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Marvin Fryden, Update
New information from a new search on Ancestry.com, and new information from military records have provided me with some new and updated information regarding Marvin Fryden, the original bombardier of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII.
To view my original post and other information about Marvin Fryden, please see the links at the end of this post.
While in the military, Marvin Fryden spelled his last name as “Fryden.” However, the original spelling of his family’s last name when he was growing up was “Frydyn.” I will use both spellings as they were found in historical records, but generally Marvin’s parents continued to use the “Frydyn” spelling as Marvin and his younger sister, Florence, used the “Fryden” spelling in the 1940’s.
Marvin’s father was Harry Frydyn and his mother was Sylvia Kaplan. The family was Jewish and Yiddish was their native language.
Harry Frydyn was born on February 15, 1889 in Radom, Poland/Russia (depending on the year, Radom was part of Poland or Russia). Radom is located about sixty miles south of Warsaw. According to U.S. Naturalization Records, Harry immigrated to the United States from Russia on 13 November 1907 around the age of 18 (his birthplace was Russia), and he became a naturalized citizen on 5 March 1914 at the age of 25. Alternate records show he immigrated to the United States in 1910 and was naturalized in 1916 (according to the 1920 and 1930 Federal census records).
Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn was born in 1898 in Bialastok [Bialystok], Poland. She immigrated to the United States in 1910 and was naturalized in 1919 (according to the 1920 census) or immigrated in 1914 (according to the 1930 census).
On 5 June 1917, Marvin’s father, Harry Frydyn, at the age of 28, registered for the World War I (July 1914 to 11 November 1918) draft. While I can find no details of Harry’s military service, the Veterans Administration Master Index notes Harry’s Military Service record date as January 1918.
On 8 December 1919, Harry Frydyn, age 30, married Sylvia Kaplan, age 21, in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
The 1920 census recorded Harry and Sylvia Frydyn living at 3238 Augusta Street, Chicago, Ward 15 as borders of David and Rose Rosenberg and their son Jerome.
Harry and Sylvia Frydyn had three children in the 1920’s. Their first child, Marvin, was born on 8 January 1921 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. On 21 May 1925, they had a second son, Marshall, who survived only five and a half months, dying on 4 November 1925. The next year, the Frydyn’s third child, a daughter named Florence, was born on 16 October 1926.
The 1930 census recorded Harry (39), Sylvia (31), Marvin (9) and Florence (3) renting a home at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Sylvia’s sister, Lilly Kaplan (25), a new immigrant to American in 1927, was living with the family.
The 1940 census recorded the Frydyn family still residing at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue in Chicago. In 1940, Marvin (19) worked as a salesman at Hyraces Silk Manufacturers and had had one year of college. Florence (13) was a student.
In 1944, Florence was pictured in the Sullivan High School yearbook with her last name spelled “Fryden” rather than “Frydyn.”
Entry into WWII Military Service
On 13 January 1942, Marvin Fryden enlisted for service in the Army Air Corps in Chicago, Illinois for Aviation Cadet Training. Marvin’s enlistment record notes his residence as Cook County, Illinois and that he was born in Illinois in 1921. His Army Serial Number at the time of enlistment was 16038334. Note: Officers were reassigned with a new serial number when they were commissioned and Marvin’s later become O-731492.
At the time of his enlistment, Marvin Fryden was 5’9″ tall, weighed 126 pounds, had completed two years of college, and was single with no dependents.
With very few official records of Marvin Fryden’s training and service in the States before his combat duty in the European Theater of Operation, I must rely on records noted by Marvin’s wife, Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet.
- Was sent for pilot training, but then went on to Bombardier School in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he got his wings in October 1942. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
- Graduated from Bombardier School at Kirtland AAF, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Class #42-14, 10 October 1942. (Courtesy of Bobby Silliman and 384th Bomb Group personnel records)
- After marriage, went to training command at Chandler, Arizona and Deming, New Mexico. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
- Marvin Fryden served as a Bombardier Instructor at the Bombardier School at Deming Army Air Field in Deming, New Mexico (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden and Frank Furiga)
- Avn. Cit. ACRTC. Kelly Field, Texas. Kelly Field was an Advanced Flying School in San Antonio, Texas. (Source: Master Index Card/NPRC – National Personnel Records Center)
- In Deming, on June 6th, D-Day, commented “I should be there helping them,” after which he was assigned to advanced training in Midland, Texas. There he met bombardiers who had returned from their missions, and he became even more dedicated to serving in a combat zone. He requested combat duty and was sent to Salt Lake City, was assigned to a crew, and went on to Ardmore, Oklahoma for B-17 training. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
Marriage to Marilyn Ash
Two days before his Bombardier School graduation, Marvin Fryden married Marilyn Ash on 8 October 1942 in Bernalillo, New Mexico. At the time of their marriage, Marvin was twenty-one years old and Marilyn was a few weeks shy of her seventeenth birthday.
Marilyn Ash was born 26 October 1925 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois to Simon Harry Ash and Fay Ash. Simon, a physician in private practice, was born on 26 June 1892 in Germany according to census records, although he noted on his WWII draft registration card that he was born in Vilna, Russia. Fay was born in Illinois. Simon immigrated in 1905 and was a naturalized American citizen. Census records note Fay’s parents were both born in Russia and Simon’s parents were both born in Germany.
In 1930 Simon and Fay Ash and their two children, Marilyn (4 years old) and Myron (a 2-month old infant) lived at 2410 West 51st Street in Chicago. In 1940, the family lived in the same home.
In 1930 and 1940, the Frydyn and Ash families lived only eight miles apart in Chicago, with the Frydyn family at 2651 W Potomac Avenue and the Ash family at 2410 W 51st Street.
The photo below was taken 13 June 1944 at Fonville Studios in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Marvin left for combat on 26 June 1944.
Marvin Fryden was assigned as bombardier to the John Oliver Buslee B-17 crew, of which my father was assigned waist gunner, in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Combat Duty in World War II in the 384th Bomb Group
Marvin Fryden’s 384th Bomb Group Individual Sortie record indicates that his duty was Bombardier, one month’s pay was $275.00, and his home address was Mrs. Marilyn Fryden, 2416 W. 51st St., Chicago, Illinois. [Marilyn must have returned to her parents’ home to wait for Marvin while he was away in combat].
Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group and other military documents indicate the following for Marvin Fryden
On 22 JULY 1944, 1st Lt. Marvin Fryden was assigned as Bombardier with the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty 1035) to the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944.
On 5 AUGUST 1944, on his second mission, Mission 173 to Langenhagen, Germany, target was the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), a Luftwaffe Controlling Station, Marvin Fryden was (KIA) killed by flak at the age of 23.
On the 5 August 1944 mission to a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) target in Langenhagen, Germany, a flak shell exploded just outside the nose of Tremblin’ Gremlin where Marvin Fryden sat in position ready to drop his bombs. A piece of flak hit Marvin in the chest, but he was able to release his bombs on the target. He collapsed and survived the return trip to England, but died in the arms of his friend, navigator Chester Rybarczyk, in the hospital.
Marvin Fryden was credited with two missions with the 384th Bomb Group. His first mission was on 4 August 1944 and his last was on 5 August 1944.
