I am convinced that war is utterly futile and senseless…yet here I am in the midst of it, feeling that it is right for me to be here and that, indeed, I could be nowhere else—even though this might cost me my life…

There is the challenge of the work. Here are men who need me…I feel that the church has never faced a greater opportunity, a heaven-sent chance to touch tomorrow’s manhood and to save America for Christ…

…I may be mistaken, but I doubt that there can be effective leadership in the church of tomorrow by men who, able to serve in the war, chose not to do so. Too many of our church men will be veterans…

…I must follow the Master: He would be found where mankind is suffering, and He would be sharing that suffering.

There is also the motive of “patriotism.” I have always loved America deeply…I cannot be indifferent to the call of my country, even though I may hate what we are called upon to do…

We are compelled to halt the aggression of an evil movement in the world. I do not think war will make a better world…But if we had stood by and allowed the Nazi, the Fascist, and the militarist to run wild in our world, the darkness would become deeper and the night longer…

…I want to be found on the side of the dignity and worth of human personality, of liberty, of the rights of man. I want to be found opposing tyranny, oppression, bigotry, and the exultation of materialism. I do not think that God blesses war, but I do hope that He blesses those who, in good conscience, are willing to sacrifice, in peace or war, for what they believe are principles in accord with His Holy Will.”

Jeremiah quoted Chaplain Stroup’s letter from Letters from the Pacific: A Combat Chaplain in World War II (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000).

I also wondered about the faith of the men who served in WWII in other capacities. The faith of some, it seems, strengthened. They believed God brought them through their ordeal. But some lost their faith in God. My grandmother, my father’s mother, was a Sunday School teacher in the Presbyterian church. I’m sure she believed that God brought her son home from the war. God guided him through his missions, watched over him in the prison camp, and held his hand on the Black March through Germany. But after WWII, I don’t believe my dad had the same relationship with God that he did before he fought in it. I think he may have felt abandoned by God and wondered how his God could leave him as the only survivor of his ship while taking the lives of all the others, how God could let him nearly starve to death, and why his God would let the memories visit him every day and every night for the rest of his life.

At the end of my dad’s military training, just before he was shipped overseas to his air base, he wrote his mother…

I’ll write you as often as I can, and I want you to know that I haven’t waited this long to start asking God to help me.  That is one thing I have never been too proud to do, and I think it helps a lot, too.

But after the war, I think he lost his faith. I never knew my dad to step foot in church when I was growing up except for a handful of weddings and funerals. He and my mother were married by a Justice of the Peace in the county courthouse, not by a Minister in a church. We blessed God and thanked him for the food on our table every night before dinner, but other than that, God was not invited into our home. I was sent to Sunday School in the Presbyterian Church, the church of Dad’s mother, only sporadically, and never taken to a church service, although I went once by myself. I chose not to go back after the preacher’s sermon taught me that I was surely going to Hell and that my God was a vengeful God, not the kind and loving and caring God that I had imagined him to be. Upon announcing one day when I was in my teens that I didn’t believe in God, Dad told me, “Don’t you ever say that again.” End of discussion. Apparently his belief in God was still strong, the relationship just strained.

I found God later on my own. I consider myself spiritual, though not religious, meaning that I do have my belief in a kind and loving God, but do not care for organized religion and the structure of the church. I feel God outside in the fresh air among the flowers and trees. I hear God in the gentle breeze and see Him in the sunrise, in the sunset, and in the faces of friends. I feel His presence in the roar of the ocean and the first cry of a newborn. I feel my closest connection to God when I walk alone on a beach, not sitting in the pew of a church. I don’t talk to God often, but when I do, I thank Him for another beautiful day in this world. I do believe in God. I have Faith in God. But then, I’ve never been to war.

Notes

To read the entire AR 60-5 Chaplains General Provisions document, click here.

The Plane News was brought out of retirement from WWI, where it originated aboard the warship, The Baltic. To read the entire story or more of this issue and others on the 384th Bomb Group’s web site, click here.

