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Do any of you have a relative that was a pilot in WW1 or WW2?

Do any of you have a relative that was a pilot in WW1 or WW2?   

80 members have voted

  1. 1. WW1

    • Yes
      4
    • Never saw action
      2
    • No
      74
  2. 2. WW2

    • Yes
      32
    • Never saw action
      6
    • No
      42


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My Great Grandfather flew the Sopwith Camel in Egypt and got his wings.

My Grandfather was training to fly the TBM Avenger but the war ended before he could see combat action

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Grandfather in the RFC driving generals about in cars. Father in the RAF driving lorries around the western desert. Absolute groundhogs in my family!

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My wife's Grandfather installed bomb sights in B17s and his brother was a USAAF Col. He commanded a B17 Sqd. flying missions out of N Africa. And her Great uncle was Admiral Raider.

My Grandfather was a USN Office at Peal harbor and Normandy. He was on 2 ships lost to enemy action and a floating dry-dock lost to the storm after D-Day. He had a hard war but survived.

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My maternal grandmother was in the WRAF (Women's Royal Air Force) during WWI, though as a clark/telephonist rather than a pilot! In fact, she enrolled in late 1917, before the RAF was founded (April 1918), so she must have either started in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) or the WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service). She was serving at RAF Eastchurch when she was demobilised. Sadly I've not been able to find out anything about her brief military career beyond the little her discharge form reveals. Any other records seem to have been lost when the War Office Repository was bombed during WW2.

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My grandfather and great grandfather were in the Luftwaffe.

My great grandfather was in Communications in both WWI and II. In 1941 he was on the eastern front in charge of the 22nd regiment, later the 38th (under the command of General Obst von Richtofen - nephew of the famous Red Baron). He spent a lot of time at "Tatsy" (Tatsinskaya Airfeild, BOS Grid 1602-7, and also "Moro" (Morozovsky Airfeild - Grid 1406-5 which based Ju52's and He111's respectively to supply Stalingrad) where he worked on setting up communications between the different airfields. He was flown around in a Fieseler Storch which he affectionately called "Olga."  

Once he was flown in "Olga" as observer/rear gunner over 100km of Russian occupied territory into Stalingrad and was jumped by two Yaks. The pilot was good and evaded the attacks until the yaks moved on. Lots of crazy and true stories came from this period of time, especially around his escape from Tatsy when they were over run by T-34s. I understand he was an Oberst with three regiments under his command before the end of the war.

My grandfather on the other hand got his C badge on a Grunau "Baby" glider (Started on a SG38) but was too young to see aerial action. He was 1 of 2 out of forty in his group to survive the war, and is alive today at 91. There are a few occasions where he should have been killed. I will quote one of his stories of being strafed by a Typhoon:

"We were being transported by a train when Hawker Typhoons flew over and fired explosive bullets at the train. The train stopped and people ran out just in time and laid flat out in a long single line. One of the typhoons overshot and instead of the shells hitting the train, they fell right along the line of people on the ground. One shell had just missed my head and hit theground ahead of me, and another shell hit the ground just behind me. I got pieces of shrapnel in the back of my neck. The pieces had to be scraped out of my skin later. It was frighteningly close close call. If the gunner had just hit the machine gun fire a fraction of a second before, they would have gotten every one of us. I would have been a direct hit and killed for sure."

 

My Grandfather was also attacked by P-38's, P-47's on multiple occasions, and was "Bombed" by a P-51 (It was in the final days of the war and was actually just drop tanks). In April '44 he was asked to volunteer to fly a "Stummel Habicht" glider packed full of explosives, which were to be towed by Bf-109s above US bomber formations. They were then to dive the glider into the formation activating a five second time delay fuse. The whole idea was scrapped before any missions of that nature were ever flown. Later on his group was to fly the He-162 but the war ended before that, thank god.

After the war the family escaped East Germany to West Germany. My grandfather did the scouting and crossed the border about twenty times. Escaping from captivity a handful of times. My great grandmother bribed the Russian guards with Vodka to get some of their stuff across the border.

