The Arrowhead Club

Category Archives: Buslee, John Oliver

The Ring – March 26, 1948

To review:  On March 16, 1948, the Buslee’s wrote to the American Consul General in Czechoslovakia asking for assistance in the delivery of their son’s ring to them from the finder of the ring in Czechoslovakia.

Mr. B, the translator of the letters between America and Czechoslovakia, received a letter from the finder of the ring’s father.  Mr. B translated the letter and sent it to the Buslee’s, adding some information of his own.  In the translated letter from Z’s father, Mr. B occasionally also inserts commentary of his own by placing the information between slashes.

Richmond, Texas, March 26, 1948

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee:-

Thank you for your letter, dear Mrs. Buslee, and I am very happy to know, it will be possible for Z, to send the ring to you direct. That is the way, I understand his letter. But first, here is the translation of Z’s father’s letter. Please, you must understand, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, my English is no good, and to be true, I am ashamed for my bad English, but I came to this beautiful and FREE country, when I was 32 years old, and I am telling you, English is a very hard language to learn. We have a daughter, she was six years old, when she came here and her English is better than those born here. But she started from “ABC” in school and that is different. In 1943 she join the Cadet Nurse Corp and went to New York, and she is still there. So please, forgive my bad English, and here is the translation of that letter:

Esteemed Mr. Buslee !

I received your letter dated 3-8-1948, and I am informing you, that I am answering your letter for my son, who by now is in the service in certain town, which is located far from us. /You know, Mrs. Buslee, they cannot tell in which town, because there must be a censorship in Czechoslovakia and I am sure, it is forbidden to mention that/So I am not able to give you all information about the plane and Mr. Lt. Buslee, who found his heroic death. But soon, as my son will come home for furlough, he will tell you all he knows.

As far as I know, my son he has the ring, which belong to Mr. Lt. Buslee and the other things, which he did have, he send some time ago to the American Consul in Prague, where he asked for informations about the kins of Lt. Buslee./Here Z’s father means some things which his son found by the plane. And I just wonder, why the American Consul General in Prague, did not inquire in Washington, D.C., and did not try to find you-!!!/

It will be a great honor for us, to deliver the remembrance /he means the ring/ to the kins of a dead, who sacrificed his life for the restoration of human rights.

I do not believe /this is the part of Z’s father’s letter, which pleased me very much, because – as I told you Mrs. Buslee in my letter, – I was afraid it would not be possible to mail the ring directly to you by Z/ there will be any difficulty from the Czechoslovak authorities, to deliver the ring to you, and soon, as my son will come home, we will do so. /that mean, they will send the ring/

Please, forgive me, I am late with my answer, but there is nobody here, who would be able to read English and I send the letter of yours to the city to be translated in Czech. Forgive me again please, I am answering in Czech, because I hate to keep you waiting, by sending my letter in Czech, for the English translation and so I am writing in Czech and hope, you will find someone, who will read it for you. After my son will come home, he will tell you all, he know about the plane and the crew and I am terribly sorry, I am unable to ease your sorrow.

I am wishing you a very pleasant Easter and remain with a friendly respect yours:
Z’s Father
Czechoslovakia

Over-:

So, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, that is the translation of Z’s father’s letter. He is the father of that boy Z and the letter shows, they are good peoples. I am very—very happy, it will be possible for him, to mail the ring directly to you. As you know I suggested in my last letter, to ask the Amer. Consul in Prague to ask for the ring and I told Z, in case, the Amer. Consul General will ask for the ring, just mail it to him. But, now, after Z’s father told you- and I am greatly disappointed about that kind of service from US Consul- that his son some time ago asked the US Consul for information and send him some things he found by the plane, and the Consul DID nothing to find you, it really will be better, if Z will be able to send the ring directly to you. I am writing this very moment to Z and tell him about that, and will ask him, if it is possible for him, to send the ring to you direct, just forget all about my idea, to send the ring to the Amer. Consul in Prague, and send the ring Air Mail and registered and I will pay all the expense, or send some my stamps from my collection.

