The Arrowhead Club

Home » Posts tagged 'William Alvin Henson II'

Tag Archives: William Alvin Henson II

The Boys, Part II

Today’s post is a continuation of last week’s post, “The Boys.” Last week, I took a look at the Buslee and Brodie crews as they were composed on the September 28, 1944 mission to Magdeburg. This week, I want to look at the two crews as they were originally formed, with one exception. I am including two bombardiers for the Buslee crew. The original bombardier was killed on the crew’s second mission, so I am also including the crew’s replacement bombardier.

Both crews were originally made up of ten members. The crews each trained with two flexible, or waist, gunners. At their base at Grafton Underwood, England, by the Fall of 1944, a B-17 crew flew missions with only one flexible/waist gunner, meaning only nine members of the crew flew at one time. I imagine that this was one of the first stressful situations faced by the crews, knowing that the close connection the ten had made with each other in training was jeopardized. One man, one waist gunner, was going to have to fly with a different crew. I’ll look into how that played out for the Buslee and Brodie crews.

These are the two crews as they were originally assigned to the 384th Bomb Group:

The Buslee Crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron

PILOT John Oliver Buslee, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

John Oliver Buslee

CO-PILOT David Franklin Albrecht, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

David Franklin Albrecht

NAVIGATOR Chester Anthony Rybarczyk, original Buslee crew member, completed tour

BOMBARDIER Marvin Fryden, original Buslee crew member, KIA 8/5/1944 on the crew’s second mission

Possibly Marvin Fryden (if not, James Davis)

BOMBARDIER James Buford Davis, replacement for Marvin Fryden, completed tour

James Buford Davis

RADIO OPERATOR Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Sebastiano Joseph Peluso

ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER Clarence Benjamin “Ben” Seeley, original Buslee crew member, completed tour

Clarence Benjamin “Ben” Seeley

BALL TURRET GUNNER Erwin Vernon Foster, original Buslee crew member, completed tour

Erwin Vernon Foster

TAIL GUNNER Eugene Daniel Lucynski, original Buslee crew member, WIA (wounded in action) 9/19/1944

Eugene Daniel Lucynski

FLEXIBLE/WAIST GUNNER Lenard Leroy Bryant, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Bryant was originally assigned as a flexible/waist gunner with the Buslee crew and flew on the crew’s first mission. He alternated with the crew’s other waist gunner, George Edwin Farrar, who flew the crew’s second mission. When Clarence “Ben” Seeley was seriously wounded on the crew’s second mission, Bryant took his place in the top turret for the remainder of the Buslee crew’s missions.

Lenard Leroy Bryant

FLEXIBLE GUNNER George Edwin Farrar, original Buslee crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV 9/28/1944

George Edwin Farrar

The Brodie Crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron

PILOT James Joseph Brodie, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

James Joseph Brodie

CO-PILOT Lloyd Oliver Vevle, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Lloyd Oliver Vevlve

NAVIGATOR George Marshall Hawkins, Jr., original Brodie crew member, POW Obermassfeld Hospital #1249 (served Stalag 9-C)

No photo available

BOMBARDIER William Douglas Barnes, Jr., original Brodie crew member, completed tour

William Douglas Barnes, Jr.

RADIO OPERATOR William Edson Taylor, original Brodie crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV 10/5/1944

No photo available

ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER Robert Doyle Crumpton, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Robert Doyle Crumpton

BALL TURRET GUNNER Gordon Eugene Hetu, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

No photo available

TAIL GUNNER Wilfred Frank Miller, original Brodie crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV

No photo available

FLEXIBLE/WAIST GUNNER Leonard Wood Opie, original Brodie crew member, TBD (to be determined)

Opie and the other Brodie crew waist gunner, Harry Liniger, alternated flying waist with the Brodie crew in the month of August 1944. Opie flew only three missions with the crew and his record with the 384th ends there. The remainder of his WWII service remains unknown.

No photo available

FLEXIBLE/WAIST GUNNER Harry Allen Liniger, original Brodie crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV

Harry Allen Liniger

Five of the enlisted men of the Brodie crew

Far left: Harry Allen Liniger, Waist/Flexible Gunner on the James J. Brodie Crew

I have connected with many children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews of these boys. If I have not connected with you yet, and you are related to any of them, please comment or e-mail me. If anyone can provide pictures of those I don’t have yet, that would be greatly appreciated. They all deserve to be honored for their service and their fight for our freedom.

