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Coming Home

George Edwin Farrar had written a letter to his mother on June 29 that he was leaving England that night and heading for the states.  He was to travel on a very small ship and he expected a slow crossing.  His Separation Qualification Record notes, however, that he departed Europe on July 2, 1945 and arrived in the US on July 17.  I have no record of his first or subsequent stops in the US on his way back home to Atlanta, Georgia.

On July 21, his mother received a telegram from Washington.


The telegram read:

The Chief of Staff of the Army directs me to inform you your son S/Sgt. Farrar George E. is being returned to the United States in the near future and will be given an opportunity to communicate with you upon arrival.

Witsell Acting the Adjutant General

If Farrar’s separation record is correct, he had been back in the states for four days before the telegram was sent.  If he indeed was allowed to contact his family, presumably by telephone, what a happy call that must have been.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014


Chester Rybarczyk

Chester Anthony Rybarczyk

Chester Anthony Rybarczyk

Chester “Chet” Rybarczyk had finished his tour with the 384th and returned to the states.  He wanted to talk to George Edwin Farrar, his crewmate on the John Oliver Buslee crew after learning that Farrar was on his way home from the war.  Rybarczyk was fortunate to have not been on Lead Banana with the Buslee crew on September 28, 1944.

July 15, 1945
Officers Mess – AAFNS – Hondo, Texas

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

With the war over in Germany, I was wondering if you had heard from George. Has he been home yet? I’m anxious to hear from him or of him. So if you will be kind enough to send me his address or send him mine.

I am the navigator from the crew. I have been in the States for some time now. I wrote to you once before if you can remember. I guess you could with a name like mine.

I really don’t have much more to say. I hope to hear something soon. Give my best to all.

Sincerely yours,
Lt. C. A. Rybarczyk 0720014
Br #3 H.A.A.F.
Hondo Tex

Thank you to Tony Rybarczyk, Chester’s son, for providing the photo above.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Faithful Correspondent

George Edwin Farrar’s mother, Raleigh Mae, sent her telephone number to the Buslees at their request.  They wished to speak to Farrar when he returned home from the war, and wanted to plan a visit to see him.

July 15, 1945
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Ill.

Mrs. R. M. Farrar
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Mrs. Farrar;

Many thanks for your letter with your telephone number and to learn that you expected George to reach a spot so near to Atlanta must have been very comforting word to you.

We have just received a letter from Miss Marbach and from it we understand that you have been in touch with her and the Peluso family. It does seem very strange that they are still without any definite word, however to us it seems that this is far better that the word the Hensons and we received. At least if one believes in the oft quoted term NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

Our son in law has just returned from the Admiralty Islands. He is a pilot in the Navy Air Transport so after a few days here he now reports to Olathe Kansas. So our daughter has left to be with him at that point.

George must have had many experiences that he will long remember and it is our prayer that he is now in the best of health and that he may in the future enjoy all of the best which he so richly deserves.

We do hope that the opportunity to visit with George will develop in the near future. Yes we are anxious to meet you as you have been such a faithful correspondent not only with us but with other families of the men who were on the ill fated plane.

To you and your family our sincere greetings, believe me when I say that in these days of worry you have lightened our load greatly.

Sincerely yours,
John Buslee

The Buslee’s son-in-law was Gene Kielhofer.  He was married to their daughter, Janice.

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee's sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Gene Kielhofer

John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Gene Kielhofer

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Gratitude and Sorrow

Sebastiano Peluso’s parents had last written to George Edwin Farrar’s mother on June 27, but they felt compelled to write again two weeks later.  They assumed her son, the only known survivor from the Lead Banana on September 28 the year before, had returned home from the war.  Farrar had still not returned to the United States.  The Pelusos were still anxiously waiting for any word about their boy.

July 11, 1945
Coney Island

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

I am the father of Sebastiano and I have no word to express my gratitude for the kind of sympathy and cooperation you have show regard my son. Only a mother could understand and consider the sorrow we have, and really I want to thank you for what you are doing for us.