On a side note,  after the war my grandfather became good friends with Oscar Boesch [flew Fw-190's on the eastern & western fronts, credited with 18 victories]. He kept a chunk of a wooden spitfire prop in his basement, which he shot down right over his airfeild. Here is a pic of Oscar with Erich Hartmann, which Erich autographed. I was lucky enough to fly with Oscar in a glider once.

My stepdad's uncle [Max Guschewski] was also a 110 gunner, and was shot down in the Battle of Britain by a Polish Spitfire pilot Jan Zurakowski who later became an Avro Arrow test pilot. 

 
Lot's more info where that came from, if you're hungry for more. Fam' is workin on a life story and it's about 100 pages now.

Edited by SCG_Hobo
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My grandmother's father Clifford Shaw was a corporal in the RAF Volunteer Reserve and had a desk job (clerk) in Cairo. He was also a dentist's secretary/receptionist. The only story I remember him telling (apart from the time that Uncle Trevor trekked down from Port Said to find him) was about him running for cover when Cairo was being bombed by Stukas. He was not A1 fit, because he'd had most of his small intestine removed due to an infection as a child. I don't think he ever flew in an aeroplane in his life. 

 

Still, he managed to get my father and me into aircraft scale models and flight. I suspect he always wanted to be a pilot.

Edited by No.615_Woop

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My dad was a P40 pilot but would rarely talk about his experiences. He did a lot of the nose art for his squadron and later was a successful commercial artist.  

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My great-uncle was a navigator for the RAF during WW2. His bomber was shot down over Burma, but the crew managed to walk through japanese held territory back to Allied lines over several weeks.

 

 

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I have a grandfather who was ground crew for Bomber Command (and whose airfield was reportedly strafed by an intruder - although family accounts differ on this). Also a grand-uncle who was a pilot and saw action. There was also a pilot who lived down the street (had one story I heard from both). All Canadians. It is sad really.

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A friend of mines Grandfather was in RAF Bomber Command during WW2 as a navigator in Lancasters. He obviously survived his full tour including several missions over Berlin. He talked about the war and his experiences constantly and always wore a metal Lancaster badge on his tie, he was quite rightly very proud of his contribution to the war effort. His family would groan when he started his war stories but I had the honour of sitting with him one evening following a wedding and he talked non stop about his time in the RAF.

 

He told me all about night fighters and how they would approach there target, he talked about movie mistakes when the aircraft didn't shoot to allow for deflection and about the fear of flak  over enemy territory. One of the stories he told was of when he left his position to take a "star shot" to assess exactly where they were and upon returning to his postion a piece of shrapnel had gone straight through his navigation postion stool!

 

He's still very much alive and kicking to this day well into his 90's.

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No WWI airmen in my family, all army types.

In WW2 a great-uncle was a Lancaster wireless operator and my gran's cousin flew P-40s and F4Us in the Solomons. Post war he was part of the occupation force in Japan and spent a lot of time liaising with other forces so flew all sorts like Aussie P-51s and RAF Mk.XIVs. Also flew Venoms during the Malayan Emergency.

Edited by HBPencil

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My grandfather born in Feb 1917 in Pisa.

Joined Regia Aeronautica during the 30's.

 

Since 1940 was in North Afrika ( here report a link where he fought with his fellows with 13°  Gruppo , 78 squadriglia http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_taddia.htm )

with Cr 32, Cr 42 anc Mc 200.

 

He foughts vs  Gloster Gladiators, Blenhaim  and Hurricanes and escorted SM 79

 

In 1942 fling Mc 200 was wounded during strafing australian columns in via Balbia( I remember the hole in his leg)

 

In italy he served in the North to patrol aera of Milan and after he served with 24 Gruppo Caccia, 370 squadriglia in Sardegna since May to August 1943.

 

There susbstained several fights vs P38's USAF.

 

He was disbanded after 8th September when Italy declared the armistice,he was at Metato ( Lucca) airfield taking practice with DW 520.

