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My Dear Boy

George Edwin Farrar, waist gunner on the John Oliver (Jay) Buslee crew, 544th Bomb Squad, 384th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force in WWII

George Edwin Farrar, waist gunner on the John Oliver (Jay) Buslee crew, 544th Bomb Squad, 384th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force in WWII

In early January 1945, the Soviet Red Army invaded Nazi-occupied Poland, sending the Germans into a retreat.  On January 17, the Soviets captured Warsaw, which was about three hundred miles from Stalag Luft IV in Gross Tychow, Pomerania (now Tychowo, Poland).  George Edwin Farrar, Wilfred Frank Miller, and Harry Allen Liniger were all prisoners of the Germans and were all held at Stalag Luft IV.

On January 18, the Farrar family had received their son’s first letter home from prison camp.  He had written it on October 24, 1944.  I’ll re-publish his letter here.  George Edwin Farrar wrote:

Dearest Mother:  I find it rather hard to write even a letter as small as this.  Of course, we can’t say much, but are being treated O.K.  We have plenty books and I spend most of my time reading.  I hope you will have plenty chicken when I get there.  I think I could eat a couple all alone.  I guess Gene is doing good in school by now.  Tell him to study hard, and make good grades.  How is Martha getting along with her new job.  I hope she likes it.  I’ll bet by now she is having a hard time with her boyfriends.  I wish you would send me some candy.  Be sure it is something that will keep until it gets here, because it is a long trip.  I’ll make up for these letters when I get home.  Love to all, George

The next day, Raleigh Mae Farrar wrote back to her son:

January 19, 1945
Atlanta, Ga.

My Dear Boy,

We were so happy to get your letter yesterday. Do write as often as possible for its so good to hear from you.

I mailed you a box and sent in order for cigaretts. If you need clothes let me know. I can send them. Things here at home are just about the same. Dad doesn’t improve. Gene is taller than I now, and is doing good in school. Gene and I will start our garden and chickens soon. Dot and kids are doing pretty good. Demmey will go to first grade, so Dot feels like he is really growing up. Beverly is as pretty as ever. She had flu and its taking a long time to get rid of it. I will be on the look out for some good candy and as I know now what I can send, I will be ready when my next labels come. I do hope you get the box. We all love you and hope and pray you will get along good. I will try to send some books.

Be good and write.

Lots and Lots of Love,
Mother

Raleigh Mae Farrar’s letter would never be received by her son in Stalag Luft IV.  By the time it would arrive, Stalag Luft IV was empty of prisoners.  The letter was marked “RETURNED TO SENDER By Direction of the War Department.  Undeliverable as Addressed.”  The date she got the letter back is unknown.

Notes:

  • Dad was Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr.  He was very ill and bedridden.
  • Martha was Martha Ann Farrar, the Farrar’s seventh child and seventeen years old.
  • Gene was Harold Eugene Farrar, the Farrar’s youngest son and only thirteen years old.
  • Dot was Dorothy Gertrude Farrar, the Farrar’s fourth child.  In January 1945, Dot had been married for eight years to Hugh Dimmock Cobb and had five children, two of them twins.  She would eventually follow in her mother’s footsteps and have nine children of her own.  “Demmey” was Dot’s first child, son Hugh Dimmock Cobb, Jr.
  • Beverly is Beverly Marie Farrar, the youngest of the Farrar’s nine children, and the only one still living.  Beverly shared her mother’s birthdate and turned eight in January of 1945, the same day her mother turned fifty-five.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

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September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201

Lazy Daisy, Aircraft 42-31222

Lazy Daisy, Aircraft 42-31222

Lead Banana, 43-37822

Lead Banana, Aircraft 43-37822

September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 201 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 652.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 43-37822, Lead Banana.  The Brodie crew was aboard 42-31222, Lazy Daisy.

The primary target was the steelworks industry in Magdeburg, Germany.

Buslee Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – William Alvin Henson II
  • Bombardier – Robert Sumner Stearns
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – George Francis McMann, Jr.
  • Tail Gunner – Gerald Lee Andersen
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

Chester A. Rybarczyk flew this mission with the William J. Blankenmeyer crew.  William Alvin Henson II replaced Rybarczyk as Navigator on the Buslee crew.  This was Henson’s third flight with the Buslee crew.

James B. Davis flew this mission with the Raymond J. Gabel crew.  Robert Sumner Stearns replaced Davis as Bombardier on the Buslee crew.  This was Stearns second flight with the Buslee crew.

George Francis McMann, Jr. flew this mission as Ball Turret Gunner on the Buslee crew.  This was McMann’s first flight with the Buslee crew.  Irving L. Miller, who had replaced Erwin V. Foster as Ball Turret Gunner five times on the Buslee crew, also flew with Davis on the Gabel crew this mission.

Gerald Lee Andersen replaced Eugene D. Lucynski for the third time as Tail Gunner on the Buslee crew.