First of all I want to congratulate you for George coming home, and I wish happiness and success to a courageous boy, which deserves respect and honor from his nation.

Now I wish only one favor from you. First, let George rest and relax, and when he feels better the only think I ask to him if could give me any news of his friend Sebastiano. What happen after the plane was hit. If he saw my son coming down with the parachute?

He could write me a letter and if he have something important to tell me I could come myself and speak him personally. Although the trip is long. If I hear good news from my boy, I am sure I will not feel the trip. Maybe we could call George on the telephone and he gives details of what he knows.

So if George decide to speak with us just let us the day is home and we call him. The best hour for us to call is from 8 to 10 p.m. Again I thank you in advance and hoping to hear from George. Regard and happiness to a wonderful mother.

Joseph Peluso
2963 W. 24 St.
Coney Island

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Sorrow or Comfort?

The day after James Joseph Brodie’s wife received the dreaded telegram informing her of her husband’s death, the Adjutant General followed up with a letter of confirmation.

War Department
The Adjutant General’s Office
Washington, D.C.

In reply refer to:
AG 201 Brodie, James J.
PC-N 186032

7 July 1945

Mrs. Mary E. Brodie
4436 North Kostner Avenue
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mrs. Brodie:

It is with deep regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your husband, First Lieutenant James J. Brodie, 01012086, Air Corps.

Your husband was reported missing in action since 28 September 1944 over Germany. It has now been officially established from reports received in the War Department that he was killed in action on 28 September 1944 over Magdeburg, Germany.

I know the sorrow this message has brought you and it is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic sacrifice in the service of his country may be of sustaining comfort to you.

I extend to you my deepest sympathy.

Sincerely yours,
Edward F. Witsell
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General of the Army

1 Inclosure
WD Pamphlet No. 20-15

Pamphlet 20-15 was a pamphlet outlining survivor benefits.

The telegram and confirming letter certainly brought sorrow to Mary Brodie’s heart, but comfort was probably a long way off.

Thank you to Larry Miller, great-nephew of James Joseph Brodie, for sharing this piece of his family history.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Two Hundred Eighty-Two Days

1945-07-06 Telegram

It had been two hundred eighty-two days since the mid-air collision between Lazy Daisy and Lead Banana.  James Joseph Brodie had been among the missing on Lazy Daisy since September 28, 1944.  All the other Daisy crew members had been accounted for, but James’ parents and young wife had been waiting all this time for some word.

Today, July 6, 1945, the dreaded telegram had come.  An explanation was not offered as to why the wait had been so long for this terrible news.  Perhaps the letter that was to follow would provide more information, but for today the only news was:

It has now been officially established from reports received in the war department that your husband First Lieutenant James J. Brodie who was previously reported missing in action was killed in action Twenty Eight September Nineteen Forty Four in Germany.  The Secretary of War extends his deep sympathy.  Confirming letter follows.

Edward F. Witsell Acting the Adjutant General of the Army

Thank you to Larry Miller, great-nephew of James Joseph Brodie, for sharing this piece of his family history.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

A Year in a Day

It is now the end of June in 1945.  George Edwin Farrar had been liberated almost two months before on May 2.  Since liberation, he had been for a time in a hospital in France and was now in England.  He expected to leave for the states in the immediate future, leaving England that night.

June 29, 1945
American Red Cross

Dearest Mother:

This will be my last letter from England, as we are leaving to-night. I will call you the first chance I get, after we reach the States. It will take a good while to cross, as we are going to be on a very small ship. It will be nice to cross on a ship, as you know I have never been on one before. I can’t hardly wait to get home. There is so much I want to hear from you. I guess it will be like living a whole year in one day. It has been one year today that I left the States.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Gene hasn’t a nice girl by now. He should be about old enough, and I know with his looks, he is getting along O.K. I guess you are still about the only girl I have, and I love it. I can just thank God that I didn’t have a girl to worry about while in Germany, on top of all things else. Well there isn’t anything else to write about, so will close here.