 

After the war joined new Aeronautica Militare Italiana, and he flew with 4° Stormo caccia: P51, P38,P39, sptfire Mk 9 ( F1)

Last one Group  was 46ma Aerobrigata di Pisa on C119 Firechild and performed mission in Congo and was colleague of all pilots they lost their lives in Congo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindu_atrocity).

He flew back the remains in Italy of these poor pilots

 

His logbook declare shot down 1 gloster , 1 Hurricane and 1 P 38 and 1 blenheim in collaboration

 

Regards

Edited by ITAF_Rani
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My father was in the RCAF as an electronics and instrument tech. He was involved with maintaining and testing new nav systems, autopilots, radar etc. Based in Leeming he flew mostly test flights in Lancs, Halifaxs and a couple of Mosquitoes. Saw a captured FW190 at the base in Leeming and was strafed one night by Ju 88 intruders that followed the bombers home.

Recalled an incident where a buddy of his was playing hangar pilot and accidentally started a fire on board a Lancaster that had a 4000 lb blockbuster in it. His buddy got out and ran like hell. It sent one of the engines over a mile and killed a cow. On my 5th or 6th birthday he gave me a model Spitfire Mk III and took me up in a Cessna. He took me to the Natl Air museum in Dayton where I came face to face with the awesome 190D-9. That was a long time ago. I've been hooked ever since.

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My grandmothers brother was Luftwaffe Pilot and died over the mediterranen sea.

 

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Uncle was training to be a FAA pilot when the WW2 ended. Had his wings but wasn't assigned to a squadron.

Dad was WAG in Wellingtons in CC.

Another uncle was in the RCAF, but not aircrew.

 

Growing up had friends whose fathers were pilots. Two were Spitfire pilots. One flew out of Malta and the other was shot down over France and became a POW. Spent time in the POW camp that the Great Escape was from. The other pilot flew Sunderlands.

 

Named after a family friend who never returned, MIA. SKUD he was based at Leeming in 429.

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I'm told a relative on my mother's side was a Hurricane pilot during the Battle of Britain.  He was killed by Helmut Wick.

Edited by Feathered_IV
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I had a relative that was a belly gunner on a B-17.

 

Not much flying in our blood... lots of soldiers though... Korea, WWII, WWI, Civil War... long family tradition of getting shot but not dying lol. 

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Like many Luftwaffe pilots my grandfather had a somewhat chaotic career with lots of transfers:

 

2.(F)/Aufklärungsgruppe ObdL (1940/1941)

Überführungskommando Luftzeuggruppe 3 (1941/1942)

Flugzeugüberführungsgeschwader 1 (1943/1944)

10./Kampfgeschwader 6 (1944)

8./Kampfgeschwader(J)6 (1944/1945)

 

 

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Well, my last Name appears on the Wochenschau Luftwaffe Reels, and it is traceable to very few sources in the Rhineland and most common there. And apparently on my Fathers Side a Great Grand Uncle and Great Grandfather were on the Balkans involved with the Luftwaffe somehow, and at least the Great Grand Uncle also worked as an Aircraft Mechanic  after the War. But it's all quite nebulous. 

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Forgot, tho not WW1 or WW2. A sister in law's father set a trans Canada time record in a CL-13 Sabre.

 

Juri, you had one lucky grandfather.

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27 minutes ago, MiloMorai said:

Juri, you had one lucky grandfather.

It was a close call for him. He was wounded in ground combat a few days before the war ended, when the Prague uprising started. The troops of the Vlasov army revolted, joined the insurgents and attacked the airfield where his unit was based. He was evacuated to the west and therefore wasn't captured by the Soviets or Czechs.

Edited by Juri_JS

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Brother of my grandmother was crew member in a Ju52 and shot down in the war. 

Grandfather being alone in a wood near the frontline was hunted by a single IL-2 but survived. 

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My Granduncle was a BF109 pilot in the 13. (slow.)/JG 52 , killed 1943 by friendly fire at Kuban.

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Wife's grandfather - Hellcat pilot.

I created a 3D model/render and print of it for the family a few years ago.

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Posted (edited)

My fathers, father and his brother were both Scottish Highland infantry men at Gallipoli in 1915 after which they were asked to volunteer for the flying corps, which they did...

