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First Details from Army Air Forces

George Edwin Farrar and the other boys aboard the Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy have now been missing for seventy-two days.  The only official communications the families have received have been a letter from the 384th Bombardment Group Chaplain, Dayle R. Schnelle on October 9, 1944, a telegram from Adjutant General Ulio on October 14, and a letter from Adjutant General Ulio on October 17.  All reported the same information – their sons were reported missing in action on September 28.

Finally, almost two months from the original communication, the families received the following letter providing the first details of September 28.  The details provided at this time were partially inaccurate.  Surprisingly, the letter informs the parents of the target location and time of day of the incident.  The report does not state the fact that their son’s bomber collided with another 384th bomber.  Also, neither of the bombers were reported to have sustained any anti-aircraft fire in any official reports of the mid-air collision.  This letter states otherwise.

December 8, 1944

Headquarters, Army Air Forces

Washington

Attention:  AFPPA-8

AAF 201 – (9753) Farrar, George E., 14119873

To:  Mrs. Raleigh Mae Farrar,
79 East Lake Terrace Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia.

Dear Mrs. Farrar:

I am writing to you with reference to your son, Staff Sergeant George E. Farrar, who was reported by the Adjutant General as missing in action over Germany since September 28.

Further information has been received indicating that Sergeant Farrar was a crew member of a B-17 (Flying Fortress) bomber which departed from England on a combat mission to Magdeburg, Germany, on September 28th.  The report indicates that during this mission at about 12:10 p.m. in the vicinity of the target, your son’s bomber sustained damage from enemy antiaircraft fire.  Shortly afterwards the disabled craft was observed to fall to the earth, and inasmuch as the crew members of accompanying planes were unable to obtain any further details regarding its loss, the above facts constitute all the information presently available.

Due to necessity for military security, it is regretted that the names of those who were in the plane and the names and addresses of their next of kin may not be furnished at the present time.

Please be assured that a continuing search by land, sea, and air is being made to discover the whereabouts of our missing personnel.  As our armies advance over enemy occupied territory, special troops are assigned to this task, and all agencies of the government in every country are constantly sending in details which aid us in bringing additional information to you.

Very sincerely,

E. A. Bradunas,
Major A. G. D.,
Chief, Notification Branch,
Personnel Affairs Division,
Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Personnel.

December 8, 1944 was an important date for another reason back in the states for the wife of one of the Buslee crew members.  The co-pilot’s wife, Patricia, gave birth that day to her and David Franklin Albrecht’s baby.  With her husband now missing in action for seventy-two days, this day must have been bittersweet for Mrs. Albrecht.   As she welcomed her daughter into the world, her thoughts must have been on her husband and that someday he would be home to meet his child.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

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