Love to all,

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Erwin Foster Visits the Pelusos

Erwin Foster was the original ball turret gunner with the Buslee crew.  He trained in Ardmore, Oklahoma with Sebastiano Peluso and served with him on eight missions in WWII.  Foster was not on Lead Banana on September 28, 1944 and finished his tour with the 384th on April 22, 1945.  Foster was from Elmira, New York, a city in upstate New York about four hours (today) from the Pelusos in Brooklyn.  After returning to the states, Foster visited the Pelusos the weekend of June 23 – 24, 1945.

June 27, 1945

Dear Mrs. Farrar,

I dislike having to inconvenience you this way – but I would deeply appreciate a letter from you, with all the information your dear son can possibly think of. He most likely is home by this time. I know it’s the hardest mission for him, but as I have said in my previous letters, it means so very much to my family.

We haven’t received any news from the war dept. S/Sgt. Irwin Forest visited us over the weekend. Naturally there wasn’t much he could tell us for he did not go on that mission. It was good seeing one of Yono’s buddies.

Mrs. Farrar if George finds it hard talking about what happened Sept. 28, my husband would be only too glad to see George personally. Please let us know soon. You see our hope for Yono’s return is high and deep. We know he’s safe and any information would help us. We of course haven’t overlooked the other side of the story.

I’m sure you won’t let us down.

Sincerely Yours,
Mr. and Mrs. Peluso

The Pelusos thought that George Edwin Farrar should have been home by this time, but he had not, in fact, yet left the ETO.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

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


A Shred of Hope

George Edwin Farrar’s mother must have recently written to the families of all of the boys who were on the Lead Banana on September 28, 1944.  They appreciated her sharing her news of a letter from her son.  He had written that he had been liberated and would be coming home in the near future.  Raleigh Mae Farrar’s backyard now boasted a large vegetable garden and was populated by forty-two chickens.  Her plan was in place to nourish her son back to health when he arrived home from the war.

She had recently received letters from the Buslees, the Albrechts, and the Pelusos.  The next letter to arrive was from the Stearns, parents of Lead Banana bombardier Robert Sumner Stearns.

June 10, 1945
Lapine, Oregon

My dear Mrs. Farrar,

How happy we are over the wonderful news you’ve had from your son, George. I hope he will soon be home with you, safe and sound. What a terrible experience he must have had to be in prison all these months. A cousin of ours was captured in the break-through in January and put to work on a Railroad crew on 2 slices of black bread and 1 qt. of soup a day. He lost 65# in those few months, but is now home and going to be alright. Luckily he was not injured. I surely hope George fared well and was not mistreated.

We’ve appreciated all the good letters you’ve written us so much as realize you’re busy and have been so worried over your boys. I’m so glad the son who was in the So. Pacific is home with you now – you really have been very lucky to have both boys home after all they’ve been through. I hope your son who was in India is well and that you hear from him often.

We have had no word from anyone of the crew’s families except you so I presume they have heard nothing. There are still a few prisoners yet to be liberated from Russian held territory, I read in this week’s paper, so maybe some of us will hear something yet, as long as there is a shred of hope, or chance that they are somewhere alive we will keep looking for news.

Our weather has been very rainy and cold the past month so everything is green and pretty. The gardens are slow, tho – in fact some of ours isn’t planted yet, the ground is so wet. Today was nice and sunny so perhaps we are going to have some warm weather.

How nice to have all those fryers ready for George’s home coming. I can imagine you enjoying cooking them for him almost as much as he will enjoy eating them. Bobby’s favorite meal was beefsteak, mashed potatoes, gravy, hot biscuits and a green vegetable salad, which he could cook very well himself, all except the biscuits. I read where the boys in the prison camps planned what they were going to eat and fishing trips they were going to take when they got home. Took their minds off their surroundings, they said. We are able to get meat whenever we have the points for it here, but we are in cattle country. May make some difference. Can’t have much choice at times, tho, but no one goes without.

We are anxiously waiting to hear from you again as to what really happened the day of the accident, and just where it was. We have heard two different versions, but realize how hard it was for so many accidents to be kept straight. So we will watch the mail and be forever grateful to you for sending all the good letters to us.

Mrs. Stearns

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014