 

So they were shipped to Egypt and joined 67 Sqn RFC (Royal Flying Corps) / 1 Sqn AFC (Australian Flying Corps) where they did their flight training and then on to Palestine where the unit went into combat with the Ottoman Empire.

 

My Grandfather told of some details like how there were quite a few one armed fitters due to starting accidents, hand dropped bombs and of successfully attacking a convoy only to find out days later it was one of their own.

 

My Granduncle continued after WWI with what became the RAF as a test pilot and had to bail once when he lost a wing.

 

Post WWI my Grandfather moved to Australia, only to return less than 20 years later to Scotland for WWII, this time in the British Army as a Captain in the pay corps. I always found this move curious as he had no obligation to do so, had a family and a good going business in Australia.

 

He knew some curious people too, like Colin Gubbins, who as a friend of the family, parted with his old 1944 Willy's jeep to my father in the 1950's. My father told us that "old man Gubbins" had been the head of the British secret service during the war and this had been his personal jeep that he was allowed to keep, but we weren't allowed to tell anyone. Even as a kid I was more that a little skeptical about stuff and never took him seriously. Years later after my father died, I was given the jeep, which I still have, what's left of it, needs a total rebuild and I mean total. I checked the registration document and "old man Gubbins" was actually Major General Sir Colin Gubbins and had a Monopoly board address of 99a Park Lane London W1. This got my interest and I started to look into stuff. During WWII the then Colonel Gubbins was indeed the head of S.o.E. Special operations Executive and that was not all. He was a fascinating individual with an equally fascinating military and post military career.

 

I did some contracting for the RAF around that time and when there were special forces on base they were logged in as pay corps or other such non-attention grabbing stuff. With all this in mind I did as much research as I could about my Grandfather. British government was zero help, but when quizzing my Aunt she said he was based in Scotland, but would be away for weeks sometimes, but they were never allowed to know more.

 

Looking into his WWI unit I found that it's squadron leader at one point was none other than Arthur Tedder, subsequently Lord Tedder, who was RAF Air Marshall for the MTO during Malta and 2IC to Eisenhower in SHEAF for D-Day. So he knew some serious people and I don't think he was a pay clerk, but I don't really know. I like to think he was a Lysander pilot during WWII, but have no way of knowing...thus far :) 

 

 

As some have moved from relatives, to relatives by  marriage and even just relatives of friends, I want to include two more WWII aviators I was connected to.

 

An uncle, by marriage was a Seafire pilot in the Fleet Air Arm who had an odd nickname Kio (sp) we never knew how it was spelled but it was pronounced K-eye-oh if that makes sense. Anyhow it made sense years later when reading about the FAA's only ever attack on an enemy carrier, it's name, the Kaiyō. My guess is that he was there, told the story a few times when he got home and that was it.

 

And the last one was a US Naval Aviator whose surname was Darrow. He had died from his injuries after managing to get his aircraft back on deck somewhere in the Pacific. His widow returned to Scotland and lived next door to me while I was a kid. She told me about him, showed photos and before she passed on, gave me the Kodak camera they had when they got married, which I still have, is still in it's original box and functions perfectly.

 

@Novice-Flyer

Thanks for opening this interesting subject.

Edited by Pict
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My uncle was KIA in a B-24... "Baby Shoes" in the ETA (if anyone has any info on this plane I would be eternally grateful... can't find much on it).

 

He was a flight engineer... and I'm an A&P mechanic... so I feel a certain connection with him though, of course, we never met. 

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B24J Baby Shoes:

According to this site: https://www.458bg.com/group-aircraft, the aircraft serial number was 42-50555

Another picture of it over here: https://www.458bg.com/ferrycrews4.htm

This site http://492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=showAircraft&aircraftPage=42-50555 lists it as being returned to the USA at the end of the war. It has some pictures of it...

Picture of it on this site: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/19893, with a crew in front ... 

Yet another picture: http://www.b24bestweb.com/babyshoes-v2-4.htm

 

Is this all within your "can't find much on it", and am I typing this like in vain?  :)  Them pages just pop op and out googling its name and serial... 