Original crew lists provided by the 384th Bomb Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

The Boys

On September 28, 1944, the Lead Banana, manned by the Buslee crew, and the Lazy Daisy, manned by the Brodie crew collided after coming off the target at Magdeburg, Germany. Neither crew of the 384th Bomb Group was the original crew as assigned.

That day, the Buslee crew was made up of five original crew members and four fill-ins. The Brodie crew was made up of seven original members and two fill-ins.

These are the two crews as they were that day:

The Buslee crew aboard Lead Banana, 544th Bomb Squad

PILOT John Oliver Buslee, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

John Oliver Buslee

CO-PILOT David Franklin Albrecht, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

David Franklin Albrecht

NAVIGATOR William Alvin Henson II, Gerald Sammons crew, KIA 9/28/1944

William Alvin Henson II

BOMBARDIER Robert Sumner Stearns, Larkin Durden crew, KIA 9/28/1944

No photo available

RADIO OPERATOR Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Sebastiano Joseph Peluso

ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER Lenard Leroy Bryant, original Buslee crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Lenard Leroy Bryant

BALL TURRET GUNNER George Francis McMann, Jr., Stanley Gilbert crew, KIA 9/28/1944

No photo available

TAIL GUNNER Gerald Lee Andersen, Joe Ross Carnes crew, KIA 9/28/1944

Gerald Lee Andersen

FLEXIBLE GUNNER George Edwin Farrar, original Buslee crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV

George Edwin Farrar

 

The Brodie crew aboard Lazy Daisy, 545th Bomb Squad

PILOT James Joseph Brodie, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

James Joseph Brodie

CO-PILOT Lloyd Oliver Vevle, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Lloyd Oliver Vevlve

NAVIGATOR George Marshall Hawkins, Jr., original Brodie crew member, POW Obermassfeld Hospital #1249 (served Stalag 9-C)

No photo available

TOGGLIER Byron Leverne Atkins, James Chadwick crew, KIA 9/28/1944

No photo available

RADIO OPERATOR Donald William Dooley, from Group Headquarters, KIA 9/28/1944

Donald William Dooley

ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER Robert Doyle Crumpton, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

Robert Doyle Crumpton

BALL TURRET GUNNER Gordon Eugene Hetu, original Brodie crew member, KIA 9/28/1944

No photo available

TAIL GUNNER Wilfred Frank Miller, original Brodie crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV

No photo available

FLEXIBLE GUNNER Harry Allen Liniger, original Brodie crew member, POW Stalag Luft IV

Harry Allen Liniger

Fourteen out of the eighteen boys aboard the two B-17’s were lost that day. Not only did they leave behind grieving parents and siblings, but they also left behind at least five wives and three children.

I have connected with many children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews of these boys. If I have not connected with you yet, and you are related to any of them, please comment or e-mail me. If anyone can provide pictures of those I don’t have yet, that would be greatly appreciated. They all deserve to be honored for their service and their fight for our freedom.

Sortie reports provided by the 384th Bomb Group.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

A Family Reunion

Oh, what a month August was! The first half of the month found me planning a Farrar family reunion. For many of us, the reunion would be a time to remember our childhoods together.  It was also the first time many of us cousins, descendants of the nine children of Raleigh Mae and Carroll Farrar, would meet.

The weekend of August 14 – 16 we gathered at Red Top Mountain State Park on the shores of Lake Allatoona in Cartersville, Georgia. We rented cabins and a picnic pavilion and spent the weekend getting acquainted and reacquainted.

We reminisced about stories of our parents growing up in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta. We guessed which aunt or uncle was the subject of family trivia questions. We ate an abundance of homemade goodies, but filled ourselves up more with family love than food. We hugged and laughed and cried a little at the end when the weekend was over. We also vowed not to wait fifty years for the next reunion.

The reunion was also a time to share family pictures and this one was given to me by my cousin Phyllis, the baby in the photo. It was probably taken in 1941. The only Farrar child not in the picture was the oldest, Gerry.

Standing back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt, Janet, Unknown, Carroll, Jr. Standing middle row, L to R: Martha, Dot holding Phyllis, Raleigh, and Carroll, Sr. Kneeling, L to R: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb, and Denney

Standing back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet, Unknown, Carroll, Jr.
Standing middle row, L to R: Martha, Dot holding baby Phyllis, Raleigh, and Carroll, Sr.
Kneeling, L to R: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), and Denney Cobb.

