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I’m Not All Here

Lenard Leroy Bryant’s wife, Maudene, wrote to Mrs. Farrar a couple weeks later.  It was hard to keep things straight in her mind when her mind was so filled with thoughts of her husband.  Lenard had been the top turret gunner on Lead Banana on September 28, 1944.  Maudene had received news that Lenard had been killed that day, and if she were to believe the news, had to plan for a life without him.

June 25, 1945
Lubbock, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

Just a note to let you know I am so glad George has been liberated & will be so glad when he gets home. Sometimes I think I’m not all here. I can’t remember if I answered your last letter or not. Ha.

I don’t know what folks will do here. We haven’t had a rain this year.

Three more months I will be out of school then I will have a good job.

I wish it were possible for George to make a trip out here.

I am sending a picture of Lenard.

Write soon.

As Ever,
Maudene Bryant

Lenard Leroy Bryant

Lenard Leroy Bryant

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

 

Life Goes On

Lenard Leroy Bryant’s wife, Ruby Maudene, may not have completely given up hope of her husband returning from war, but she decided that it was time to move forward in life again.  She explained her plans in a letter to my grandmother very near the end of the war in Europe.

April 29, 1945
Lubbock, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

May I once again write you a few lines, I didn’t intend to let so much time past but it has.

I do so hope you are still hearing from George and maybe he has been freed by now. The news sounds good now doesn’t it?

I am now going to a cosmetology school so have been busy – at least it has kept my mind busy & that’s what I need. I still can’t believe all the boys are gone. I’ll be so glad when it’s over so all the boys can come home & we all know the truth.

Mrs. Farrar, let me hear from you often & please don’t wait on me – I so slow at writing.

As Ever,
Maudene Bryant

P.S. I am going to school in Lubbock.

Ruby Maudene Bryant wrote the letter on a Sunday – April 29, 1945.  She probably mailed it on Monday, April 30.  Two days later – Wednesday, May 2, 1945 – George Edwin Farrar and the other P.O.W.s he was marching with were liberated.  Since being forced to march out of Stalag Luft IV on February 6, they had been marching for eighty-six days.  I don’t know what day my grandmother received Mrs. Bryant’s letter, but by the time she received it Maudene’s wish for him to be freed had come true.

Lenard Leroy Bryant was the top turret gunner for the Buslee crew aboard Lead Banana on September 28, 1944 when Lazy Daisy collided with it coming off the target at Magdeburg.  Bryant had been reported killed in action in the collision.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Sad News for Mrs. Bryant

Four of the John Buslee Crew, left to right, George Edwin Farrar (waist gunner), Lenard Leroy Bryant (engineer/top turret gunner), Erwin V. Foster (ball turret gunner), and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso (radio operator/gunner)

Four of the John Buslee Crew, left to right, George Edwin Farrar (waist gunner), Lenard Leroy Bryant (engineer/top turret gunner), Erwin V. Foster (ball turret gunner), and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso (radio operator/gunner)

Lenard Bryant’s wife, Maudene, probably received the sad news about the same time as the Buslees.  She wrote to Raleigh Mae Farrar on February 2, 1945 to share the news.

February 2, 1945
Littlefield, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

I have at last heard from the War Department.

Thru the Inter. Red Cross my husband has been reported killed in action on the 28th of Sept.

I just can’t believe it and won’t until the last minute. I am so glad you have heard from George and if he ever gets back I hope he can tell what did happen.

But I can’t feel that my husband is gone.

I hope and pray that the others will hear as you did.

I hope to hear from you soon.

As Ever,
Mrs. Ruby M. Bryant

Like the others receiving the news that their loved ones were killed in the mid-air collision between the Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy on September 28, 1944, Maudene Bryant could not believe that it was true.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Letter from Mrs. Bryant

Maudene and Lenard Bryant, March 1944

Maudene and Lenard Bryant, March 1944

On January 5, 1945, Lenard Leroy Bryant’s wife, Maudene, wrote to George Edwin Farrar’s mother, Raleigh Mae.  Maudene was writing in response to a letter she had just received from Mrs. Farrar.  Lenard and George (Ed) had both been on Lead Banana on September 28, 1944 when it collided with Lazy Daisy over Magdeburg, Germany.  Raleigh Mae Farrar had received news just six days earlier that her son was a prisoner of war.  Maudene Bryant had still not heard any news about her husband except that he was missing in action.

WWII-001

Photo:  Lenard Bryant on the left, location may be Grafton Underwood

January 5, 1945
Littlefield, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

Received your letter this noon.  Am so glad for you that George is a prisoner.

I had the pleasure of meeting your son in Ardmore, Okla. and it seems as tho they were all brothers, the boys were so close to one another.

Only five of our old crew went down, the others are in England.

I haven’t as yet heard from the War Dept. – but when I do I pray for the best – and I for one hold out for the best.  I think I would have known if Lenard (my husband) was dead.

I just wonder now how close to Magdeburg the boys will be kept.  Mrs. Henson has my deepest sympathy.

I am in hopes of hearing from you again.

As Ever
Maudene Bryant
Littlefield, Texas
Rt. 2

Maudene had apparently heard that William Alvin Henson II, the crew’s navigator, had been declared killed in action.  Not hearing anything about her husband, Lenard, gave her hope that he was still alive.  She must have known the names of all of the boys on the original Buslee crew and realized, after reviewing the next-of-kin list, that only five of them were on the Lead Banana when it went down.

The five original members were:

  • John Oliver Buslee, pilot
  • David Franklin Albrecht, co-pilot
  • Sebastian Joseph Peluso, radio operator/gunner
  • Lenard Leroy Bryant, engineer/top turret gunner (Maudene’s husband)
  • George Edwin Farrar, waist/flexible gunner (my dad)

As she states that the other members of the crew were in England, Maudene may not have been aware that original bombardier, Marvin B. Fryden, had lost his life on August 5, 1944 on the Buslee crew’s second mission.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014