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WWII Timeline – Summer 1937

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1937 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1937

July 2, 1937

On aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart’s attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe, she and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared on a leg of the flight from Papua, New Guinea to Howland Island.

July 7, 1937

A conflict between the Republic of China’s National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army near the Marco Polo Bridge outside Beijing, China (known as the “Marco Polo Bridge Incident”) led to warfare between China and Japan. This Japanese invasion of China was a prelude into World War II in the Pacific.

July 31, 1937

Japanese troops occupied Peking, China.

August 22, 1937

A U.S. Gallup poll showed that 43% of Americans supported China, 2% supported Japan, and 55% supported neither.

September 19, 1937

The Japanese launched air raids against Nanking and Canton, China.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1937

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

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The New Year

My father, George Edwin Farrar, spent New Year’s Eve seventy-four years ago as a prisoner of war in Germany’s Stalag Luft IV prison camp. He had been a POW since the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision between his B-17 and that of another flying fortress in his own group. If he believed his captors, he knew that he was the only survivor of his crew.

On that New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1944, Daddy’s family back home in Atlanta, Georgia received a telegram with joyous news as the year drew to a close. Their son was a prisoner of war, but he was alive.

The next day, the first day of a bright new year, Daddy’s mother sent her own telegram to the family of the pilot of his crew, John Oliver Buslee, announcing the good news. Mr. Buslee responded with a January 1, 1945 letter.

The telegram that we received from you this morning was indeed a piece of good news for the New Year.  To learn of your son’s safety is indeed wonderful and I hope means such good news may come regarding all of the other boys and more that this terrible struggle will soon end and that all may return and lets hope that the peoples of the World will realize that there is but one way to get along and that is in a peaceful harmonious manner forgetting all greed and selfishness and faith in the Lord.

My wife and my daughter and myself are overjoyed in learning that your son has been reported.

In the midst of despair, one telegram provided hope and joy for the new year.

Seventy-four years later, we are reminded that lessons are learned and then forgotten. Greed and selfishness live on and peaceful harmony will forever be fleeting. Faith in something higher than oneself comes all too seldom, mostly in moments of joy or despair.

The world is not going to change overnight, or even this year, but good intentions on our own part and kindness towards others would be a good place to start. Have faith in a happy new year.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019

Ardmore Army Air Field

My dad’s (George Edwin “Ed” Farrar’s) WWII Separation Qualification record indicates that he was an Army Air Forces (AAF) Gunnery instructor for thirteen months. For seven months he was a flexible gunnery instructor in Kingman, Arizona, conducting and administering training classes and gunnery tests. For six months he administered phase checks, organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunnery at Ardmore OTU, Oklahoma.

George Edwin “Ed” Farrar pointing to Ardmore, Oklahoma on the map

He spent six weeks at an Aircraft Instructor’s School in Ft. Myers, Florida. The course included instruction and practical training in teaching methods and student psychology as well as fundamentals of advanced aerial gunnery. I’m not sure whether he attended the AC Instructor’s School before he was a flexible gunnery instructor in Kingman or if the Instructor’s School came later, before his stint as an instructor in Ardmore.

Ardmore Army Air Field opened in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1942 as a glider training facility. By July 12, 1943, it became a Martin Marauder B-26 crew training base of the 394th Bombardment Group, but the 394th transferred out five weeks later on August 19, 1943.

On August 20, 1943, Ardmore Army Air Field passed from the Third Air Force to the Second Air Force and on September 16, the 46th Bombardment Operational Training Wing of the 20th Bomber Command moved to Ardmore. Soon after, the 395th Bombardment Group arrived with their B-17’s.

On November 24, 1943, the 395th Bombardment Group was transformed into the 395th Combat Crew Training School, which provided instructional personnel for the training of new combat crews for the B-17s. Perhaps it was at this time that my dad was assigned to Ardmore as an instructor.

George Edwin “Ed” Farrar in Ardmore, Oklahoma

According to their web site, during this time period in WWII, Ardmore Army Air Field was a receiving facility for new pilots, navigators, gunners, bombardiers, radio operators and flight engineers after they had completed their individual specialty training at other bases around the country.

While at Ardmore, the individuals were brought together for their final combat training to become B-17 combat crews ready to ship overseas and into the action. The training program included both classroom and flying instruction. As a combat crew in training, the men would be at the Ardmore base from three to five months before shipping overseas.