To read Jeremiah Snyder’s Undergraduate Research Journal at UCCS paper, Let Us Die Bravely: United States Chaplains in World War II, click here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017 (with the exception of Jeremiah Snyder’s excerpt)

Chaplain Julius Garst Appleton

In my original post about 384th Bomb Group chaplains, I included James T. Duvall as one of the Group’s chaplains. I believed that Duvall was with the Group at Istres, France after the end of the war. Keith Ellefson has since discovered that Duvall was not assigned or attached to the 384th Bomb Group. Keith notes that “He was assigned to the 415th Air Service Group as the 415th Air Service Group Chaplain.” Keith also added “However, he was assigned to the main unit that supported the 384th, so I imagine that the 384th Chaplain and the 415th Chaplain worked together to support the mission at Istres.”

Keith did find one more chaplain associated with the 384th, though. He was Julius Garst Appleton.

Julius Garst Appleton was born July 12, 1902 to Henry and Edith Garst Appleton in Ohio. His father Henry was a draftsman. Julius grew up in the Cincinnati area and at seventeen years old was reported on the 1920 Federal census to be in engineering for a railroad and was a student.

Between 1920 and 1924, Julius attended the College of Engineering and Commerce at the University of Cincinnati. Before college, Julius attended Woodward High School in Cincinnati.

University of Cincinnati 1924 Yearbook “The Cincinnatian”

“Braune Civils” is an abbreviation for the Braune Civil Engineering Society, which was the Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the University of Cincinnati .

On the morning of his college graduation, June 14, 1924, he married Julia Lucinda Earl. She was born July 10, 1900 or 1901.

On June 21, 1924, the “Cincinnati Enquirer” reported that “Cincinnati is to provide two more young people for the missionary field in China. Julius Garst Appleton, graduate civil engineer of the University of Cincinnati, who married Miss Julia Earl on the morning of his graduation, is the latest member of the Varsity Student Volunteers to make good his pledge.”

I’m not sure what the missionary position in China entailed, but apparently Julius and Julia were back in the states by 1927. In the Hartford, Connecticut city directory, Julius and Julia Appleton are listed as an assistant engineer and stenographer. Julius and Julia were still living in Hartford in 1930 according to the Federal census. Julius was a civil engineer for the city and Julia was a stenographer for an insurance company. They had no children.

According to the Hartford city directory of 1931, Julius and Julia had moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the Bridgeport city directory for the years 1932 to 1934, Reverend Julius G. Appleton was listed as the pastor of the Bethany Congregational Church in Bridgeport. There is no record of how Julius transitioned from civil engineer to pastor.

By 1936, Julius and Julia had moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The city directory for Cleveland lists Julius G. Appleton as a Clergyman (having churches).

On May 20, 1941, Julius enlisted in the army. I do not have detail of his record in the service, but apparently he served in the Army Air Forces in England. He returned to the US aboard the Queen Elizabeth on June 29, 1945 and was released from the service on May 2, 1946.

While I am curious about how Julius Appleton transitioned from civil engineer to pastor, I am also curious about what role he played in the 8th Air Force. I do know that in 1941, he was stationed at the Headquarters of the 37th Engineer Regiment, Chaplain’s Office, at Camp Bowie, Texas. And I do know that he was concerned with the needs of Jewish soldiers. On October 24, 1941, he wrote a letter to the Director of the National Jewish Welfare Board in New York City. He wrote:

Just a week ago today Chaplain Julius A. Leibert, Jewish Chaplain for Camp Bowie, dedicated our Chapel (Chapel No. 8 – 37th Engrs Area) here at the Camp for use in Jewish Services for the Jewish Soldiers and the Jewish Congregation of Brownwood. Today he has gone – transferred to Camp Beauregard, Louisiana! We regret losing such a fine worker.