Medals and Decorations
Marvin Fryden was awarded the Purple Heart, Killed in action (died of wounds on August 5, 1944).
Casualty of War
Marvin Fryden, Buslee crew bombardier, participating in the 5 August 1944 mission to Langenhagen, Germany, died on that date, at the age of 23. He is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England, Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4.
His Hospital Admission card recorded,
- Age 23
- Years of service 2 years, 7 months
- First diagnosis – wounds, perforating, location thorax (the chest), generally
- Second diagnosis – fracture, compound, comminuted or depressed, humerus (the bone of the upper arm or forelimb, forming joints at the shoulder and the elbow), generally
- Causative agent shell fragment, flak, shrapnel.
The National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records, Master Card System recorded Marvin Fryden’s death on FEB 14 1945. His name as recorded on the card was FRYDYN Marvin, Rank Lt., Age 23, Next of Kin Mr. & Mrs. Harry Frydyn, Relationship Parents, Address 6719 Lakewood Avenue, City Chicago, State Ill.
Marvin and Marilyn Fryden had been married for two years when Marvin died on 5 August 1944. At the time of Marvin’s death, Marilyn was only eighteen years old. You can read more about Marilyn and her love for Marvin here.
Family After the War
Marvin’s mother, Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn, died on July 8, 1952.
Marvin’s father, Harry Frydyn, died on 27 January 1968 (alternately reported as January 1967).
Marvin’s wife, Marilyn Ash Fryden, was remarried on 22 December 1945 in Illinois to Jerome Samet. They divorced on 17 September 1990 in Surry, North Carolina. Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet died on 7 November 2013 in Cary, North Carolina at the age of 88.
Marvin’s sister, Florence “Faye” Fryden/Frydyn Dobrow, married to Morton Dobrow, died on 12 December 2016 at the age of 90.
Fiftieth Anniversary of V-E Day
NPRC Records Search by American Vice President Al Gore’s Advance Team
In researching Marvin Fryden, I reviewed the documents in his personnel file at the NPRC (National Personnel Records Center) in St. Louis, Missouri. Marvin’s personnel file held very few records, but this letter that dates to 1995 was on file as part of his record.
The letter, dated 3 May 1995, was sent from the Assistant Director of Military Records of the NPRC and addressed to a representative, Ms. Lynn Sicade, of Vice President Gore’s Advance Team, London, England. In 1995, Al Gore was American President Bill Clinton’s Vice President.
According to the letter, Ms. Sicade was looking for information on three deceased Army veterans, one of whom was Marvin Fryden. While the letter noted that the NPRC did send some “limited” information about Marvin Fryden, it also noted that his military personnel record was destroyed in the major fire at the facility, which occurred in 1973.
So, why would Vice President Al Gore be interested in Marvin Fryden and the other two deceased Army service members, Elsie B. Keasey and Leo E. Apanasewicz, in 1995?
All three men died in World War II and are buried at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in England.
- Marvin Fryden is buried in Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4.
- Elsie B. Keasey is buried in Plot C, Row 3, Grave 2.
- Leo E. Apanasewicz is buried in Plot A, Row 4, Grave 10.
And that fact leads to the reason that Al Gore was interested in these men.
V-E Day Celebrations: Many Memories of a Great Occasion
According to a 6 May 1995 article, in part, by Audrey Woods,
LONDON (AP) _ Thousands of veterans of World War II joined in commemorations Saturday of the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, each bringing particular memories of triumph, liberation and sorrow.
Vice President Al Gore told veterans gathered at the American Cemetery in Cambridge that the war against evil did not end on May 8, 1945. Vice President Gore said,
“From their deaths, we have learned enduring lessons. If we don’t heed them now, the 21st century … could bring us a greater barbarism than the world has ever known.”
Gore, Veterans in Cambridge to Mark 50th Anniversary of VE-Day
CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) _ American veterans gathered among the graves of their fallen comrades today to mark the 50th anniversary of victory in World War II.
Vice President Al Gore was representing the United States at the ceremony, and at other events in Britain, France and Germany. Vice President Gore said,
“I would like to emphasize on this occasion what a great honor it is to be able to represent my country at VE Day commemorations, and to remember on behalf of all Americans the hours when Britain stood alone against the forces of evil threatening our civilization, and to celebrate partnership that won that war, and to honor those who sacrificed everything for our freedom,” Gore said this morning, after meeting Prime Minister John Major in London.
Gore is to lay a wreath at Cambridge’s American Cemetery to honor the 3,812 U.S. war dead interred there and thousands of others listed as missing.
Some 4,000 U.S. veterans, many of them pilots and crew members of the American planes that flew more than a half million missions from England into occupied Europe, are expected to attend the memorial service.
The multi-nation V-E Day celebration began in London, England and continued to Paris, France, to Berlin, Germany, and to Moscow, Russian Federation. Leaders or other officials of fifty-four nations attended events in London – a formal dinner Saturday night (5 May), a service of reconciliation at St. Paul’s Cathedral Sunday morning (6 May), and another banquet at Buckingham Palace.
While visiting the Cambridge American Cemetery, did Vice President Al Gore visit Marvin Fryden’s grave or make remarks about him and the others his Advance Team researched through the NPRC? I cannot answer that question now, but perhaps the answer is in the archives somewhere in a transcript of his speech or in photos of his visit to the cemetery that day.
Previous post, The Family of Marvin Fryden
Wikipedia: Radom, Poland
Wikipedia: Bialystok, Poland
Previous post, A Photo of Marvin Fryden, Bombardier of the Buslee Crew
Marvin Fryden’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives (in the Reserve Corps records)
Marvin Fryden’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group
MOS means Military Occupational Specialty
Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews
Previous post, Timeline for Buslee Crewmembers and Substitutes, 544th Bomb Squadron
Previous post, August 5, 1944 Mission 173 Press Release – Transcription
Marvin Fryden’s Find a Grave Memorial
Florence “Faye” Frydyn Dobrow obituary
AP News: V-E Day Celebrations: Many Memories of a Great Occasion
AP News: Gore, Veterans in Cambridge to Mark 50th Anniversary of VE-Day
The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023
The Bombardier in the Buslee Crew Photo
Five years ago, in February 2017, I posed a question to my readers. Do you think the bombardier in the John Buslee crew photo is Marvin Fryden or James Davis? I am referring to the airman standing in the back row on the far right.
Marvin Fryden was the John Buslee crew’s original bombardier. Fryden was killed on his second mission on 5 August 1944 aboard the B-17 Tremblin’ Gremlin by a burst of flak. James Buford Davis replaced Fryden as the Buslee crew’s bombardier on 9 August 1944.
On the back of the Buslee crew photo that I have, the man standing on the far right is identified as James Davis. I have always questioned the accuracy of that identification. I have always believed that the bombardier in the photo is Fryden.
I have positive identifications of the remaining members of the crew in the photo. These are the identifications provided on the back of the photo in my mother’s handwriting.