On March 25, 1944, the 395th Combat Crew Training School was changed to the 222nd Combat Crew Training School by Second Air Force General Order Number 35.

My dad transitioned from instructor at Ardmore to a gunner on one of the B-17 crews, where he completed his combat crew training as a flexible gunner (waist gunner) on the the John Oliver Buslee crew.

The Buslee Crew.  My dad is on the far right in the front row.

On June 8, 1944, he received his written orders “as a combat crew member requiring regular and frequent participation in aerial flights.” The order was issued by Major Milton S. Angier, Air Corps Commandant of the Combat Crew Detachment, 222nd Combat Crew Training School, AAF, Ardmore, Oklahoma.

My dad wrote his mother on June 22, 1944 on his way out of Ardmore and the beginning of his journey to Grafton Underwood with the Buslee crew. At the time, most of the B-17 crews traveled by train from the Ardmore base to Grand Island, Nebraska, where they were assigned the B-17’s that they flew to England, and I can only assume that Grand Island was his next destination.

He wrote, “We will be at the next place just long enough to get our plane. It should take from three to seven days.” He also said that he wanted his mother to know that “I haven’t waited this long to start asking God to help me.”

George Edwin “Ed” Farrar

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

The White Cliffs of Dover

White-Cliffs-of-Dover1-470x260

I have never seen the White Cliffs of Dover, but my dad, George Edwin Farrar, saw them fifteen times. They were the landmark he and his crew mates would look for as their B-17 crossed the English channel back to the base at Grafton Underwood in England from their WWII bombing missions. It meant that they had survived another one with the 384th Bomb Group and were safe once again. As he told me about it when I was a child, I could see that the beauty was not all in the vision of it, but in the deep emotion of it as well.

The White Cliffs of Dover stand 300 feet high and stretch for almost ten miles along the English coastline at the Strait of Dover, facing France and the rest of continental Europe at the narrowest part of the English Channel. They are composed mainly of soft white chalk with streaks of black flint.

Interestingly, there are secret tunnels behind the face of Dover’s cliffs that served as Winston Churchill’s military headquarters during WWII. They were originally carved by prisoners held in the Dover Castle during the Napoleonic Wars and later enlarged.

The White Cliffs of Dover are a sentimental symbol of England, which was put into words as song lyrics to the WWII-era song “The White Cliffs of Dover.” It was composed by Walter Kent and Nat Burton in 1941, and recorded by Vera Lynn in 1942. It was written about a year after British and German aircraft had been fighting over the cliffs of Dover in the Battle of Britain, and before America had joined in the war. The lyrics look forward to a time when the war would end and peace would return.

While bluebirds, as we in America know them, don’t inhabit England, the bluebirds may have been another bird with a blue sheen. Swallows and house martins migrate to and from the continent in spring and fall, crossing the English Channel over the white cliffs. Many spend the summer in the vicinity of Dover. Traditionally, swallows and martins are believed to bring good fortune.

For a nice video with photos of the cliffs accompanied by the song, visit YouTube.

 

“The White Cliffs of Dover” song lyrics

There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
I’ll never forget the people I met
Braving those angry skies
I remember well as the shadows fell
The light of hope in their eyes
And though I’m far away I still can hear them say
Thumb’s up
For when the dawn comes up
There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after.
Tomorrow, when the world is free
The shepherd will tend his sheep.
The valley will bloom again.
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again.
There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

George Edwin Farrar and the Buslee crew’s last view of the White Cliffs of Dover from a B-17 was on September 27, 1944 – the 384th Bomb Group’s 200th mission. The next day, September 28, they did not return.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016

A Brief Break

The Arrowhead Club and The Arrowhead Club Kitchen will be on hiatus until September. New posts will return on Wednesday, September 2, 2015.

Slowing Down

The posts here on The Arrowhead Club are going to start coming less frequently.  I have been posting three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I am now at a point where I need to do some more research and need to do some work for the 384th Bomb Group’s website (www.384thbombgroup.com).  Therefore, I will most likely only be posting new content on Wednesdays.

So stay tuned for new information, but now just once a week.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

My Dad’s (George Edwin Farrar) Story – Organization

I find that I am not posting anything because I feel the need for my posts to flow in a certain order.  However, as my first project here is researching and writing my father’s history, I am stumbling across different bits of information that don’t necessarily all fit together in one nice neat little package.  I am going to start posting the information as I come across it, and hopefully, like a jigsaw puzzle, it will all fit together nicely at the end.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013