A later Farrar photo that still doesn’t picture all of the Farrar children together does include Gerry.

Standing L to R: Janet, Gene, Carroll Jr, Raleigh Mae, Beverly, Bob, and Ed Kneeling: Gerry

Standing L to R: Janet, Gene, Carroll Jr, Raleigh Mae, Beverly, Bob, and Ed
Kneeling: Gerry

After leaving Red Top Mountain State Park and my Farrar family, my trip back home to Atlanta continued for another week. Lunches and dinners with old friends and co-workers, Reunion Part 2 with my sister Nancy and cousin Terry in Terry’s cabin on the Tennessee River, and an important meeting rounded out the visit.

The meeting? A piece of my father’s history turned into my reality when I met the widow and daughter of Bill Henson, the navigator who lost his life in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision between Lazy Daisy and Lead Banana. My father was the waist gunner on Lead Banana that day and the only one of the crew who survived.

William Alvin Henson II

William Alvin Henson II

I learned from Bill’s daughter that my dad visited with her mother after the war and kept in touch with her for some time. And incredibly, I learned that Henson’s widow’s family, the Whisnant family of Summerville, Georgia, lived next door to my grandfather Carroll’s brother, Baker William Farrar, and his family when she was growing up. Even though Bill Henson’s daughter and I are not related by blood, we are related by our common histories and the brotherhood of the boys of the 384th Bomb Group of WWII.

Oh, what a month!

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

 

The Hensons Visit Chicago

In July 1946, the family of William Alvin Henson II, navigator on the Buslee crew, visited Ed Farrar and the Buslee family in Chicago.  Ed was the only survivor of the mid-air collision that took the lives of William Henson and John Oliver Buslee.

On July 6, the group visited the College Inn in Chicago.

The College Inn in Chicago, Illinois on July 6, 1946 Left to right:  Ed Farrar, Minnie Henson, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Jeanne Henson

The College Inn in Chicago, Illinois on July 6, 1946
Left to right: Ed Farrar, Minnie Henson, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Jeanne Henson

On July 10, they dined at Barney’s Market Club.

At Barney's Market Club on July 10, 1946 Left side of table:  John Buslee, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Gertrude (unknown relationship) Right side of table:  Bill Henson, Minnie Henson, Jeanne Henson, Ed Farrar, Olga Buslee

At Barney’s Market Club on July 10, 1946
Left side of table: John Buslee, Janice Buslee Kielhofer, Gene Kielhofer, Gertrude (unknown relationship)
Right side of table: Bill Henson, Minnie Henson, Jeanne Henson, Ed Farrar, Olga Buslee

The Buslee family in these photos consisted of John Oliver Buslee’s father (John Buslee), mother (Olga Buslee), sister (Janice Kielhofer), and brother-in-law (Gene Kielhofer).

The Henson family in these photos consisted of William Alvin Henson’s father (Bill Henson), mother (Minnie Henson), and sister (Jeanne Henson).

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these great photos.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Mrs. Henson Writes to Mrs. Buslee

On February 1, 1945, William Alvin Henson’s wife, Harriet, wrote a sympathy letter to John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother.  The Buslees had just learned on January 28 that their son had been killed on September 28, 1944 in the same mid-air collision between Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy that claimed the life of William Henson.  Harriet had learned of her husband’s fate just two days before Christmas.  It was her infant daughter’s first Christmas, a holiday she would never be able to celebrate with her father.

February 1, 1945

Dear Mrs. Buslee,

I am so sorry that I have to write this letter. I had prayed that I wouldn’t, because, to say the least, it isn’t very pleasant.

Mrs. Buslee, to say I am sorry is trite, but I really am sorry. To lose a son is different from losing a husband (presuming that we have), and since I have my little girl I feel that I can sympathize with you more, because I just don’t know what I would do if something happened to her.

It isn’t human nature to give up hope. So please don’t, I haven’t. I asked God to bring Bill back to me and I believe He will. Bill has to come back and see his little girl.

Give my best regards to Mr. Buslee and your daughter, and know that I am thinking about you. I feel so close to you even though I do not know you. Maybe when Jay and Bill get back, we can all get together and have a gay time.

Sincerely,

Harriet Henson

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, nephew of John Oliver (Jay) Buslee, for sharing this letter from Harriet Henson to his grandmother.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014