Back row, left to right:
• 2Lt. John Oliver Buslee, Pilot, from Park Ridge, Illinois
• 2Lt. David Franklin Albrecht, Co-Pilot, from Chico, California
• 2Lt. Chester A. Rybarczyk, Navigator, from Toledo, Ohio
• 2Lt. James B. Davis, Bombardier, from New Castle, Indiana
Front row, left to right:
• Sgt. Erwin V. Foster, Ball Turret Gunner, from Elmira, New York
• Sgt. Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, Radio Operator/Gunner, from Brooklyn, New York
• Cpl. Lenard Leroy Bryant, Waist Gunner, from Lubbock, Texas
• Sgt. Clarence B. Seeley, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, from Halsey, Nebraska
• S/Sgt. Eugene D. Lucynski, Tail Gunner, from Detroit, Michigan
• Sgt. George Edwin Farrar, Waist Gunner, from Atlanta, Georgia, (my dad)
I have been able to verify through other photographs of these men that those identifications are accurate. I only questioned the identification of Davis as the bombardier and hoped I could eventually determine if that identification is accurate as well.
Unfortunately, at the time I was attempting to analyze the faces in the photo, I only had a photo of James Davis, no photo of Marvin Fryden. On my visit to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis in October 2016, I found this photo of James Buford Davis in uniform in his Army Air Forces personnel file.
To my eye, when comparing the photo of Davis to the bombardier in the crew photo, I could not determine that the airman in the crew photo was Davis, and so concluded that it was Fryden. But I still felt a great deal of uncertainty without a photo of Fryden to use for the comparison.
I had another reason to believe Fryden was in the photo. I believed that James Davis would not have appeared in a Buslee crew photo that also included Clarence Burdell Seeley.
James Davis did not join the Buslee crew until the 9 August 1944 mission and would not have appeared in a crew photo until, at least, he had been named as the bombardier replacement for their crew. So James Davis would not be in a Buslee crew photo on or before 5 August, when Marvin Fryden was killed. Add to that, Clarence Burdell Seeley looks very healthy in the crew photo, not what I would expect after 5 August 1944.
On the 5 August 1944 mission in which Marvin Fryden was killed, the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Clarence Burdell Seeley was hit by flak and seriously injured. A jagged piece of steel ripped through the lower part of his right leg above the ankle. He was taken to the 65th General Hospital for treatment and was hospitalized there for 35 days.
The 65th General Hospital was at Redgrave Park in Suffolk County, England. Redgrave Park is about 85 miles/137 km from Grafton Underwood, home of the 384th Bomb Group. During his period of hospitalization, Seeley would not have been in the Grafton Underwood area for a crew photograph.
Back in 2017, I enlisted 384th Bomb Group Combat Data Specialist Keith Ellefson in my research and he speculated that,
I suspect the 65th General Hospital was the general hospital closest to the field (Halesworth, Station 365) that they [the Buslee crew] landed at upon return from the [5 August 1944] mission. Once he [Seeley] was ambulatory and it was determined that he would possibly recover well enough to go back on flight status, I imagine he would be returned to GU [the 384th’s base at Grafton Underwood] for convalescence and evaluation by the squadron flight surgeon.
If I recall correctly, five years ago Keith believed the bombardier in the photo to be Davis and believed the photo was taken at Grafton Underwood. At the time, I was under the assumption that the photo was a photo of the original crew taken at Ardmore, Oklahoma at the end of their crew training before they left the States for England.
In the past few years, I have found more information in the records of the 384th Bomb Group which provides more detail about the timeline of Seeley’s hospitalization and recovery period.
According to military records, on 13 August 1944, Seeley was moved from the 65th General Hospital to the 4209 U.S. Army Hospital Plant, APO 587. APO (Army Post Office) 587 was located at Knettishall, England, which was about 5.5 miles/8.8 km from the 65th General Hospital at Redgrave Park, still far from Grafton Underwood.
But on 11 September 1944, Seeley went from absent sick (LD) 65th General Hospital to duty. Even though he would not return to flight duty until Mission 203 on 2 October 1944 (four days after the Buslee crew went MIA on the 28 September 1944 mission to Magdeburg, Germany), Seeley was likely back at Grafton Underwood on or shortly after 11 September.
Now I see a window of opportunity for the Buslee crew photo to include both James Davis and Clarence Seeley that I did not previously see. The crew photo could have been taken sometime during this period between 11 and 28 September. That is the only way I can see both James Davis and a healthy Clarence Burdell Seeley appearing in the same photo.
Sounds like the issue of all the parties being available at the same time for a photo op between 11 and 28 September 1944 works out fine, right? Not so fast. I also discovered that ball turret gunner Erwin Foster was out on sick leave at the 303rd Station Hospital at Thrapston between 10 and 26 September. And tail gunner Eugene Lucynski went MIA with another crew on 19 September, bailing out of Tremblin’ Gremlin over Belgium. He was injured and hospitalized at an unknown location reportedly until 10 November.
Thrapston was only about 5.5 miles/9 km from Grafton Underwood. So I see a possibility that Foster was still close by, maybe even still at Grafton Underwood and being treated on an outpatient basis. If he was on base or able to travel to the base long enough for a photo, perhaps the crew photo was taken during a narrower window of between 11 and 18 September 1944. By 19 September, Lucynski would not have been in the photo.
And recently my other issue – that I had no photo of Marvin Fryden for comparison purposes – was also resolved. Ash Samet, Marvin Fryden’s widow’s grandson (of Marilyn’s second marriage to Jerome Samet), contacted me just a few weeks ago and sent me a portrait of Marilyn and Marvin Fryden. The grandson’s name is Ash Samet. Ash is a computer graphics artist.
I ran the question by him of who he thinks the bombardier in the Buslee crew photo is – Fryden or Davis – and he created this very elaborate comparison of the facial features of both Davis and Fryden to the bombardier in the crew photo.
If you click the comparison graphic, then click again to enlarge, you can review the detailed comparison that Ash performed. I am going to note Ash’s findings here, too, but please keep in mind, this is Ash Samet’s work and Ash’s words, and I credit Ash Samet fully with this expert analysis.
One of the first things I notice between the pictures are their ear-shapes! The greyscale photo has an almost angular feel to it, matching James, where Marvin’s ears (for lack of a better word) are almost bean-shaped. Silhouette aside, the greyscale image has an attached earlobe, like James, where Marvin’s earlobes are detached.
It’s hard to see since it’s in shadow, but I thought it was interesting how James’s eyelid falls so low that it’s almost giving the appearance of a monolid, where Marvin has a definitively double eyelid. The greyscale image is squinting, but since the brows are lower/not raised, the skin above the eye isn’t being stretched. If he had a double eyelid as defined as Marvin’s, it would be more exaggerated as the folds compress with a squint!
Another landmark I notice between these pictures is the lips- Marvin has very full lips, and while they could pull to be thinner in a smile/squint, I’d estimate the corners of his mouth would have to reach more towards aligning with the outsides of his eyes. The middle photo’s mouth is pulled slightly wider, but still close enough to a neutral position that I’d say the lip thickness matches James more!
James’ mouth also has more of a natural curl at the corners, which is accentuated by the expression in the middle photo.
A more subtle detail in the photo is the “smile-lines” look very angular- even seeming to make a diamond-shape! Though the left picture of James is a neutral expression, you can see a natural indent that looks similar.
Based on the fat distribution on Marvin’s face, I’d imagine if his mouth pulled wider he’d show dimples.