Have Fun!

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Not my family, but a friend and colleague of mine, his second cousin (family trees are fascinatingly bizarre) was an ace killed in the First World War.

 

I haven't had a chance to research him further yet, but we did go visit his grave when we were in France a few months ago.

 

Interesting experience (to say the least) to know that he was shot down likely very near the farm where he's currently buried.

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Just before ww2, my granddad became an NCO pilot in the part of the Netherlands Naval Airservice that was deployed in the Netherlands East Indies at the time. Here he flew those big Do 24 flying boats during the first stages of the war with Japan. He reached Australia, despite leaving wife and children behind and spent the war years flying from Ceylon to Cape town and back in those big PBY Catalina flying boats.

 

He joined the Dutch Airforce after the war and was the 1st pilot to survey the storm damage of february 1953...

 

About ten to fifteen years or so ago, I kind of managed to get it out of him that he was a survivor of the Broome attack of March of '42. It changed my view of him. I didn't make him a hero to me, it just made him Lucky.

 

I do have some other good memories of him as well. Just prior to his death he was interviewed by one of the national tv stations aboard the only Catalina flying boat we had in the Netherlands at the time. When it was aloft he was a little sad that he couldn't sit in the front seat..

 

He lived to be 100 years old, and what is the most humbling to me is that his story was included in the setup for the NMM, the National Military Museum we have over here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting stories.

 

Not having such relatives myself, I do well remember one onstance when together with my folks we visited a former classmate of my mothers in NYC, an addlebrained but sophisticated lady. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something black she put up in one of her windows that clearly was not a sewing machine. I pointed at it in disbelief and she said that this would be some bomb aiming device used in the second world war and she got that from a relative of her, a certain Mr. Norden who invented that thing. The optics were dusty and it was just the aiming „football“, nevertheless a surprise.

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Ww1 - My great grandfather was in the 5th Battalion, South Staffs Regiment. He survived, & became a Councillor in Darlaston, West Midlands & had a street there named after him, being Lowe Avenue, which had a bomb dropped on it WW2 destroying a couple of houses.

 

WW2 - My grandfather was a sand caster at FH Lloyd in Darlaston, West Midlands & classed as a protected industry worker. During WW2 he was engaged in making tanks, but not able to find out which tanks he would have made.

 

Because of his protected industry worker status, he was also an auxiliary fireman, but never talked about his service as a fireman, but you can imagine some of things he saw. Apparently, he was called to Coventry when it was bombed.

 

On a lighter side, he stayed on past retirement to complete the castings he was working on for the Thames flood barrier.

 

 

Edited by fergal69

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Hi All

 

My Grandfather George Holmes was a pilot with the RNZAF but flew for 163 Squadron RAF in Mosquitos at the end of the war.

 

Like many others he didn't open up about his experiences to many people. He was sickened by the thought of possible civilian deaths. I was lucky enough to have his ear and as a very inquisitive grandson managed to pull alot of amazing stories, including..... seeing the conning tower of a surfaced german Uboat in the middle of his convey just outside the panama canal. The Uboat was so close the ships guns couldn't aim down. How he felt when he learned that his first operational target was Berlin. He talked of how terrifying the search lights were and the experience of being caught briefly in them. The Flak and illumination over targeted cities. His squadron never lost a plane and the only damage he received was a small hole in his tail from flak.

 

Here he is on the left with his navigator Willie Walters to the right, standing in front of their D for Duck Mossie

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

IMG_2979.JPG

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I had a great uncle that was a gunner in Halifaxes and my old Headmaster flew Mosquitos but none of my relatives were pilots in the war as far as I know.

 One interesting link is that I read the book 'Carrier Pilot'  and was curious because it made several references to a Commander HA Monk and sometimes referred to him as 'Eric' Monk. I had used to help out with a local Air Scout group a few years earlier and they had a District Commissioner called Eric Monk who took a special interest in the group and often visited but he was Royal Navy which I though odd considering they were an Air Scout group.  I checked and it was the same person, holder of the DSM  & Bar, survivor of the sinking of the Ark Royal and later the commander of 1833 sqn. Tragically he had died the previous year. If I had realised who he was I would have grilled him relentlessly for every story he had!