I and my wife, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, we will be so happy, after you will have the remembrance – the ring – from you beloved son-! We have only one child too, -daughter- and we know, how terrible it would be if she would be lost for us, because she is all we have lived for, just like your dear son was-! May God bless you and please, write to me again and after I will know, you did get the ring, we will be happy with you-!!

Please Mrs. Buslee, do not thank me-! It was not a bit of trouble for me, but pleasure to help such a wonderful people. We too, are wishing you a Happy Easter and please, believe me, how happy I would be, if I would be able to ease your sorrow.

Sincerely yours:
Mr. B and wife

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

The Ring – March 16, 1948

To review:  On March 11, 1948, the Buslees received a letter from Mr. B with directions for them to send a letter to the  American Consul General, Prague, Czechoslovakia, requesting assistance in the return of the ring.

The Buslees wrote the following letter to the American Consul General.

411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois

March 16, 1948

Mr. Lawrence Steinhardt
American Embassy
Prague, Czechoslovakia

Dear Honorable Mr. Steinhardt:

We have received a letter from Czechoslovakia, as enclosed.

The letter from Z was sent originally to Mr. B of Richmond, Texas. While these two men were not personally acquainted, it seems that through a mutual friend, Z secured the name of Mr. B. Z was so sincere in his efforts to return the ring to the next of kin that Mr. B turned to the Veterans’ Service Officer at Richmond, Texas in an effort to secure the home address of the next of kin of John O. Buslee.

The result is that we received a letter from Col. Carle, which we enclose. This you will observe makes possible Z in Czechoslovakia learning as to the address of the parents of John O. Buslee.

We are quite confident that you will appreciate the feelings of a mother and father who lost their only son, and thus far, due to the extenuating circumstances, have had little or no definite information as to what actually happened on the fatal day of September 1944.

We would greatly appreciate your lending your effort and assistance to dispatch this ring to our address as below. Our feeling is that with the disturbed conditions in Czechoslovakia it might be difficult for an individual, namely Z, to dispatch a piece of jewelry to this country, and that in your position it would facilitate and make possible sending the ring to us promptly.

We thank you most sincerely for your attention to this matter and assure that any effort you make will be greatly appreciated.

Believe us to be,
Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S.A.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

The Ring – March 11, 1948

To review:  On March 8, 1948, the Buslees wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  In the letters they identified themselves as the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944.  They also confirm that the ring in question is their son’s ring.  In addition to wishing to get the ring back, they ask for information about the crash that took their son’s life.

Mr. B writes the following letter back to the Buslees.

Mr. B
Richmond, Texas
U.S.A.

March 11, 1948

Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee,
Park Ridge, Ill.

My dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee:

To-day I received your letter and am answering at once. I am writing to Z in Czechoslovakia too and at the same time, but—I don’t know if the letter will reach him. You know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, what happened in that little country I was born, last couple of weeks – the red murderers took Czechoslovakia over – and I did not receive any mail.

Your letter, dear people, touched us – me and my wife – so much, that we were not able keep our tears back-! Your sorrow is our sorrow-! You don’t know how happy I would be, if it would be possible for me now, to get the ring for you, because I DO know, how you would be happy and how you would esteem it.

The way it looks to me now is, that the red murderers, who took Czechoslovakia, do not let the peoples even write the letters to USA, and I don’t believe it would be possible for Z to mail the ring now. But, I got an idea, how it would be possible to get the ring and I will return to this below.

First I would like to tell you, that I do not know Z. I have some friends in the same town where he is, and all my letters to Czechoslovakia I furnished with nice American stamps, the “flag stamps”. And it so happen, that he have soon one of my letters and because he is a stamp collector, my friend gave him my address and he asked me for the stamps and in the same letter he asked me, if I would be able to find out you.

I am enclosing his first letter and you better send this letter to the American Embassy too, so they will understand better what it is all about. So I am very sorry, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, that I am not able tell you anything about your beloved son. All I know is, what Z wrote to me, that is, that the plane came down Sept. 24, 1944, near a town about 50 km from Magdeburg.