The picture of James has a nose with noticeably round features matching the greyscale photo more closely than the picture of Marv, but aside from that, it looks like the eye-to-nose proportions of Marv’s nose is longer than the other images.
Also a minor detail that’s harder to see- but the eyebrows of the greyscale image seem to reach much closer to the middle of the face than Marv’s- it could possibly be shadow, but they’re dark enough that I’d wager the actual hair itself is darker than Marvin’s!
Well, that kind of does it for me. Ash Samet has me convinced. I’m going with identification of the bombardier in the Buslee crew photo being James Buford Davis.
Keith Ellefson was trying to lead me down that road, but I resisted. I was so convinced that the Buslee crew photo was taken in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where the crew performed their final training. But Keith said, no, the background looks more like England than Oklahoma. To me, if the location was Ardmore, it had to be Fryden in the picture. I wanted to believe it was Oklahoma and I wanted to believe it was Fryden.
And Keith thought the bombardier looked like Davis, too. I should have listened. I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that the crew photo may not have been taken before the crew’s first mission with all ten original crew members. I took the wrong road. I took the scenic route instead, leading me about five years in the wrong direction. Sorry for not listening to you five years ago, Keith. And thank you Ash Samet for taking me by the hand and showing me the proper path step by step to the correct identification of James Buford Davis, the airman, the bombardier, in the photo.
Previous post, Davis or Fryden?
Previous post, A Photo of Marvin Fryden, Bombardier of the Buslee Crew
Previous post, August 5, 1944 Mission 173 Press Release – Transcription
Numerical Listing of APO’s January 1942 to November 1947
Notes about the 65th General Hospital link: the American Air Museum in Britain website will be down from 30 June 2022 until September 2022 for reconstruction. A notice on their site reads:
The American Air Museum archive is temporarily closing for reconstruction. We are working on a site-wide upgrade which will be completed in September 2022. To allow the American Air Museum team time to process the database, we will be stopping crowdsourced contributions from 30 June 2022. This means that from 30 June 2022 you will not be able to search, add or edit information in the American Air Museum archive. You can find out more about our plans here.
Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group. Thanks to Keith, also, for his superb research, analysis, and advice, and thank you to Ash Samet for providing me with the photo of Marvin Fryden and his photo analysis.
Except for the work – image, graphics, and text – of Ash Samet, © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022
A Photo of Marvin Fryden, Bombardier of the Buslee Crew
Memorial Day 2022 was on Monday, earlier this week, but I must take this opportunity a couple of days past the holiday to remember Marvin Fryden today. He was the John Oliver Buslee crew’s original bombardier. Marvin was killed on his second B-17 combat mission of WWII on 5 August 1944.
The mission was my dad’s first. Dad, George Edwin Farrar, served as the Buslee crew’s waist gunner that day and it was the most memorable and tragic mission of his combat career until the mid-air collision in which he was involved on 28 September 1944.
You see, the only B-17 Dad ever mentioned by name when I was growing up was Tremblin’ Gremlin. That was the ship that Dad, Marvin Fryden, and the rest of the Buslee crew manned on that 5 August 1944 mission to a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) target in Langenhagen, Germany.
On that mission, a flak shell exploded just outside the nose of Tremblin’ Gremlin where Marvin Fryden sat in position ready to drop his bombs. A piece of flak hit Marvin in the chest, but he was able to release his bombs on the target. He collapsed and survived the return trip to England, but died in the arms of his friend, navigator Chester Rybarczyk, in the hospital.
Marvin Fryden is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England, Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4.
There were other less severe injuries among the crew and the ship was severely damaged, including 106 flak holes. Tremblin’ Gremlin barely made it back to England, but not as far as Grafton Underwood, landing at AAF Station 365 at Halesworth, about eight miles (13 km) inland from the English coastline of the North Sea.
The Buslee crew lost their bombardier on 5 August 1944, but Marvin was a married man, and Marilyn Ash Fryden lost her husband that day, too. Marilyn saw her future with the man she loved disappear in an instant.
The couple had this portrait made on 13 June 1944 in Ardmore, Oklahoma where Marvin was completing his crew training shortly before he and the Buslee crew left the States for England and combat duty.
On the back of the photo, Marilyn noted,
Marv left for combat 6-26-1944, is buried in Cambridge, England. By 8-5-44 was dead! Less than 2 mo before “gone” forever!
Finding herself a widow at the young age of eighteen, Marilyn found love again, and a few days before Christmas 1945 Marilyn married Jerome Samet. Jerome was a member of the US Army Air Forces stationed at Marana Air Base in Arizona. Jerome was discharged from the AAF in February 1946 and the Samets began a family.
Recently, Marilyn and Jerome’s grandson, Ash Samet, found my stories of Marvin and Marilyn and shared the portrait with me. Ash said about the photo,
Marilyn had it hanging in her room for as long as I could remember, and always spoke so lovingly of Marv, even 69 years after his death.
Marilyn died on November 7, 2013 at the age of 88. Ash said that after her death he kept the photo, even though Marvin wasn’t his grandfather, because it meant so much to his grandmother.
Even though Marilyn lost Marvin almost seventy years earlier, shortly before her death she recorded this message in the 384th Bomb Group’s online log book.
I am 88, still loving my first love. Ready to leave this world and reunite with my love in England.
Her grandson, Ash, remembers,
She said the “next time around” she’d be born in England, since that was where her heart would always be.
Thank you Ash Samet for sharing the portrait of Marilyn and Marvin Fryden.
Marvin Fryden’s Personnel Record, courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group
Previous post, August 5, 1944 Mission 173 Press Release – Transcription
Previous post, The Family of Marvin Fryden
Previous post, Never Forgotten
Previous post, Marilyn Fryden’s Letter and Photos Sixty Years Later
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022
Marilyn Fryden’s Letter and Photos Sixty Years Later
Marvin Fryden was the original bombardier of the 384th Bomb Group’s John Oliver Buslee crew on which my dad, George Edwin Farrar, was a waist gunner. Marvin was killed on his second mission on August 5, 1944 after being hit by flak. The young wife he left behind to grieve for him for the rest of her life was named Marilyn.
The photo above of Marvin Fryden is not of very good quality, but it is the first portrait I have seen of him. This new find is thanks to Frank Furiga, original bombardier of the 384th Bomb Group’s Bert Brown crew, and the amazing volume of information he kept from the war, and to Frank’s son, Paul, for sharing it with me.
Before deciding to join a combat crew, Marvin Fryden was a bombardier training instructor in Deming, New Mexico. He and Frank Furiga crossed paths in Deming where Frank did his bombardier training.
I know that’s where the two men met because Furiga noted it on the bottom of a page of the 8th Air Force Magazine that included Marvin’s photo and Marilyn’s letter. Frank wrote,
Met him at Deming for 1st time where I trained.
From that point, or sometime thereafter, Fryden and Furiga would continue on the same path into World War II combat, and both performed their final combat crew training in Ardmore, Oklahoma. They were sent to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) at the same time, and were both assigned to the 384th Bomb Group based in Grafton Underwood, England.
Frank Furiga remembered Marvin when he saw the photos in the September 2005 issue of the 8th Air Force Magazine and read Marilyn’s letter, sixty-one years after their first meeting.
