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The Other Crew
Normally, Mr. Buslee was the letter writer of the Buslee family, but today John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother took the time to write to George Edwin Farrar’s mother.
April 9, 1945
Park Ridge, Ill.
My Dear Mrs. Farrar: –
We have received your letter telling of the good news of hearing from your son, George, it is, and must be wonderful for you to know he is alive and well, at least I imagine that’s all he could say or they wouldn’t pass it if he would say he was ill or hungry which I’m sure he is. I understand all prisoners would really be in a bad way if it weren’t for the Red Cross. I hear each fellow gets certain rations from them each week which should help a little, altho, their life must be almost unbearable there in those camps.
Just a day or so before we received your letter I noticed in one of our papers where a boy who was a prisoner in Stalag Luft 4 B – Germany had notified his people he’d be released, so we are in hopes your son is also free again. We are so happy to know that George at least is alive and that he may some day be able to tell us all about the rest of the crew. Isn’t it strange the nothing has been heard of the other two boys?
We have never had a word from the McManns altho Mr. Buslee has written them several times, the Peluso’s have promised to let us hear as soon as they hear anything, and the family of Lt. Brody who was the other pilot haven’t heard any other news than missing, either, and according to some of the other eye witnesses he was in the most dangerous spot, so you see we never can tell so we hear are still hopeful because each day we see where someone who had been reported killed has been found to be alive. I do hope our prayers will be repaid with good news soon.
We are so sorry to hear your other son is ill in the hospital, please let us hear how he is, we are very much interested in you and your family. Hope good luck follows your son in China, and that you will continue to hear good news of George often. Wish we could get something to him to lighten his burden in camp. Mr. Buslee has written him, it must have been a terrible blow to him to have them tell him all his crew were gone – but we heard tell that the Germans like to break down the hopes of the boys by telling them all sorts of lies.
We hear the Henson’s are enjoying a trip to Florida, they seem to be such grand folks, nice that you live so close to each other in Atlanta.
We have had such nice letters from so many of the wives and mothers of the boys and we do appreciate them so much.
We hope you and Mr. Farrar are in perfect health and try to keep up your spirits until your sons come home again and thank you so much for all your kindnesses, and write again soon.
Mrs. John Buslee
Lots of interesting information for me in this letter. From this one letter I have learned:
How uninformed the folks back home were about conditions in Germany. Most of the boys were out on the road marching, not sitting in a prison camp. They weren’t receiving those Red Cross rations either. Most of the boys were slowing starving to death. Don’t know how or what kept them going.
- Mrs. Buslee must have meant Sebastiano Peluso of the Buslee crew and James Brodie of the Brodie crew as the “other two boys.” From reviewing letters, I believe all of the Buslee crew next-of-kin except the Pelusos had heard word of their sons.
- I don’t have any letters from the McManns, and apparently other familes had not heard from them either.
- The families did know the identity of at least the pilot of the other crew as Mrs. Buslee references Lt. Brody (meaning James Brodie). This is the most interesting piece of information in this letter to me. It does let me know that the families knew that their boys were involved in a mid-air collision that involved two flying fortresses and did know about the other crew.
- My Uncle Bob, George Edwin Farrar’s (my dad) younger brother, who was injured in a kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in November 1944 must have still been hospitalized.
- My Uncle Carroll, Dad’s older brother, was still serving in China.
- The Hensons were the parents of the crew’s navigator, William Alvin Henson II. Mrs. Buslee may also have been including Henson’s wife and infant daughter.
- “Mr. Farrar”, my dad’s father, was not in good health. He was bedridden and very ill and the family hoped he would live long enough to see the three of his four sons that were in WWII come home from the war.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014