Brodie Crew List:

  • Pilot – James Joseph Brodie
  • Co-Pilot – Lloyd Oliver Vevle
  • Navigator – George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.
  • Togglier – Byron Laverne Atkins
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Donald William Dooley
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Robert Doyle Crumpton
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Gordon Eugene Hetu
  • Tail Gunner – Wilfred Frank Miller
  • Waist Gunner – Harry Allen Liniger

James Joseph Brodie (Pilot), Lloyd Oliver Vevle (Co-Pilot), George Marshall Hawkins, Jr. (Navigator), Robert Doyle Crumpton (Engineer/Top Turret Gunner), Gordon Eugene Hetu (Ball Turret Gunner), Wilfred Frank Miller (Tail Gunner), and Harry Allen Liniger (Waist Gunner) were all original Brodie crew members aboard the Lazy Daisy.  The only non-original crew members were Byron Laverne Atkins (Bombardier/Togglier) and Donald William Dooley (Radio Operator/Gunner).

Original Brodie crew Bombardier, William D. Barnes, Jr., last flew with the Brodie crew on September 13, 1944.  Barnes did not fly again until October 17, 1944.  He returned to flight as a Navigator, completed his tour after 35 missions, and returned to the US.

Byron Laverne Atkins flew only six missions, three of them as a Ball Turret Gunner, and one as a Flexible Gunner.  He served as Togglier for the Brodie crew on two occasions – once on September 21 and again on September 28, 1944.

William Edson Taylor, the original Radio Operator/Gunner for the Brodie crew did not fly on the September 28 mission.  On October 5, he flew as Radio Operator/Gunner with the Robert Bruce Birckhead crew.  His aircraft was damaged by flak and crashed near Munchen-Gladbach, Germany (MACR 9754).  Of the crew, four were killed, and five were taken prisoner of war, including Taylor.

Donald William Dooley’s first mission would be his last.  He flew as Radio Operator/Gunner for the Brodie crew on this mission.

Sortie Report Description:

Two Bomb Runs – Primary Target Attacked: The 384th Bombardment Group (H) flew as the 41st CBW “C” Wing on today’s mission. Near the target, another formation of bombers flew below this wing, forcing them to hold their bombs. The wing made a second bomb run and released their bombs on the primary target.

Lazy Daisy Sortie Report Status and Comments:

Failed to Return
MIA; collided with 43-37822 over target; both ships went down on fire and out of control; no chutes observed; crashed near Erxleben, Germany; MACR 9366.

Lead Banana Sortie Report Status and Comments:

Failed to Return
MIA; collided with 42-31222 over target; both ships went down on fire and out of control; no chutes; crashed near Osteringersleben, Germany; MACR 9753.

Source:  Sortie Report – Buslee Crew, Sortie Report – Brodie Crew

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 27, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 200

Hale's Angels, Aircraft 42-102449

Hale’s Angels, Aircraft 42-102449

September 27, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 200.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 200 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 650.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-102449, Hale’s Angels.

The primary target was the railroad marshaling yards in Cologne, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – William Alvin Henson II
  • Bombardier – Robert Sumner Stearns
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Robert M. Mitchell
  • Tail Gunner – Gerald Lee Andersen
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

On this mission, the Buslee crew was the High Group Deputy and Hot Camera Ship.

Chester A. Rybarczyk did not fly this mission.  William Alvin Henson II replaced him as Navigator on this flight.

James B. Davis also did not fly this mission.  Robert Sumner Stearns replaced him as Bombardier.

Henson had flown with the Buslee crew once before, on September 3, 1944.  This was the first flight with the Buslee crew for Stearns.

Robert M. Mitchell replaced Erwin V. Foster as Ball Turret Gunner on this mission.  This was the first time Mitchell flew with the Buslee crew, although he had flown with Farrar on September 19 as part of the William M. Reed crew.

Gerald Lee Andersen replaced Eugene D. Lucynski for the second time as Tail Gunner.

Source:  Sortie Report, Aircraft Photo

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 25, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 198

Hot Nuts, Aircraft 42-39888

Hot Nuts, Aircraft 42-39888

September 25, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 198.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 198 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 644.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-39888, Hot Nuts.

The primary target was the railroad marshaling yards in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James B. Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Irving L. Miller
  • Tail Gunner – Gerald Lee Andersen
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

Irving L. Miller replaced Erwin V. Foster as Ball Turret Gunner for the fifth time.  This was the last time Miller would fly with the Buslee crew.  On March 19, 1945, Miller completed his tour and returned to the US.

Eugene D. Lucynski had bailed out of The Tremblin’ Gremlin on September 19 when it was struck by flak and had not returned to the Buslee crew.  Gerald Lee Andersen replaced Lucynski on this and the next two missions as Tail Gunner.

Source:  Sortie Report, Aircraft Photo

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 19, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 196

September 19, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 196.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 196 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 642.

Most of the Buslee crew did not fly this mission.  Waist Gunner George Edwin Farrar flew this mission with the William M. Reed crew aboard aircraft 43-38062, Pleasure Bent.  Tail Gunner Eugene D. Lucynski flew with the Joe Carnes crew on 42-37982, The Tremblin’ Gremlin.  The remainder of the Buslee crew did not fly. Robert Mitchell flew as ball turret gunner.