“I worked” – he write – “near by, and came to the plane sooner than the German did. The plane came down in flames and none of the flyers were alive.” Then he write, he found the ring with the name and number and he ask me, if it would be possible to find out his family, that he would be glad to send them the ring.

I don’t know this man, but I do believe, he is an honest man. You know, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, it all could be finished already if it would not be so much red tape. Soon, as I got the letter from Z, I went to the Veteran Service Officer here in Richmond and asked him for help.

He wrote at once to the Adjutant General’s Office, but they told him, “It is a long established policy of the Department to protect the privacy of the next of kin of former military personnel.” Well, I do understand this, but in this case, if the Adjutant General would send your address, you would have the ring long time ago. Of course, nobody knew, what would happen in Czechoslovakia. But now, here is my idea, now – I hope – would be possible to get the ring for you. I am SURE, Z will be glad to send you the ring. If he would be not, he would not ask me to find out the family of that flyer.

Please, write a letter to: American Consul General, Prague, Czechoslovakia., and tell him all you know, now you got the information about the ring, and it would be wise, to enclose the letter which Z wrote to me. It is written in Czech, but they have translators in the office in Prague, and asks the Consul General, to ask Z to send the ring to the Consul General and he will deliver the ring to you. It will be possible for the Consul General to do this, because I believe, those red murderers would not dare to open diplomatic mail.

You don’t know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, how happy I would be, if you would get the ring. I know, it would be great ease for you. And I do all I am told, to get it for you -! I will write to the president office in Prague, and I will beg President Dr. Beneš, to help me and, if the komunists will not kill him before that, – like they kill Jan Masaryk last Tuesday – I am sure he will help us too.

I am asking Z, if he will get a letter from American consul in Prague, and the consul will ask him for the ring, just to send him the ring, because I did arranged it this way, and please, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, ask the American consul, when he will ask Z for the ring, ask him to enclose Z a letter, /which he wrote to me and I am enclosing to you/ so he will be sure, that the right people get the ring.

I am closing, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee and I wish, you believe, how happy I would be if you would get the ring-!

With great respect for you,
I am sincerely yours:
Mr. B.
Richmond, Texas

Handwritten addition to the above typed letter:
P.S. Please, send the letter to the Amer. Consul General in Prague Registered and Air Mail (15cents half oz., 30 cents one oz. and 20 cents registry)

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – March 8, 1948 – Letter to Z

To review:  On February 20, 1948, the Buslee’s had learned that their son’s Air Force ring, a gift from them, had surfaced in Czechoslovakia.

On March 8, the Buslee’s wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  Last week’s post presented their letter to Mr. B and this week’s post will present their letter to Z.

411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois U.S.A.

March 8, 1948

Dear Z:

Your letter of December 22, 1947 to your friend Mr. B was forwarded to us through the Adjutant General’s Office so that we could personally get in touch with you and Mr. B. This correspondence has just been received by us.

We are the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who we were informed lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944. Yes, it is his ring which you describe and now have. We gave it to him as a gift before he went overseas, and we would be very happy to have it back as a keepsake.

Z, it would be wonderful if you could help us get the ring back and write to us and tell us all you know about our son, the condition of the plane and, if possible, if our son and the rest of the men were dead when the plane reached the ground. Any news you can tell us we will be thankful for.

The Government has never been able to tell us anything about him due to the fact that the plane came down in enemy territory, so you can well imagine how word from you will help to ease our broken hearts. He was our only son.

We are so grateful to both you and Mr. B for your effort in trying to locate us and we assure you we shall always remember your thoughtfulness.

We will gladly reimburse you for any expense you have in returning the ring to us.

We patiently await an early reply from both of you gentlemen and our sincere thanks to you both for your kindness.

The anxious parents of John O. Buslee.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S.A.