Feeling that these services, so auspiciously begun last week, should not be allowed to die out I have offered to be of what assistance I can as a Chaplain of the Christian Faith. As Chapel No. 8 is central to the majority of the Units here in the camp where Jewish Soldiers are located, I feel it is wise to continue the Friday Evening Services here, if the others so desire, and am willing to do all in my power to help hold the group together.

The Ark in our Chapel has been especially lined and last week Chaplain Leibert installed in it The Torah (his own however) for use. With him gone, taking his Torah with him, the Ark looks quite bare. I am wondering if you have some way of providing for our use another Torah which could be placed in our Ark for these Jewish Services. I am sure our Jewish Soldiers and the Jewish Congregation from Brownwood would greatly appreciate the gift or loan of a Torah from you for use in this Chapel. It could well be the point of focus that would help hold together our fine group of Jewish Soldiers and Civilains. Anything you could do to help in this regard will be appreciated by me personally and by our Jewish folk as well.

If you can suggest any way that I may be of assistance to our group here, I’ll be glad to hear from you.

He signed the letter “Julius G. Appleton, Chaplain 37th Engrs.” Chaplain Appleton received a reply from Benjamin Rabinowitz, thanking him for offering his services in connection with the religious needs of the Jewish soldiers stationed at the post. Rabinowitz worked to procure a Sefer Torah for use at the post.

Julius and Julia may have had children, but I can find no record of any. I also cannot find a 1940 census record for them, so am not sure where they lived at the time.

Julius Garst Appleton died February 27, 1985 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. He was buried in the Greenwood Memory Lawn Mortuary and Cemetery in Phoenix.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Chaplain Dayle R. Schnelle

Chaplain Dayle Schnelle, Protestant Chaplain
Source: Robert Bletscher, 2011

Robert Dayle Schnelle was born July 30, 1916 to Robert Wesley and Wava Ann Davis Schnelle in Sharon, Barber County, Kansas. He preferred to be called by his middle name and even alternately reported his name to be Dayle Robert Schnelle. Dayle’s father Robert was born March 17, 1884 in Lemons, Missouri. Dayle’s mother Wava was born August 9, 1884 in Kansas.

In the 1920 Federal census record, the Schnelle family lived on a farm in Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas. The family consisted of father Robert (33), who was a farmer, mother Wava (33), sister Dorene (8), sister Florence (7), Dayle (3), and brother Floyd (2). On October 5, 1920, Dayle’s mother Wava gave birth to twins, Fred and Phillip Davis Schnelle. Four days later, on October 9, Wava and baby Fred died.

In the 1930 Federal census record, the Schnelle family lived in Sharon, Barber County, Kansas. The family consisted of Dayle’s father Robert (45), who was a farmer, step-mother Emma (36), sister Dorene L. (18), sister Florence M. (16), Dayle, listed as Robert D. Jr. (13), and brother Floyd R. (12). Although Ancestry.com records indicate that Dayle’s younger brother, surviving twin Phillip, lived until 2003, Phillip is not listed on the 1930 census. Sometime between 1920 and 1930, Robert remarried. (Note the discrepancy in Robert’s age: if he was 33 in 1920, he should have been 43 in 1930).

Chaplain Dayle Schnelle, Protestant Chaplain
Source: Robert Bletscher, 2011

From at least 1935 to 1938 Dayle was a student at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. He likely also attended Phillips in 1934 or 1939, but I do not see a record for those years.

In 1940, Dayle lived in Pratt, Pratt County, Kansas and was minister of the Christian Church.

Sometime between 1940 and 1942, Dayle married Mildred J. “Suzy” Riley. Suzy was born April 3, 1920 in Fowler, Meade, Kansas.

In 1942, Suzy gave birth to her and Dayle’s son, Robert Dayle Schnelle, Jr. That same year, Dayle Sr. enlisted in the Army on September 27, 1942. He would serve as a Protestant Chaplain of the Army Air Forces.

According to 384th Bomb Group records, Dayle Schnelle was Presbyterian and came from the 33rd SCS, which was under the sub-depot.  He was an original chaplain to the group and served with them until the end of the war. He was released from the service on November 24, 1945.