This is the page from the magazine that Frank Furiga kept and his son Paul recently ran across. Below, I have transcribed Marilyn’s letter, and noted a few discrepancies [in numbered brackets] in my transcribed copy.
Marilyn Fryden’s letter as published in the September 2005 issue of the 8th Air Force Magazine
1st LT. MARVIN FRYDEN
384th Bomb Group 544th Bomb Squadron 8th Air Force
Marv enlisted on January 13, 1942 from his home in Chicago. He was sent for pilot training but then went on to Bombardier School in Albuquerque where he got his Wings in October 1942.
We married and went to training command at Chandler, Airzona and Deming, New Mexico. In Deming on June 6th – D-Day – his comment was, “I should be there helping them,” after which he was assigned to advanced training in Midland, Texas. There he met bombardiers who had returned from their missions, and he became even more dedicated to serving in a combat zone. He requested combat duty and was sent to Salt Lake City, was assigned to a crew, and went on to Ardmore, Oklahoma for B-17 training.
His pilot, John Buslee, was from Forest, Illinois . The copilot, his wife and infant daughter  were from Chico, California. They lived at the same place we did. I think that his name was Dick Albrecht or Albright and that her name was Patty , but I can’t recall for certain. The navigator was from Pennsylvania  and was the only survivor of that crew. [Frank circled this section and noted: Ray Sherer, Pittsburgh, PA]
They left Ardmore on the 26th of June in 1944 , flew to Kearney, Nebraska, picked up the Tremblin Gremlin , and flew it to England via Iceland. On August 4th they flew their first mission. Marv wrote me, “Your pappy’s a veteran now…”
On the mission flown the next day, Marv was fatally wounded and died in a hospital of chest wounds. He is buried in Cambridge, England. I have seen several of his student classmates’ names on the Wall of the Missing at the cemetery there. The crew’s plane was blown up on a subsequent mission and all of the crew but the navigator, who was not aboard, perished .
I treasure the 8th AF News Magazine. I wear Marv’s wedding ring, proudly. I remember it all and read your magazine eagerly, knowing that so many might share my story.
Marilyn A. Fryden-Samet
Cary, North Carolina
Memorial Day, 2005
Postscript: I am a member of the 8th AF Historical Society Chapter here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am also a Gold Star wife. Although over sixty years have passed since those terrible war years, I am still deeply affected by the tragedy which shaped my life. Sometimes, I can’t read the articles in the magazine because they touch me so specially. I hope that I will be notified when renewal times comes for my subscription.
Keep up your wonderful work … even as those of us who remember are passing into the other world.
 Pilot John Buslee was from Park Ridge, Illinois
 Co-pilot was David Albrecht. His and his wife Patricia (Patty’s) daughter was not born until December 1944, after he was declared MIA. He did not have an infant daughter before leaving the States.
 Buslee crew navigator Chester Rybarczyk was from Toledo, Ohio. The navigator on Frank Furiga’s crew was named Raymond Scherer and was from Pittsburgh, PA.
 The officers of the Buslee crew may have flown to Kearney on June 26, 1944, but the enlisted men were already in Kearney as of this date, likely having traveled by train. I know this because my father wrote a letter home from Kearney on June 25.
 The name of the B-17 that the Buslee crew ferried to the ETO is unknown. The B-17 in which Marvin Fryden received a fatal flak injury on August 5 was named the Tremblin’ Gremlin. Marilyn may have assumed that the B-17 the Buslee crew ferried across the Atlantic was the same B-17 in which her husband was killed, but it was not the same ship.
 The Buslee crew’s aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision on September 28, 1944. Of the nine crew members aboard, only five of them were original Buslee crew members: John Buslee (pilot), David Albrecht (co-pilot), Lenard Bryant (waist gunner turned engineer/top turret gunner), Sebastiano Peluso (radio operator), and George Edwin Farrar (waist gunner, my dad). My dad was the only survivor on the plane. Other original Buslee crew members who survived the war because they were not on Buslee’s plane on September 28, 1944 were Chester Rybarczyk (navigator), James Davis (permanent replacement bombardier), Clarence Seeley (engineer/top turret gunner), Erwin Foster (ball turret gunner), and Eugene Lucynski (tail gunner).
There were also a few discrepancies in the included crew photo identifications and I have noted those in the photo caption,
My dad, George Edwin Farrar, is not in the crew photo and neither was Eugene Lucynski, and possibly Lenard Bryant.
Thank you again, Paul Furiga, for sharing these pieces of history with me.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2021
Davis or Fryden?
The John Buslee crew’s original bombardier was Marvin Fryden. Fryden was killed on his second mission on August 5, 1944 by a burst of flak aboard Tremblin’ Gremlin. James Davis replaced Fryden as the Buslee crew’s bombardier. In the original Buslee crew photo that I have, the man standing on the far right is identified as James Davis. I have always questioned the accuracy of that identification. I have always believed that the bombardier in the photo is Fryden.
On my visit to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis last October, I found a picture of James Buford Davis in uniform.
I feel more certain now that the photo of the Buslee crew actually includes Marvin Fryden rather than Davis.
Agree or disagree? I would love some feedback.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017
Buslee Crew Photo – A Deeper Look, Continued
In a continuation of last week’s post, I’m taking a deeper look at the Buslee crew photo.
Last week, I explored my dilemma with the identification of the bombardier in the photo, Marvin Fryden or James Davis. I won’t spend any more time on that matter, except that although I could not find a photo of Marvin Fryden, I did find one of his younger sister, Florence.
Five and a half years younger than Marvin, Florence was a member of Chicago’s Sullivan High School class of 1944. According to the caption on her yearbook photo, she loved French fried potatoes and nail polish and her future plans were to attend college. I don’t see any family resemblance to the bombardier in the Buslee crew photo, but of course that’s not a definitive reason to make an identification one way or the other.
Moving on to another member of the Buslee crew, I had always wondered about Eugene Lucynski, the crew’s tail gunner. Lucynski flew fourteen missions with the 384th Bomb Group. His first twelve missions were as tail gunner with the Buslee crew, the twelth being on September 11, 1944.
Two days later, on September 13, Buslee flew as pilot with Commander William A. Fairfield, Jr. as the high group lead. The only other Buslee crew members on that flight were Lenard Bryant as engineer/top turret gunner and George Farrar as waist gunner. After that, the Buslee crew did not fly together again until September 25.
In the meantime, Eugene Lucynski flew two missions with the Joe Carnes crew, the first on September 17 and the second on September 19. It was the September 19 mission where he ran into trouble. The target was the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. The crew was flying the fort named The Tremblin’ Gremlin. They were flying spare, but joined the formation.
Just before the IP, the initial point of the bomb run, they were struck by flak. They continued to the target, dropped their bombs, and then left the formation, appearing under control. However, the crew had to bail out over Binche, Belgium, landing in allied territory. All of the crew returned to duty except for the ball turret gunner, James Bernard King, Jr., and tail gunner Eugene Lucynski, both of whom were seriously wounded.
Lucynski was wounded by flak, specifically with multiple lacerations of his right hand and left wrist. He was hospitalized from September 19 to November 10, 1944. I know these facts because again, 384th Bomb Group combat data specialist Keith Ellefson found the document for me. Thank you again, Keith.
