The Lost, Last Letter

The Lost, Last Letter

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The American Warrior

Guadalcanal SBD VMSB-231 4x6 A VMSB-231 SBD over Guadalcanal, late 1942.

Frank Christen grew up on a Depression-Era farm just outside of tiny Jerseyville, Illinois, graduating from the high school there in 1938 at age 19. He scraped enough together to continue his education at Washington College in St. Louis, then transferred to the University of Texas at Austin. In June 1941, he enlisted in the USNR and was accepting into the flight training program. He learned to fly at Grand Prairie, Texas and graduated the following year from NAS Corpus Christi on May 20, 1942. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and assigned to VMSB-142, a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombing squadron.n3n corpus christi color 4x6

While at the University of Texas, Frank had met Ruth Clark of Corning, New York. He and Ruth were married on July 30, 1942 just before he was assigned to NAS Coronado in San Diego.  The couple lived…

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A very long way from home

Always something new to learn about WW II

John Knifton

If you cast your minds back what seems now a very long time, my continuing researches about the German bomber shot down in St.Just in western Cornwall on September 27th 1942 , had led me to the cemetery in Penzance:

P1500367 XXXXXX

Of the seventy one Second World War burials in this cemetery, the grave of one particular sailor is very noticeable, because he lies such a very, very, long way from his home.

His name was Earl William Graham. Earl was an Able Seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (R.C.N.V.R):

March 29th 1945 cropped

Earl was born in 1917, the son of Arthur John Graham and Gertrude Graham. He was the husband of Regina Graham, of Preston, Ontario, Canada:


Earl Graham, aged just twenty eight, was serving on board H.M.C.S. Teme (K 458) not far off Land’s End, in position 50º07’N, 05º45’W. At 08.22 hours  on March 29th 1945, just six or seven weeks from the end of the conflict, the warship was torpedoed by…

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Schweinfurt Two: sixty B-17s downed, 650 airmen killed

Part two… I had reblogged part one.

John Knifton

I hope that you were able to read my blog post about the American Eighth Air Force’s first raid on the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt. This brave action took place on August 17th 1943, and was a catastrophe. As I wrote a few weeks ago…

“The raid caused a 34 per cent loss of production at Schweinfurt but this was soon made up for by surplus supplies from all over Germany The industry’s infrastructure, while vulnerable to a sustained campaign, was not vulnerable to destruction by a single raid.”

I quoted the casualty figures…

“230 bombers had taken part, and sixty of these were destroyed. Five hundred and fifty two men were killed in the air, and seven poor souls made it back home, but, alas, had already succumbed to their injuries. Twenty one men were badly wounded. Beyond the sixty B-17s shot down, between 55-95 further aircraft…

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The Cadillac of the Skies

Most interesting blog with many subjects

John Knifton

On August 17th, 1943 the Eighth Air Force had tried to eliminate the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt, deep inside the German heartland. Flying in daylight, and unescorted for the vast majority of the trip, the raid had been an audacious catastrophe. Some 230 bombers had taken part, and sixty of these were completely destroyed. As well as these sixty B-17s, a further 55-95 bombers were badly damaged. Many of these were too severely damaged ever to be repaired.

Living legends

The Eighth Air Force regained its composure, made good its losses in both men and aircraft, and, on October 14th 1943, they attacked again.  Flying in daylight, and unescorted for the vast majority of the trip, the raid was arguably a bigger disaster than the previous one. Of the 291 B-17s on the mission, 60 were shot down over enemy territory and another 17 damaged so severely that they had to be scrapped. A…

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Thanks for Getting Back to Me

This is for your eyes only Garry…

Lest We Forget

I always take the time to write back when you post a comment on this blog. I have learned since 2009 that it always pays to answer back.

This blog is not about money. I don’t need money to be online.

This blog is more about paying homage to all who served their country in WWII. They have paid their fair share.

Men like Leading Seaman Ernest Anderson from Edmonton, Alberta. Before Karen wrote, I never knew Leading Seaman Anderson had ever existed except on a list in a book about an unlucky Canadian destroyer.

Karen wrote last week and she was asking for some help.

My dad should be on the lists of men that survived the sinking, but he is not. I have his original records but they are almost unlegible now. Does anyone know if records are still available?

Back in July 2009, I did not know…

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Kenneth G. Roberts DFC, CD

Kennett Roberts who?

Lest We Forget

Little is known about Squadron Leader Ken Roberts.

I looked him up on Google.

Not much.

But since he received a DFC, I knew where to look.

 Click here…

ROBERTS, P/O Kenneth Godfrey (J89779)

– Distinguished Flying Cross

No.158 Squadron

– Award effective 15 March 1945 as per London Gazette dated 27 March 1945 and AFRO 1085/45 dated 29 June 1945.

Born 1922 in Toronto; home there (student); enlisted there 6 May 1942.  Trained at No.5 ITS (graduated 10 October 1942), No.5 BGS (graduated 28 May 1943) and No.1 CNS (graduated 9 July 1943).  Commissioned August 1944.

Postwar he was a Public Relations staff officer, prolific writer and ardent canoist.  Died in Ottawa, 10 July 1997.

This officer has taken part in a large number of operational sorties as air bomber.  He has done excellent work and in the face of the enemy he has always displayed coolness and resolution.  In October 1944 he…

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Use it, or any part thereof, as you see fit…

I had lost this booklet in all the documentation I have gathered since 2010 when I started getting interested in the history of 425 Alouette Squadron.

I have just found it…!

Lest We Forget

Sometimes I undertake to write about something which leads me to uncharted areas. This is one of them.

I bought this book at the RCAF Trenton Museum.

I was on the return trip after going to Hamilton to pay a little visit to George Stewart and going to the RCAF Dunnville Museum before returning home.

This little book was just $2, but it is much more precious than that.

This is was in the book as an attached letter.

This is what Squadron Leader Ken Roberts wrote at the end of his letter… 

Use it, or any part thereof, as you see fit…

On the original letter it is written, answered 29 September 1993.

I figure Captain Earl Hewison wrote back.

This book is an answer to the documentary The Horror and the Glory.

Ken Roberts was probably thinking of The Valor and the Horror documentary series.


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A Newsreel Cameraman’s View of D-Day

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The Unwritten Record

Jack Lieb went to Europe in 1943 with two movie cameras: He brought his 35mm black and white camera to film war coverage for Hearst’s News of the Day newsreels and his 16mm home movie camera to shoot color film to show to his family back home. After the war, Lieb edited the color footage into a film that he would narrate in lectures around the country, in venues as varied as the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. and his daughter’s fourth grade class in Chicago.

In the film below, donated by the Lieb family to the National Archives in 1984, you’ll see D-Day from a perspective different than the official military film or commercial newsreel. With his personal footage, Lieb takes the viewer through the preparations in England, where he spent time with war correspondents Ernie Pyle, Jack Thompson, and Larry LaSueur, to the…

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