During Dayle’s tenure with the 384th, he had occasion to write an MIA (Missing in Action) letter to my grandmother.

MIA letter to Ed Farrar’s mother

The text of the letter reads:

October 9, 1944

Headquarters
384th Bombardment Group
APO 557  c/o P.M., N.Y.

Mrs. Raleigh Mae Farrar
79 East Lake Terrace, N.E.,
Atlanta Georgia

Dear Mrs. Farrar:

May I, as Chaplain of the 384th Bombardment Group, personally, and pursuant to the request of the Commanding General, Eighth Air Force, and in behalf of the Group Commander, express to you our deepest and heartfelt concern regarding your son, S/Sgt. George E. Farrar, 14119873, who is reported as missing in action.

I am well aware of the worry and anxiety which is yours.  May I assure you that you will be notified immediately should any further word concerning your son be received.  May I urge you to remember that you should in no wise consider your son as dead.  It is highly possible that he may yet escape or is being held a prisoner of war.  In either case it will be some time before any word will be received concerning him.  May I add that your concern is our concern, not only of this group, but also of the entire Air Force as well.

There is no other information that I can give other than you have already received from the War Department, except, that all mail and packages will be returned to the sender.  May I assure you that I believe that our God still answers prayers.  I promise that I shall remember him continuely before God as I know that you are also doing.  I firmly believe that the hand of God still guides the destiny of His children.  May your faith in the ultimate triumph of God’s will give you courage, strength, and grace to meet the burden of this hour of uncertainty.

Sincerely,

Dayle R. Schnelle,
Chaplain

Because of a world war, Dayle was not able to watch his young son grow up in the first three years of his life. Then two years after the end of Dayle’s service, his son Robert Dayle, Jr. died on November 8, 1947. Dayle Jr. is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt, Pratt County, Kansas.

From at least 1949 to 1954, Dayle and Suzy lived in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was minister of the Central Christian Church. On April 2, 1951, Dayle and Suzy were blessed with a second son, David Michael Schnelle.

Over the next forty years, Dayle and Suzy lived in other parts of the country including Great Bend, Kansas and Colorado. Dayle lost his father, Robert Wesley Schnelle, on July 6, 1970 in Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas.

Chaplain Dayle Schnelle, Protestant Chaplain
Source: Robert Bletscher, 2011

In the 1990’s Dayle and Suzy lived in Alvin, Texas. Their son David was also living in Alvin, Texas when he died on March 3, 1993. Dayle had outlived both of his sons.

A year and a half later, Dayle Schnelle died on September 10, 1994 in Alvin, Brazoria County, Texas. He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt, Pratt County, Kansas.

Suzy died on December 6, 2014 in Alvin, Texas.

Thank you to Keith Ellefson, 384th Bomb Group Researcher and Combat Data Specialist, for contributing to this story.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Chaplain Herbert Francis Butterbach

Herbert Francis Butterbach was the second Catholic chaplain of the 384th Bomb Group. Before he replaced Father Billy Method, Butterbach served with the 92nd Bomb Group, “Fames Favoured Few.” A wartime photo of Herbert Butterbach cannot be found in the records of the 92nd or 384th Bomb Group, but we would like to add one to our records if anyone has one to share.

Herbert Butterbach was born April 27, 1910 in the West End neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Marcus “Mark” George Butterbach and Josephine Mary Steedle Butterbach. In early census records, Herbert Butterbach’s middle initial was noted as “G”, like his father’s, so perhaps when he entered the priesthood, he took Francis as his middle name at that time.

His early education included St. Martin’s School and SS Peter and Paul’s School in East Liberty. He studied for the priesthood at St. Fidelis’ Seminary, Herman, and St. Vincent’s Latrobe.

Herbert Butterbach was ordained into the priesthood at the age of twenty-four in 1934. His uncle, Rev. O.P. (Otto) Butterbach, was the pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Weiner, Arkansas and may have influenced his nephew’s interest in joining the clergy.