Notice that the Buslee’s did not specify the date in September 1944 in which their son lost his life.  They were probably perplexed, as I am, as to why Z reported the date in his letter as September 22 instead of the actual date of the mid-air collision, September 28.  They chose not to correct the date or pursue any line of questioning regarding the date.  Were they skeptical, as I am, with Z’s claims, considering the inaccurate date?  Skepticism only goes so far, though, if Z actually has the ring.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – March 8, 1948 – Letter to Mr. B

To review:  On February 20, 1948, the Buslee’s had learned that their son’s Air Force ring, a gift from them, had surfaced in Czechoslovakia.

On March 8, the Buslee’s wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  Today’s post will present their letter to Mr. B and next week’s post will present their letter to Z.

411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois

March 8, 1948

Mr. B
Richmond, Texas

Dear Mr. B:

The letter you wrote to the Adjutant General Charles D. Carle, was in turn mailed to us so that we could personally get in touch with you and Z. This correspondence has just been received by us.

We are the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who we were informed lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944. Yes, it is his ring which Z describes and now has. We gave it to him as a gift before he went overseas, and we would be very happy to have it back as a keepsake.

Mr. B, it would be wonderful if you could help us get the ring back from your friend, Z. We would appreciate it very much if you would get in touch with him at once, as you suggested in your letter and write to us and tell us all you know about our son. We are also sending a letter to Z with the hope that he will write and tell us all he can about the day he saw the plane, the condition of it, [and how many men were in the plane,]and if possible, if our son and the rest of the men were dead when the plane reached the ground. Any news you can tell us, Mr. B, we will be thankful for.

The Government has never been able to tell us anything about him due to the fact that the plane came down in enemy territory, so you can well imagine how word from you will help to ease our broken hearts. He was our only son.

We are so grateful to both of you men for your effort in trying to locate us and we assure you we shall always remember your thoughtfulness.

We will gladly reimburse you for any expense you have in returning the ring to us.

We patiently await an early reply from both of you gentlemen and our sincere thanks to you both for your kindness.

The anxious parents of John O. Buslee.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S.A.

I have two copies of this letter.  One is typed and one is handwritten.  In the handwritten draft of this letter, the Buslees also asked how many men were in the plane.  I have included that text above in brackets.  I assume that the typed letter is the one sent to Mr. B and the Buslee’s decided to leave out the question of how many men were found in the plane.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – February 20, 1948

To review:  On January 28, 1948, Mr B sent a letter to the Adjutant General’s office in St. Louis, Missouri.  He requested that his enclosed letter be delivered to John Oliver Buslee’s parents.  It took three weeks for a letter to be drafted and sent to the Buslees.  Along with Mr. B’s letter was this one from Colonel Charles D. Carle.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
RECORDS ADMINISTRATION CENTER
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

In reply refer to:
ACRS-CD-S 201 Buslee, John O.
(28 Jan. 48) 764209

20 February 1948

Mr. John Buslee
411 N. Wisner Ave.
Park Ridge, Illinois

Dear Mr. Buslee:

The inclosed letter is forwarded to you for whatever action you deem appropriate inasmuch as it is the policy of the Department of the Army not to furnish the address of the next of kin in order to protect their privacy.

Sincerely yours,
Charles D. Carle
Colonel, AGD
Commanding

1 Inclosure
Ltr dtd 28 Jan 48

Imagine the Buslee’s surprise upon receiving the letter from Mr. B and hearing that their son’s ring had surfaced, and in all places – Czechoslovakia.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – January 28, 1948

To review:  a man whom I will call “Mr. B” was an immigrant to the United States from Czechoslovakia.  In 1948, he was living in Richmond, Texas.  He had received a letter from a friend of a friend still living in Czechoslovakia.  The friend had a special favor to ask Mr. B – to please help him find the next of kin of the owner of a ring he had found in Germany in September 1944.

With the information he had been given, on January 5, 1948 Mr. B wrote to the Veteran’s Service Office in Richmond requesting the name and home address of the family of John Oliver (Jay) Buslee.  He received a letter in reply on January 21, stating that if he transmitted any communications to the next of kin to their office, they would forward it to the family.