Keith also alerted me to this picture of Lucynski receiving the Purple Heart for his wounds suffered on that September 19 mission. That’s him kneeling, far right, in the photo.
Lucynski’s wounds kept him off the Buslee crew on the September 28 mission in which their fort Lead Banana was involved in a mid-air collision with the Brodie crew’s Lazy Daisy. In the hospital until November 10, when did Lucynski discover the loss of his original crew? When he did return to Grafton Underwood, he did not fly again, but probably remained there until the end of the war as part of the ground crew. I can’t help but notice that a couple of the men in the above photo are smiling, but it doesn’t look like Lucynski had anything to smile about on that day. He and everyone else were still wondering about the fate of the Buslee crew.
Lucynski’s Individual Sortie Record shows that in addition to an air medal and oak leaf cluster, a penciled in date of June 4, 1945 for recommendation for the Distinguished Flying Cross for extra achievement. I have no record that it was ever awarded.
Note: I have found some new information on Eugene Lucynski since I first wrote about him on March 25, 2015. (You can read that post here).
Eugene was born on December 22, 1919. His middle name was Daniel. He enlisted in WWII on June 23, 1942. He was released from the service on October 30, 1945. He died in Flint, Michigan on April 14, 1981. It seems that after the service, he shortened his last name to Lucyn.
Thank you again, Keith Ellefson, for your help.
Photos courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016
Buslee Crew Photo – A Deeper Look
This photo of my dad’s (George Edwin Farrar) crew in WWII still confuses me. Is the navigator in the photo really James Davis, or is it Marvin Fryden? If it is Fryden, does the photo look like it was taken in the states before the crew shipped overseas? If it is Davis, it must be Grafton Underwood.
I sent the photo to Keith Ellefson, a researcher and combat data specialist with the 384th Bomb Group. Keith pointed out several things in the photo to me that I did not see.
Look at the far background on the right side of the picture. It looks like a tree line to me. Than would be consistent with GU. Most of the stateside crew training bases were on large airfields with nary a tree or fence in sight. Looking at the background over Foster’s head, it looks to me like a fence line with some sort of grass or vines on it. Again, GU and probably not stateside. Also, on the far left side over the tire I think I see the slope of a squad tent roof. If it is a tent, it is probably the crew chief’s lair next to the hardstand. I understand nearly every crew had some sort of shelter near the hardstand for warming, storage, naps, etc.
Keith annotated the photo pointing out a couple of items.
- Looks like SGT Foster must have had a combat tour previous to this photo being taken.
- Those are training qualification badges on the sleeves of two of the enlisted men.
- All of the men in the photo are wearing wings but only Foster has any kind of awards being displayed.
- I see two different unit patches. Davis (or Fryden) and Lucynski are wearing the 8th AF patch. Your dad (Farrar) and Seeley have the generic AF patch.
- Two of the officers, Buslee and Rybarczyk also seem to have the generic AF patch.
- Three of the enlisted guys appear to have no unit patch.
- Then we get to the enlisted ranks, or lack of rank, on their uniforms. On the assignment orders, Lucynski was a SSG. Your dad, Seeley and Peluso were SGTs. Foster and Bryant were Corporals.
- Peluso, Foster and Seeley are ’slicksleeves’ (Old army slang for no rank displayed). I don’t know what to make of this. Usually the guys would be immensely proud of their ranks and wouldn’t be caught without them. If it was just one of them, I could think that the guy had been reduced in rank. That was not uncommon back in the day. I don’t recall seeing any of these names being reduced in rank on any special orders.
- [I commented that perhaps some of the jackets were borrowed. Keith replied that it was a possibility.] Every soldier was issued a ‘Class A’ uniform but …. Five of them (Bryant, Foster, Seeley, Farrar, and Peluso) were promoted to Staff Sergeant on 9 September 1944, SO #180, 9 SEP 44. Maybe the three ‘slicksleeves’ had their jackets out for rank change and borrowed the jackets for the picture.
- Also, talking about ranks, Foster, who had a previous tour, would normally be at least a Sergeant and more likely a Staff Sergeant. I suspect he had been reduced to Corporal prior to being assigned to this crew.
- Fryden is a 1st LT in the assignment orders. The other three officers are 2nd LTs. Fryden may have had several months or more service in the states, maybe as an instructor, prior to being assigned to this crew. I think there was something like a 6 month to one year time between 2nd LT and 1st LT. He wouldn’t have been promoted before the pilot would be promoted if they both had the same length of time in service.
- Foster and Bryant were promoted to SGT on SO #158, 6 August 1944. Since Bryant is wearing SGT stripes in the photo, I think this dates the photo to sometime after 6 August 1944, putting Davis in the picture.
Marilyn Fryden, Marvin’s wife, wrote about Marvin in a post to the 384th Bomb Group’s web site in 2007. Her comments support that he had been an instructor in the states for some time before being assigned to the Buslee crew. Marilyn wrote:
He had been commissioned and assigned as an instructor in the states. We had almost 2 years together. As he constantly said he was not doing his part, he finally requested combat duty and was assigned to the Gremlin with John Buslee, Dick Albrecht and other crew members.
Marvin and Marilyn had married October 8, 1942 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a wedding announcement, her parents noted that:
Lieutenant Fryden was appointed instructor at the Albuquerque Air Base and will continue to re-side there with his bride.
After Keith’s analysis, I still question whether the photo includes Davis or Fryden. The back of the photo identifies the navigator as Davis and I believe the identification was provided by the pilot’s father. In a letter to my grandmother dated November 27, 1944, Mr. Buslee wrote:
Early in September we received a snapshot showing the crew members and the plane. The boys all looked fine and seemed to be in the same high spirit that they enjoyed when we met them in Ardmore.
This comment indicates that Mr. Buslee would have been able to recognize the bombardier since he had met the entire crew. Mr. Buslee offered to send a copy of the photo to my grandmother if she did not have one. My grandmother, Raleigh May Farrar, must have responded to Mr. Buslee that she did indeed have a copy of the picture. He wrote back on December 16, 1944.
I note that you have a crew picture and thinking that you may not know who they are I am sending a list of names in the event that this will interest you. To look at that group one can well understand what I mean when I say the youth are wonderful. To my mind that is as fine an assortment of manhood as one could find anywhere and I count it a privilege that my son is among so fine a crew. Yes I had the good fortune to meet all of them in Ardmore last June and I trust it will be my pleasure to again meet all of them and more that this may be real soon.
Mr. Buslee’s list of names:
Mr. Buslee would not have met James Davis in Ardmore, Oklahoma. At that time, he was not part of the Buslee crew. Marvin Fryden trained with the crew in Ardmore.
Mr. Buslee would also have already known of Marvin Fryden’s death on August 5, 1944. The Buslees and the Frydens both lived in the Chicago area, the Buslees in the Park Ridge area. The Park Ridge Advocate published an article on September 1, 1944 about the crew’s August 5 mission in which Fryden died. Mr. Buslee must have read the article by the time he wrote my grandmother.
Although mortally wounded, the bombardier of a B17 Flying Fortress calmly reported his injury to his pilot and then released his bombs on the target in a remarkable exhibition of sheer courage and presence of mind during a recent American heavy bomber attack over Germany.
