Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day Dedication 2010

At the inception of this blog I had not yet
been able to locate any of the family members
of the crew of the 415 Bomb Squadron; but
my determination paid off. Today I am now
in contact with four of the crew's family members:
Mrs. Swain, wife of Bob Swain, the navigator;
Mrs. Congleton, wife of John Congleton, the
copilot, and also his granddaughter, Kristen;
Mrs. Scott, wife of Walter Scott; Ray, Steve
and Wendy Gonyea, the children of Raphael
Gonyea, radio and top turret gunner.

Though we've never met, I feel as though they
are my family. I'd like to think somehow that
our fathers', their husbands' spirits led to our
paths crossing. My life will forever be enriched
that I was given the opportunity to finally hear
from them, and I look forward to the day that we
may meet in person.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chiao Italy!

(Continuation of Captain Estes's War Memoirs)

"Well, after we finished combat crew training they
decided they were going to put us on a train and send
us to Langley Field, Virginia. There on beknowing to
us they assigned us to a B24 brand new and told us
to fly that buzzard to Italy. Well, we didn't know where
we were going whether it was gonna be the Pacific or the
European theatre of action, so I didn't know whether
it was better to be sent to Italy or whether it'd be better
to be sent to the Pacific, but they made up their minds
for me, so we went to Italy.

We were assigned this airplane and we took it off and
flew it up to Gander Field, Newfoundland. At Gander Field
is where I started my short snorter. Now a short snorter
is something that everybody who has gone overseas knows
about a short snorter, but they don't know where it got
its name from or where it was first started; but the idea
behind the short snorter is you take a bill from the
country that you are leaving from, and this was
Newfoundland; and so I got me a Newfoundland bill
and got some of my crew to sign it and put the date
on it, and it was the beginning of a rather long
short snorter."

(To be continued.)

Gander Field, Newfoundland

Newfoundland One Dollar Bill

This is a picture of a Newfoundland
dollar bill similar to what Papa
may have used for his short snorter.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Crew is Born

Crew of the 415th Bomb Squadron of the 98th Bomb Group
Kneeling from the left: Sgt. John Norris, lower ball gunner;
Sgt. Red Cochran, waist gunner; Sgt. Harry Henry, tail gunner;
Sgt. Raphael Gonyea, turret gunner and radioman; Don Brown;
Top row from left: Captain Charles Estes, Jr., pilot; Sgt. Frank
Delois, flight engineer and waist gunner; John Walter Congleton,
copilot; Bob Swain, navigator. (not pictured - Walter Scott, Lt. Jim
Mulligan and Lt. Ernie Swanson, bombadier and Lt. Joe Dobkin,
2nd navigator. )

Out on the Town

Picture of some of the crew. I'm not sure where this picture was taken.
Perhaps Nebraska or Italy. No matter. Looks like they are having a good time.

And no, this is definitely NOT my mom.

Another photo of the crew enjoying their evening
with their dates.

Yet another photo of my dad and his date with another couple.