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The tradition of the citizen soldier (volunteering for service during wartime) has been strong in both sides of my family for over 100 years.

My grandfather was an American infantryman and gunner in a machine gun battalion during WW1. He received a battlefield commission for his actions in combat. In WW2 he reenlisted and served as a Staff Sergeant for the duration.

My father was a B-24 pilot. He was killed in action in February 1944 when his aircraft was shot down over France.

My mother remarried after the war to a man who had been a first sergeant of a Texas National Guard artillery battery. His battalion was called to duty and deployed to the Dutch East Indies in 1941. My stepfather was on board a troop transport ship, five days past Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. He was fighting on the Island of Sumatra when the allied forces surrendered and spent 3 ½ years as a prisoner of war in a Japanese pow compound north of Nagasaki. The prisoners saw and felt the blinding light and vibration of the atomic weapon dropped on Nagasaki, although except for some broken glass there was no damage or casualties.

Ironically, my uncle (my stepfather’s brother) was ground crew chief of The Great Artiste, one of the B-29s participating in the atomic attacks against Japan. For several weeks, my uncle who knew where the pow compound was located, felt he may have been instrumental in his brother’s death.

My service was as an infantry officer and as an AH-1G Cobra pilot in Viet Nam.

 

 

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My Mum's grandfather was a Wellington pilot in Egypt. 

 

My Dad's father was a Dutch resistance fighter.

 

He had some amazing stories including one about having to impersonate a Nazi officer to recover a rifle from a Dutch farmhand who didn't want to give it to the resistance out of fear. He had a lot of these stories published in the Christchurch newspaper in New Zealand (where we lived) a few years before his passing. 

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I had a relative by marriage who was a young USMC Corsair pilot aboard USS FRANKLIN...had to abandon ship to escape the flames.

 

Great guy, RIP.

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My grandfather, from my father's side assisted in the finalization of assembly for B-17s and later B-29s. On a few occasions he had to fly out with the planes to make sure the equipment was working correctly.

When I was little, I remember my grandfather talking to a few of his war friends during a holiday get together and I was sitting nearby. This was back in the mid 90s. Even though I was small and this was back in my single digit years, I still remember this story very well. I remember my grandfather saying that one day very early in the morning before the sun had risen. He was in a hanger watching a crew load up a B-29 with little tractor and a cart. The cart had a very large looking bomb that he had never seen before strapped to it. He watched as the crew proceeded to get the cart stuck into something like a small mechanics pit in the floor or a ditch outside. (I cannot remember the exact wording of what caused it to be stuck)  So now this large bomb on a little cart was now stuck and the crew was driving the tractor back and forth widely trying to free it and making for an interesting spectacle to watch by everyone else. My grandfather watched this show for a good hour or so before going over to help them. When he walked over and talked with them for a minute he decided to have them all push on the cart from the side as he drove the tractor which would free it from being stuck. My grandfather was a farmer all his life so driving a tractor and getting it unstuck from mud was almost second nature to him. After a few moments and lots of elbow grease they managed to free the cart. They all said thanks for his help because they were now far behind on schedule and it was important this arrived on time. They were actually about to cancel the flight all together because of the delay. He then helped them load the bomb into the B-29 making sure nothing else would happen. He noticed the bomb had little boy on the side and thought that was a fitting name for such a large bomb that barely fit in the world's largest bomb bay. Then a day or two goes by as everything is back to normal and then suddenly the news papers go flying and everyone is talking the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan. It took my grandfather several weeks to realize what happened that night and without him the bomb probably would have not been dropped on that day. He said he felt cold knowing he helped in something that killed so many people.

I never heard him speak of this story again and I have no idea how true it actually is. I have looked high and low for any details to affirm his experience. But sadly, history seems to have not recorded it as it would of been more a trivial moment. So there it is, a story I do not often share from my grandfather who he himself only shared it once. Of course some details have probably been lost through my memory over time. But I hope you enjoyed reading it. 

 

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