The bombardier, 1st Lt. Marvin Fryden, 23, 6719 North Lakewood, Chicago, died later in an army hospital after his bomber, the “Tremblin’ Gremlin,” had reached England with only two of its four engines functioning, its fuselage riddled with more than 100 flak holes and with more than half of its crew wounded.
If the photo includes Fryden, it must have been taken before the August 5, 1944 mission on which Fryden was killed. On that same mission, Seeley was seriously wounded. Davis started flying with the crew on August 9, 1944. Since Seeley was seriously wounded on the August 5 mission, would he have been able to appear in a crew photo after that mission? He wasn’t able to fly again until October 2, 1944, four days after the Buslee crew was lost on the mission to Magdeburg on September 28.
I have not been able to locate any other photos of Marvin Fryden, but I did find a school yearbook photo of James Davis. Putting the photo in question and the photo of Davis side by side, I’m still not certain of the identification. What do you think? Is the man on the left Fryden or Davis?
Enough for today. I have a little more info to add on a couple of the other Buslee crew members, but will hold off for next week. I think this is enough to digest today.
If anyone has a photo of Marvin Fryden (the family spelled the name Frydyn, but Marvin enlisted as Fryden), please contact me. Either comment on this post or e-mail me. Also, if anyone is good at photo analysis, please help me decide – Fryden or Davis?
Thank you, Keith Ellefson, for taking an in-depth look at this photo and providing me with so much information.
Photos courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016
The Family of Marvin Fryden
Marvin Fryden was the original bombardier of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 384th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force. On August 5, 1944, on his second mission as bombardier with the Buslee crew of the 384th Bomb Group, Marvin was mortally wounded. To read more about that mission, click here.
A little research into Ancestry.com turned up some information on his family, but not anything new about Marvin himself.
Marvin’s parents were Harry and Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn. The Frydyn’s were Jewish. They were originally from Radom which was considered part of Poland or Russia, depending on the year. Radom is located about sixty miles south of Warsaw. Both Harry and Sylvia’s parents were also from the same area. (See note below).
Harry Frydyn was born on February 15, 1889 in Radom. According to US Naturalization Records, he immigrated to the United States from Russia on November 13, 1907 around the age of 18.
The 1910 census recorded Harry as “Harry Freiden,” from Russia Pol, with both parents from Russia Pol. It confirms that Harry immigrated in 1907. His native tongue was Polish. He was a presser in a tailor shop. At the time, he would have been twenty-one years old and was a boarder living with Jake and Eva Dekalsky. His age and residential status as a border leads me to believe that he immigrated to America without his parents, but I find no documentation to support the theory. [The 1910 census instructed: if foreign born, give country.]
On March 5, 1914, according to Harry’s immigration and naturalization record, he became a naturalized citizen.
Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn was born in 1898 in Bialastok, Poland. She immigrated to the United States in either 1910 (according to the 1920 census) or 1914 (according to the 1930 census).
On June 5, 1917, Harry registered for the WWI draft. He would have been twenty-eight years old. His draft registration card shows he lived at 2343 W. Iowa St., Chicago. He was a naturalized citizen from Radom, Russia. He was a presser for S. Shapiro at 1315 Milwaukee Avenue. He was Jewish and single. He noted that he had no previous military service. He claimed an exemption from the draft due to defective eyes. He described himself as 5’8″, of slender build, brown eyes, brown hair, and slightly bald. I see no record of Harry having served in WWI.
Harry and Sylvia were married on December 8, 1919 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
The 1920 census recorded Harry and Sylvia “Frydyn” living at 3238 Augusta Street, Chicago, Ward 15 as borders of David and Rose Rosenberg and their son Jerome. Although the record states that the Rosenbergs immigrated in 1907, it states that Harry and Sylvia both immigrated in 1910, Harry was naturalized in 1916, and Sylvia in 1919. It shows both Harry and Sylvia’s birthplace as Russia and native tongue as Yiddish, and the same for both sets of their parents. Harry was a tailor in a tailor shop. David Rosenberg was also a tailor. [The 1920 census instructed: if foreign born, give the place of birth and, in addition, the mother tongue.]
Harry and Sylvia had three children in the 1920’s. Their first child, Marvin, was born on January 8, 1921 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. On May 20 or 21, 1925, they were blessed with a second son, Marshall. But sadly Marshall only lived to the age of five and a half months, dying on November 4, 1925. The next year, the Frydyn’s third child came along. Florence was born on October 16, 1926.
The 1930 census recorded Harry (39), Sylvia (31), Marvin (9) and Florence (3) renting a home at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Living with them was Sylvia’s sister Lilly (25). The census noted that both Harry and Sylvia were from Poland and both sets of their parents were from Poland. Their native language was Jewish. It states Harry immigrated in 1910 and Sylvia immigrated in 1914. Harry was a tailor in a clothing factory. Lilly was an operator in a clothing factory. Lilly had immigrated to the U.S. in 1927. Sylvia did not work outside the home. [The 1930 census instructed: if foreign born, give country in which birthplace is now situated.]
The 1940 census recorded the Frydyn family still residing at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue in Chicago. Harry (50) worked as a dress presser for a dress company. Sylvia (42) did not work outside the home. Marvin (19) worked as a salesman at Hyraces Silk Manufacturers and had had one year of college. Florence (13) was a student. The 1940 census record also states that Harry and Sylvia were both born in Poland. [The 1940 census instructed: if foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937.]
On January 13, 1942, Marvin enlisted in the Army Air Corps. An aviation cadet, his enlistment record shows that he had completed two years of college, was 5’9″ tall, weighed 126 pounds, worked as a laboratory technician or assistant, and was single with no dependents. His enlistment record spells his name “Fryden,” although only two years earlier, he was listed on the 1940 census as “Frydyn.”
In 1942, Harry also had to register for the WWII draft. His registration card shows he was born in Radom, Poland and lived at 6719 Lakewood, Chicago, Cook Co., Illinois. He worked for Johara, Inc. at 325 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
Sometime in 1942, Marvin married Marilyn Ash. Marilyn was born on October 26, 1925. Their marriage license states that Marilyn was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and that she and Marvin married in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Marvin would have been twenty-one years old, but Marilyn would have only been about sixteen or seventeen when they married. Although she stated that she was born in Albuquerque, records on Ancestry.com lead me to believe that it’s possible that Marilyn was born and raised in the Chicago area, which would indicate that Marvin and Marilyn knew each other before he entered the service. Marvin and Marilyn had had only two years of married life together when Marvin died on August 5, 1944. At the time of Marvin’s death, Marilyn was only eighteen years old. You can read more about Marilyn and her love for Marvin here.
Marvin Fryden is buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridge, England, Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4. He earned a purple heart, American Campaign Medal, and WWII Victory Medal.
Marvin’s mother, Sylvia, died on July 8, 1952, and his father, Harry, died in January 1967. Marvin’s wife, Marilyn – who had remarried and whose last name had become Samet – died on November 7, 2013 in Cary, North Carolina.
Correction: Marvin Fryden did not have a middle name/initial. I originally thought he had a middle initial of “B” and have recorded his name improperly in the past. I am correcting the error here, but may not be able to make the change in all places, for example in his Category Name.