A week later, Mr. B wrote back, giving the details of his request.

Richmond, Texas, Jan. 28, 1948

The Adjutant General’s Office,
Records Administration Center,
St. Louis, Missouri.
Charles D. Carle, Colonel, AGD Commanding.

AGRS-DC-8 301 Buslee, John O.

Dear Colonel:

Mr. William F. Doggett, Veteran Service Officer for Fort Bend County, Texas, send to my hand your letter, concerning John O. Buslee, serial number O 764 209. Let me explain first, why I would be so happy to get in touch with the next of kin, above mentioned flyer.

On 22/12, 1947, I received a letter from one unknown in Czechoslovakia, who got my address from one friend of mine. Here is the translation of said letter:

Dear Mr. B,

I am begging you for a favor and I do hope you will be so kind and help us. On Sept. 22, 1944, American plane came down in flames alone, about 40 kilometers from Magdeburg. I have been working in the fields, there the Germans put me on forced labor. I came to the plane before the Gestapo and SS did and all the flyers have been dead and I pick up a ring which belonged to one of the flyers. It is a ring with a big jewel and around the jewel there are 13 stars engraved, and on one side of the jewel is a USA emblem and on the other side a USA flyer emblem with the wording: War of survival, and the name John O. Buslee, O-764209. Please, Mr. B, if it would be possible for you to find out the family of the dead flyer, so I would be able to send them the ring. But I will not give it to nobody, unless I am sure the right people will get it.

I hope you will fulfill my wish and I remain yours,

Z
Czechoslovakia

I would be very happy, dear Colonel, if the ring would be send to the family of the flyer and I am sure, they would be happy to get it too. I am sending a letter to Z too and I am informing him, that if he would send the ring to me, I would send the ring to you and I am sure, the ring would reach the right people. Please, kindly advise me on this matter.

Respectfully yours,
Mr. B
Richmond, Texas

A young man from Czechoslovakia witnessed the Lead Banana crash after its mid-air collision with the Lazy Daisy.  He was working in the fields, as forced labor of the Nazis during WWII.  He was the first person to arrive at the plane and discover that there were no survivors of the crash.

In this letter, Z identifies the date of the crash as September 22, 1944, a Friday.  The mission, and crash, actually occurred the next Thursday, September 28, 1944.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – January 21, 1948

A man whom I will call “Mr. B” was an immigrant to the United States from Czechoslovakia.  In 1948, he was living in Richmond, Texas.  He had received a letter from a friend of a friend still living in Czechoslovakia.  The friend had a special favor to ask Mr. B – to please help him find the next of kin of the owner of a ring he had found in Germany in September 1944.

With the information he had been given, on January 5, 1948 Mr. B wrote to the Veteran’s Service Office in Richmond requesting the name and home address of the family of John Oliver (Jay) Buslee.  He received the following letter in reply:

21 January 1948

AGRS-DC-8 301 Buslee, John O.
(5 Jan 48)

Veterans Service Officer
Richmond, Texas

Dear Sir:

Reference is made to your letter in which you request the name and home address of the next of kin of John O. Buslee, serial number 0 764 209.

It is a long established policy of the Department of the Army to protect the privacy of the next of kin of former military personnel. However any communication intended for the next of kin will be forwarded to the last known address if transmitted to this office.

Sincerely yours,
Charles D. Carle
Colonel, AGD,
Commanding

This communication between Mr. B and the Veterans Service Office began the quest to return John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s ring to his parents.  In subsequent letters, we will learn how the man in Czechoslovakia, whom I will call “Z”, came to possess the ring.  We will also learn that this was the second time Z attempted to reunite Jay Buslee’s ring with his parents, something he had tried to do three years before – in 1945 – but was unable to accomplish.