The primary target was the railroad marshaling yards in Hamm, Germany.

The Tremblin’ Gremlin was struck by flak on this mission and the crew, including Lucynski, bailed out over Binche, Belgium and landed in allied territory.  The Sortie Report states that all returned to duty except for the injured Ball Turret Gunner, James B. King, Jr., who was seriously wounded.  However, Lucynski’s record on the 384th Bomb Group web site shows that this was his last mission and does not show that he completed his tour and returned home.  Lucynski’s inclusion on The Tremblin’ Gremlin on this mission kept him off Lead Banana on September 28, when the Lazy Daisy collided with it coming off the target in Magdeburg.

This was the last mission for The Tremblin’ Gremlin.

Source:  Sortie Report – Farrar, Sortie Report – Lucynski

Question – What happened to Eugene D. Lucynski after the September 19, 1944 mission?

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 13, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 194

Lorraine, Aircraft 43-38016

Lorraine, Aircraft 43-38016

September 13, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 194.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 194 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 628.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 43-38016, Lorraine.

The primary target was the oil industry in Merseburg, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Commander – William A. Fairfield, Jr.
  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Navigator – Kenneth S. Lord
  • Bombardier – Donald L. Ward
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Albert K. Sherriff
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Irving L. Miller
  • Tail Gunner – Lloyd E. La Chine
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

Not the normal Buslee crew at all.  With William A. Fairfield, Jr. as Commander and John Oliver Buslee as Pilot, the regular Co-Pilot, David Franklin Albrecht, did not fly.

Donald L. Ward replaced James B. Davis on this flight.  Davis flew as part of the Joe Carnes crew.

Albert K. Sherriff replaced Sebastiano Joseph Peluso.  Irving L. Miller replaced Erwin V. Foster as Ball Turret Gunner as he had three times before.  Lloyd E. La Chine replaced Eugene D. Lucynski as Tail Gunner.

The only regular Buslee crew members on this flight were Buslee, Bryant, and Farrar.  Rybarczyk, Peluso, Foster, and Lucynski did not fly this mission.

Source:  Sortie Report, Aircraft Photo

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 11, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 192

Big Dog, Aircraft 42-102661

Big Dog, Aircraft 42-102661

September 11, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 192.

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 192 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 623.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-102661, Big Dog.

The primary target was the oil industry in Luetzkendorf, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James B. Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Paul Leland Watson
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The same crew as mission 191 from the day before.  Again the regular Buslee crew without Erwin V. Foster.  Paul Leland Watson again replaced Foster as Ball Turret Gunner on this mission.

Source:  Sortie Report, Aircraft Photo

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 10, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 191

September 10, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 191

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 191 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 619.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 43-38213, name unknown.

The primary target was the BMW Motor Component Parts Plant in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James B. Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Paul Leland Watson
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The regular Buslee crew without Erwin V. Foster.  Paul Leland Watson replaced Foster as Ball Turret Gunner on this mission.  Foster did not fly again until September 30, 1944, two days after the Buslee crew was involved in the September 28 mid-air collision with the Brodie crew.  Foster completed his tour with 35 missions on February 28, 1945, returning to the US.

Watson would also replace Foster the next day on mission 192, but would not fly with the Buslee crew again after that.  Watson flew 29 missions in all, his last on November 16, 1944 when his aircraft received a direct flak hit to an engine, setting it on fire.  Six chutes were observed, with one on fire.  The aircraft crash-landed in Belgium, with an injured pilot and engineer, and a dead co-pilot.  Five of the crew became POW’s, including Watson.

Rybarczyk is back as Navigator after sitting out the September 9 mission.

Aircraft 43-38213 only flew three more missions after this one, for a total of fourteen combat missions.  On September 13, 1944, immediately after bombs away, the aircraft was seen going down in flames.  Four of the crew members on this flight were killed, with five becoming POWs.

Source:  Sortie Report

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 9, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 190

Lead Banana, 43-37822

Lead Banana, 43-37822

September 9, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 190

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 190 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 614.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 43-37822, Lead Banana.  This was their second of three missions aboard the Lead Banana.

The primary target was again, but for the last time, the chemical works industry in Ludwigshaven, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – George J. Jacobson
  • Bombardier – James B. Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin V. Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The regular Buslee crew without Chester A. Rybarczyk.  George J. Jacobson replaced Rybarczyk as Navigator or this flight.  Rybarczyk did not fly this mission.

Erwin V. Foster was back as Ball Turret Gunner.  Foster had not flown since the August 24 mission.

Source:  Sortie Report

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

September 8, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 189

September 8, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 189

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 189 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 611.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-97320, name unknown.

The primary target was again the chemical works industry in Ludwigshaven, Germany.

Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James B. Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Irving L. Miller
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The regular Buslee crew without Erwin Foster.  Irving L. Miller again replaced Foster as Ball Turret Gunner on this flight.

Source:  Sortie Report

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013