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George Edwin Farrar had completed a casualty questionnaire when he returned to the states after his liberation. As the only survivor on the Lead Banana in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision with Lazy Daisy, he was asked to provide information on the other members of the crew and write a description of the event as he knew it. As he was knocked unconscious in the collision, he had more questions than answers. On the back of the questionnaire, he apparently asked for information on the fate of his crewmates.
On June 14, 1946, Lt. Colonel William H. Brandon had written to tell him that his casualty questionnaire had been received, but that because of a backlog of inquiries, his questions couldn’t be answered at that time. Now, three months later, 1st Lt. John W. Bertschi was trying to answer Farrar’s questions.
September 11, 1946
Headquarters, Army Air Forces
The casualty questionnaire you completed for Air Forces Headquarters came to my attention today. I noticed your own question in the back of the sheet, and knowing how anxious any crewmember is to know what happened to the rest of the fellows, I want to tell you what we have found.
German casualty records which we recently translated state that all your crewmembers were recovered dead. The only one not identified by name was S. J. Peluso. All the boys were buried in a cemetery at Ost Ingersleben where the plane crashed. This town is twenty miles northwest of Magdeburg. We do not have reburial on all of the fellows yet so this would indicate that the Quartermaster General is having trouble identifying the bodies.
That is really all there is to tell you. You might be interested to know that the German records also include your name and state that you were taken to Dulag Luft West.
You really lived through a close one. I hope you suffer no permanent ill effects, and are enjoying a normal life once again.
This personal letter is easier to get out than an official one.
John W. Bertschi
1st LT. AC
In a handwritten note at the bottom of the typed letter, John Bertschi described himself as “Just one of the boys now working in AAF Hdqts personnel division.”
He also added:
P. S. When I checked your 201 file for your address, I found our “very sorry” letter to you.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014