The letters show the dedication and persistence of a man on one side of the world to bring some peace to another family far away, the family of a man he had never met, but who he felt a bond with through the tragedy of war.  The letters also open a window to what another part of the world was like during and after WWII.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee died September 28, 1944 when the B-17 he was piloting, Lead Banana, crashed after a mid-air collision with B-17 Lazy Daisy.  His parents were notified shortly thereafter that he was missing in action, but it would be another four months before they received news that he had died in the collision.

Mr. and Mrs. Buslee eventually received Jay’s possessions, only to find that the Air Force ring they had given him as a gift was not among the items returned to them.  He must have been wearing the ring on his last mission, but it was not recovered with his body as far as they knew.

Several years later, in 1948, Jay’s ring surfaced.  At the time, my dad, George Edwin Farrar, the waist gunner and sole survivor on Buslee’s aircraft, was working for Mr. Buslee and living in the Buslee home.  I believe in that situation, he would have been aware of the ring’s discovery, but it’s not anything he ever mentioned to me.  He was a traveling salesman and it was the same year he met and courted my mother, and it probably wasn’t as important of a discovery to him as it was to Mr. and Mrs. Buslee.

The surfacing of the ring was one thing.  Getting the ring back was another.  Distance and politics and the state of the world in the 1940’s made this a very difficult task.

Over the next several weeks I will publish a collection of letters shared with me by John Dale Kielhofer, Jay Buslee’s nephew, and share with you The Story of the Ring.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

 

The Buslees Receive Bad News

On January 31, 1945, John Buslee, father of pilot John Oliver (Jay) Buslee, wrote to George Edwin Farrar’s mother, Raleigh Mae Farrar.  Farrar was the wasit gunner of Jay Buslee’s bomber crew.   Buslee and Farrar and the other boys in the crew had been reported missing in action from Mission 201 to Magdeburg, Germany on September 28, 1944.  On New Year’s Eve 1944, Farrar had been reported as a prisoner of war.  Now four months after the mid-air collision between Lead Banana carrying the Buslee crew, and Lazy Daisy carrying the Brodie crew, Jay Buslee was reported as killed in action on the September 28 mission.

It must have been a very hard letter to write.  Instead of writing from home as he had done previously, Buslee wrote this letter from his office.  Home was about fifteen miles from his office downtown.  On that long drive into work, did John Buslee even notice how cold it was on this winter day in Chicago when all he could think about was the news, and news he couldn’t believe, about his only son?

January 31, 1945
Neumann – Buslee & Wolfe Inc
Merchants – Importers – Manufacturers
224 – 230 W. Huron Street, Chicago (10), Illinois

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

Dear Mrs. Farrar:

On January 28 we received a telegram from the Adjutant General at Washington, D.C. advising that our son John O. was killed in action on September 28 while over Germany.

This, you can realize, was shocking news, particularly as we felt the time was in our favor and that the delay in definite word reaching us was due to his being a prisoner of war.

Having promised to keep you advised of any news reaching us prompts writing this letter. Mrs. Buslee, my daughter and self just can’t realize that the word sent to us is correct. We are hopeful that some error has been made due to all of the confusion in war-torn Germany and that we will ultimately get different word from our son.

We trust that you have heard recently from your son, George, and that he is in good health.

Sincerely yours,
John Buslee

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee was identified as killed in action on an October 21, 1944 Telegram Form.  This form is part of MACR9753, the Missing Air Crew Report which contained information on both the crews of Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy.  In addition to identifying Buslee, the Telegram Form also reported the identifications of David Albrecht (Buslee’s co-pilot), Lenard Bryant (Buslee’s top turret gunner), Lloyd Vevle (Brodie’s co-pilot), and Byron Atkins (Brodie’s bombardier).  All but Atkins had previously been recovered dead, but remained unidentified until this point.  Atkins had been carried off in the nose of Lazy Daisy, away from the rest of the crew and the crash site, and had just recently been found dead and identified.

I assume the Albrecht, Bryant, Vevle, and Atkins families also received news of their sons’ deaths about the same time as the Buslees.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014