Newspaper articles from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s map out Herbert Butterbach’s career as a priest.

  • June 1934. Herbert Butterbach was ordained at St. Vincent’s on June 17, 1934 and for the next year was in charge of St. Mary’s Church on 57th Street in Pittsburgh and the Sacred Heart Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.  (Source:  August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, see below).
  • August 1935 to December 1938. Herbert Butterbach served as a C.C.C. chaplain at various camps in Pennsylvania from August 16, 1935 to December 15, 1938. C.C.C. stood for Civilian Conservation Corps and Wikipedia explains that C.C.C. was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. (Source:  August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, see below).
  • November 1937. The November 3, 1937 Gazette Bulletin of Williamsport, Pennsylvania reported that Lt. Herbert Butterbach “assumed duties in this district as chaplain.”
  • January 1938. In January of 1938, the Daily News Standard and the Uniontown Morning Herald of Uniontown, Pennsylvania described Herbert Butterbach in articles as “a chaplain of the C.C.C. camps (who) has traveled extensively through the northern part of the United States” and “the chief Catholic chaplain of the C.C.C. camps of the northern district of Pennsylvania.”
  • June 1939. The New Castle News newspaper of New Castle, Pennsylvania places Herbert Butterbach in New Castle on June 6, 1939, perhaps still at the St. Vitus Church.
  • November 1939. Herbert Butterbach again entered the service as a C.C.C. chaplain on November 3, 1939. (Source:  August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, see below).
  • June 1940. Herbert Butterbach transferred to Army Chaplain on June 28, 1940. (Source:  August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, see below).
  • July 1940. On July 6, 1940, Butterbach is mentioned in the New Castle News as being “of Idaho.”
  • December 1940 – May 1941. The December 22, 1940 and May 10, 1941 Detroit Free Press places Captain Herbert Butterbach at Selfridge Field in Michigan.
  • November 1941. On November 18, 1941, the New Castle News reported:

Former Assistant Pastor Stationed at Boise, Idaho

Word has been received here that Captain Herbert Butterbach, former assistant pastor of St. Vitus Church, stationed at Selfridge Field, Detroit, Mich., has been transferred to Boise, Idaho.

Captain Butterbach is now stationed with the 42nd Medium Bomber Group, Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho.

Previous to his appointment at Selfridge Field, Captain Butterbach was a chaplain for the C.C.C. camps at Boise, Idaho.

  • January 1942. On January 14, 1942, a bomber from Gowen Field crashed thirteen miles southeast of Boise, Idaho, claiming nine lives. The Salt Lake Tribune reported a few days later that services for the victims were conducted by Chaplain F. Butterbach of Gowen Field. The article also reported a related death, that of the father of one of the pilots, Elmer Munn, Jr. His father’s, Elmer Munn Sr.’s, death was attributed to shock caused by news of the death of his son, his only child.
  • February 1943. The Drew Field Echoes was a publication at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida. It had a column called “The Chaplains Speak.” In the February 26, 1943 issue, it suggested…

There is a man you ought to get acquainted with here at Drew Field. He is the chaplain – one officer whom you can see without having to get permission. He is here to help you. He is here to listen to your troubles. He is here to go to bat for you if you need him. He is in the Army to be your friend, your advisor, your pastor. He would like to see you, not only in his office during the week but also in the Chapel services on Sunday. You need him, but he also needs your help if he is to be a good chaplain.

Where can you see him? There are chaplains in all five Chapels, and there are chaplains of all faiths here at Drew. There is a chaplain on duty in the Chapels until 9 o’clock every evening. Let me introduce you to our Chaplains.

There were two Catholic chaplains listed and Butterbach was listed first in Chapel No. 2. The list continued with the names of twelve Protestant chaplains, one Jewish chaplain, and one Christian Science Wartime Minister.

