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Site Map of Station 106 at Grafton Underwood

The last time I caught up with Mark Meehl was in October in Dayton, Ohio at the latest 384th Bomb Group Reunion. Both Mark and his brother Jerry attended as they have for many years. Mark and Jerry’s dad, Paul Edwin Meehl, was a ground crew chief assigned to the 384th’s 547th Bomb Squadron from early 1943 through the end of the war. He also transferred with the group to Istres, France at the end of the war in Europe.

Left to right: Mark and Jerry Meehl at the 2018 384th Bomb Group Reunion in Dayton, Ohio

Mark is the group’s archivist, is a researcher who specializes in ground personnel, and also maintains the master log of all combat sorties. Mark’s brother Jerry (Gerald) is also interested in military history and has written or co-written three books, one with 384th Bomb Group waist gunner Jack Goetz.

At the reunion, I mentioned to Mark that I wanted to attend the group’s next junket to England – in September 2019 – and hoped to find the site of some air base photos in my dad’s collection. Mark shared scans of a couple of maps of the Station 106 site plan at Grafton Underwood with me and using them I believe I may be able to stand in the very same area the photos were taken when I visit.

For starters, this map that Mark shared with me shows the entire site with runways, living areas, and the small village of Grafton Underwood.

Overall plan of the Grafton Underwood airfield and all the site areas.
Scan by Mark Meehl of original plans/maps courtesy of Matt Smith in England

Click on the image to open it to full screen. (Then use your browser Back button to return to this post). The legend for the map is:

  • Site No. 1 – Airfield and Hardstands
  • Site No. 1 – 547th BS & Maintenance Technical Site
  • Site No. 1 – Group Headquarters
  • Site No. 1 – Old Head Wood Bomb Stores
  • Site No. 1 – SE Area
  • Site No. 1 – Technical Site
  • Site No. 1 – Warkton Common Bomb Stores
  • Site No. 2 – Communal
  • Site No. 3 – Communal
  • Site No. 4 – Group Staff Quarters
  • Site No. 5 – Ground Echelon Quarters
  • Site No. 6 – Ground Echelon Quarters
  • Site No. 7 – W.A.A.F.
  • Site No. 8 – 544th BS Area
  • Site No. 9 – 547th BS Area
  • Site No. 10 – 545th BS Area
  • Site No. 11 – 546th BS Area
  • Site No. 12 – Sick Quarters
  • Site No. 13 – Sewage
  • Site No. 14 – Sewage

Mark also told me I could add the site map as an overlay on Google Earth, so armed with a few instructions from Mark, I came up with this…

Grafton Underwood site map overlaid on Google Earth map

I’ll be playing around with this feature of Google Earth some more and try to get better results, but I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt.

My dad was in the 544th Bomb Squadron, so one of my interests is in Site No. 8. I believe my dad’s photos were taken in this area, and I’ll explore that site in more detail in a future post.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

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Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

Today is Veterans Day. Here in the United States, we observe it annually on November 11, honoring those who have served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Originally known as Armistice Day, it marked the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 when the armistice with Germany went into effect. Armistice Day was eventually expanded to include all veterans, not just those of WWI, and later evolved into the current Veterans Day in 1954.

Other parts of the world observe Remembrance Day. In the United Kingdom, the main observance is on the Sunday closest to November 11 with ceremonies at local war memorials. Every year, such a ceremony is held at the Grafton Underwood memorial. Remembrance Sunday was observed there this past Sunday, November 8.

A local videographer, Graham Butlin, recorded the Grafton Underwood Remembrance Day ceremony and shared it on YouTube. For those of us who have never been to Grafton Underwood and witnessed one of the ceremonies, I thank Graham for sharing the opportunity to witness it with us through his video.

Graham hosts a YouTube channel that includes videos of English air fields, air shows, etc., and has some wonderful aerial videography using a drone.

To view the 2015 Remembrance Day ceremony at Grafton Underwood, click here.

To view other videos on Graham Butlin’s YouTube channel, click here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

The Window

8x10 GU Church Window

The Church of St. James in the village of Grafton Underwood, England has a special stained glass window depicting a B17 Flying Fortress that memorializes the air base that was home to the 384th bombardment group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Buslee Crew

The Buslee Crew

The Buslee Crew

The Buslee Crew, Eighth Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)

Crew photo, back row, left to right:

  • Lt. John Oliver Buslee, Pilot, from Park Ridge, Illinois
  • Lt. David Franklin Albrecht, Co-Pilot, from Chico, California
  • Lt. Chester A. Rybarczyk, Navigator, from Toledo, Ohio
  • Lt. James B. Davis, Bombardier, from New Castle, Indiana

Crew photo, front row, left to right:

  • Sgt. Erwin V. Foster, Ball Turret Gunner, from Elmira, New York
  • Sgt. Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, Radio Operator/Gunner, from Brooklyn, New York
  • Sgt. Lenard Leroy Bryant, Waist Gunner, from Lubbock, Texas
  • Sgt. Clarence B. Seeley, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, from Halsey, Nebraska
  • Sgt. Eugene D. Lucynski, Tail Gunner, from Detroit, Michigan
  • Sgt. George Edwin Farrar, Waist Gunner, from Atlanta, Georgia, (my dad)

Notes:

  1. The Buslee crew departed the US on July 1, 1944.  They were stationed with the 544th Bombardment Squadron of the 8th Air Force at the Grafton Underwood airfield.
  2. Original crew members were Pilot – John Oliver Buslee, Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht, Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk, Bombardier – Marvin B. Fryden, Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Clarence B. Seeley, Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin V. Foster, Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski, Waist Gunner/Flexible Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant, Waist Gunner/Flexible Gunner – George Edwin Farrar.
  3. The original Buslee crew’s bombardier, Lt. Marvin B. Fryden, was killed on the crew’s second mission on August 5, 1944.  The photo must have been taken after Lt. James B. Davis replaced Fryden on the crew.
  4. The crew must have trained together in the US as a crew of ten, but by the time they saw action, the B-17 crews were made up of only nine men.  One Waist Gunner manned both waist gunner stations and was called a Flexible Gunner.  As a result, this crew of ten never all served on the same mission together.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013