Note: I hope to delve a little deeper into the history of Radom with some more research and make it the subject of next week’s post. Update: I will cover Radom the week after Thanksgiving. Update 2: Researching the history of Radom is more complicated than I anticipated. I’ll have to put off that post until I have more time to cover the subject properly.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015
More Information About James B. Davis
I previously wrote about James B. Davis, the second bombardier of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squad of the 384th Bomb Group stationed at Grafton Underwood Airfield in England. Click here for the previous article.
I have found some more information about him before and after his WWII years that I’d like to share.
James Buford Davis was born on October 5, 1921 in New Castle, Henry County, Indiana to Charles Raymond (1891 – 1986) and Bessie “Bess” Millican (1893 – 1981) Davis. Charles Raymond, who went by the name “Ray,” named his son after his own father. He and Bess lived in Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky in 1920 and he was a farmer. But by the time son James was born, the family had moved to Indiana.
In 1930, the Davis family lived at 356 South 14th Street in the Fifth Ward of New Castle, Henry County, Indiana. Ray was thirty-nine years old and Bess was thirty-six. Ray had been born in Kentucky and both of his parents were from Kentucky. Bess was born in Indiana. Her father was from Indiana and her mother was from Kentucky. James was eight years old at the time of the 1930 census. He had a younger brother Charles R., age five, and a younger sister Evelyn Joy, age four. Ray was employed as a commercial paint salesman.
In 1940, the family had moved to 1216 Woodlawn Drive, but still lived in New Castle. Ray was still working as a salesman for a paint company. James was now eighteen years old, and had another brother Neel D. Davis, who was nine.
James graduated from New Castle Chrysler High School with the Class of 1940. The school’s Rosennial Yearbook of 1940 pictured James with the caption “Hi-Y Student Manager.”
The code of the sixty Hi-Y boys of New Castle High School was “clean speech, clean living, and clean scholarship.” All boys of good character who desired membership were eligible to join.
After high school, James attended college for two years before enlisting in the Air Corps on July 21, 1942 at Bowman Field, Louisville, Kentucky. As I’ve covered James’s WWII career here, I won’t cover it again. While serving with the 384th Bomb Group, James received 3 bronze stars, an Air medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, and a presidential citation.
After the war, James graduated from Purdue University. He married Joan McShirley on August 21, 1948. They had one son, Sean (1951 – 1967). At one time James owned Express Auto Supply in Hobart, Indiana and later co-owned a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in New Castle, Indiana.
James B. Davis, 88 of Indianapolis died December 20, 2009.
Note: Now that I have found a photo of James B. Davis, I am trying to determine if the bombardier in the Buslee crew photo is the original bombardier Marvin Fryden or replacement bombardier James B. Davis. What do you think? Is the man standing on the far right Fryden (who I don’t have a picture of) or Davis?
Update, February 2023: Since my original post, I have determined that this Buslee crew photo does indeed include James Buford Davis rather than Marvin Fryden standing on the far right of the back row.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015
Marvin Fryden was the original bombardier of the John Oliver (Jay) Buslee crew. He trained alongside his other Buslee crewmates in Ardmore, Oklahoma before the crew transferred to the ETO, being stationed with the 384th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force in Grafton Underwood, England.
On August 5, 1944, on only his second mission with the 544th Bomb Squad, Marvin was hit in the chest by a fragment of a shell at the start of the bomb run of Mission 173 to a Luftwaffe controlling station in Langenhagen, Germany. He was able to press the bomb release and completed his task of getting his bombs on the target before collapsing. Marvin and the rest of the crew made it back to England in their flying fortress, Tremblin’ Gremlin, on only two engines and riddled with over 100 flak holes, but Marvin was mortally wounded. He died later in an army hospital with his friend and crewmate, navigator Chester Rybarczyk, by his side, holding his friend in his last moments.
Marvin Fryden was a married man. He had married the former Marilyn Ash on October 8, 1942 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time, he was a bombardier instructor at the Albuquerque Air Base.
On November 18, 2007, almost sixty-three years after Marvin died, Marilyn Ash Fryden, now Marilyn Samet, posted a request on the 384th Bomb Group’s web site Log Book. It is still there today in the Log Book archives. It reads:
My husband, 1st Lt. Marvin Fryden was on his second mission as bombardier aboard the Tremblin Gremlin when he was fatally wounded, remaining conscious only to drop his bombs over Langenhagen..(544th) He had been commissioned and assigned as an instructor in the states. We had almost 2 years together as he constantly said he was not doing his part, He finally requested combat duty and was assigned to the Gremlin with John Buslee, Dick Albrecht and other crew members. He was gone from me less than six weeks when he was killed. I have contacted a lot of old friends..but would love knowing more about Dick Albrecht’s wife, Patty, and the baby girl they had with them in Ardmore Ok. They were from Chico, Ca.
Another six years went by and on October 17, 2013, Marilyn again posted to the 384th’s Log Book. Marilyn must have had some difficulty typing her message, and I have edited it only to be easier to read. This original message, too, is still in the 384th’s Log Book archives and can be accessed at www.384thbombgroup.com under the Resources menu heading.
My husband, 1st Lt Marvin Fryden, left his Bombardier Training in Deming, NM because he felt needed in combat. Left me to fly the Tremblin’ Gremlin over the pond at the end of July 1944. Fatally wounded on second mission. Buried in Maddingly in Cambridge. I am 88, still loving my first love. Ready to leave this world and reunite with my love in England. Only one survivor of the Tremblin Gremlin. He died in Akron as a fireman saving someone from a fire. Will say more later.
Marilyn was mistaken about the lone survivor of the Buslee crew in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision. The lone survivor was my dad, George Edwin Farrar. The firefighter she refers to was Chester Rybarczyk, who was not with the Buslee crew on September 28, 1944 and completed his tour with the 384th. Chester, the same man who held her husband as he lay dying in 1944, died fighting a fire in Toledo in 1967.
Three days later, on October 20, 2013, Marilyn posted her final message to the 384th Log Book (again, I have edited).
I am inspired by so many still remembering. My husband Lt Marvin Fryden was a Bombardier Trainer in Deming NM, but on D-Day he woke up and said, “I should be over there.” He requested combat duty, trained with crew on a B-17, and left me on June 23rd. I went home. He flew his first mission on 8/4/44. Next day he was fatally wounded and is buried at Maddingly. All of the crew were killed on another mission except the navigator who lived to become a firefighter in Toledo and died trying to save someone in a fire.
Two and a half weeks later, on November 7, 2013 Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet passed away after a long illness. She was 88 years old. Marilyn willed her remains to the Duke Medical School and asked that no service be held, feeling that “good memories make enough of a memorial.”
I did not discover Marilyn’s posts until November 17, 2013. Not knowing that she had died ten days previously, I e-mailed her, but of course, I was too late. I was not to discover until early in 2014 that Marilyn had left this world. I can only hope that she got her wish and has reunited with Marvin in England. Perhaps their ghosts roam the grounds of the old Grafton Underwood airfield together. Someday when I get a chance to visit that place, I will stand silent and listen. With the rumble of the B-17 engines long gone, I may be able to hear their happy laughter at being together again forever.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014