  • Spring 1943. From Herbert Butterbach’s obituary in the August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, the official organ of the diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, I calculate that Herbert Butterbach began his overseas service with the Army Air Forces around the Spring of 1943, serving for about two years with the 8th Air Force in England. (Source:  August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, see below). The first record of his service with the 8th Air Force that I can find is with the 92nd Bomb Group.
  • March 1944. On March 16, 1944, the Pittsburg Catholic publication pictured Butterbach with the caption “Major Herbert Butterbach, St. Martin’s, West End.” The photo gallery was titled “Priests from the Diocese Who Are Serving the Nation as Chaplains with the Armed Forces.”

Major Herbert Francis Butterbach

  • August 1944. Herbert Butterbach was granted six days leave of absence from the 92nd Bomb Group on August 27, 1944.
  • September 1944. Herbert Butterbach was granted twelve days leave of absence from the 92nd Bomb Group this month, September 10 – 15 and September 24 – 29, 1944.
  • October 1944. Herbert Butterbach transferred from the 92nd Bomb Group to the 384th Bomb Group in early October 1944. Chaplain Billy Method of the 384th Bomb Group replaced him at that time.
  • January – April 1945. Herbert Butterbach’s sparse record with the 384th Bomb Group shows only that during his service there he was detailed for one day of temporary duty to London on January 10, 1945 for chaplain activities and was granted a five-day leave of absence effective April 23, 1945.
  • June 1945. Herbert Butterbach was transferred to the 398th Bomb Group at Nuthampstead, Station 131 and attached or assigned to the HQ & Base Service Squadron, 426th ASG for shipment to the USA. On June 29, 1945, Herbert F. Butterbach returned to the US after the war, arriving in New York City aboard the Queen Elizabeth.

Herbert Butterbach died of a heart attack on August 16, 1945 at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida.  He had been stateside and stationed at Drew Field only about six weeks. He was only thirty-five years old at the time of his death. He is buried in St. Martin Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Herbert Francis Butterbach’s obituary from the August 31, 1945 issue of The Guardian, the official organ of the diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas:

Pittsburgh – Preceded by the chanting of the Office of the Dead, Solemn Requiem Mass was offered Wednesday morning, August 22, in St. Martin’s Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the Rev. Herbert F. Butterbach, nephew of the Rev. O.P. Butterbach, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, Weiner, Arkansas.

Father Herbert Butterbach, a major in the chaplain corps, U.S. Army, was stricken with a heart attack at Drew Field, Tampa, Florida, where he had been stationed for the past six weeks after serving nearly two years in England with the Eighth Air Force. Most of his priestly life, since he was ordained in 1934, had been spent as a chaplain, first with the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C. Camps) and then with the Army Air Forces.

Father Otto Butterbach was celebrant of his nephew’s Funeral Mass…

Burial was in St. Martin’s Cemetery, Elliott, with a military escort present.

Born in the West End on April 27, 1910, the only child of his parents (Mark G. and Josephine Steedle Butterbach), Father Butterbach attended St. Martin’s School and SS Peter and Paul’s School, East Liberty, and made his studies for the priesthood at St. Fidelis’ Seminary, Herman, and St. Vincent’s Latrobe. He was ordained at St. Vincent’s on June 17, 1934, by Bishop (Hugh C.) Boyle, and for the ensuing year was in charge, pro tem, of St. Mary’s Church, 57th St., and Sacred Heart Church, McKeesport.

From Aug. 16, 1935, to Dec. 15, 1938, he served as a CCC chaplain at various camps in Pennsylvania, and for the next year was assistant at St. Vitus’ Church, New Castle. On Nov. 3, 1939, he again entered the service as CCC chaplain, transferring to Army Chaplain on June 28, 1940.

To read the original article in The Guardian, click here.

Thank you to Candy Kyler Brown and Group Historian Rob Hutchings with the 92nd Bomb Group for information on the transfers of Billy Method and Herbert Butterbach.

Thank you, also, to Keith Ellefson, Combat Data Specialist and Researcher with the 384th Bomb Group for his assistance with this article.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017