1st/Lt Thomas Gardner Pilot
2nd/Lt Carl West co/pilot
2nd/Lt jacob Brown Nav.
2nd/Lt Jack Bohman Bombardier
T/Sgt Lee Varner Engineer (My dad, the guy with cowboy boots and his elbows covering his face)
T/Sgt Lucius Birbeck Radio
Sgt Raymond Stewart BT Gunner
Sgt Henderson Head LW Gunner
Sgt Alex Shewchuck RW Gunner
Sgt Raymond Cutchall Tail Gunner
Those 2 pictures have a long story and I want to share it with the world. That picture is of my dad's crew shot down 4-11-44 on Rostock mission. They set the plane down basically on a mud flat or beach. My dad is the guy near the back of the line, wearing cowboy boots and has his elbows up to cover the blood on his face. He was in the top turret when a second or third Flak shell exploded and blasted the left side of his face. He never saw out of his left eye after that. You can see a little blood on his forehead. My dad paid the german photographer $5.00 and a pack of smokes to mail a copy of those pictures to his mother to show he was OK. The guy did it. My grandmother knew my dad was alive before the government notified her he was MIA.
Yes the entire crew lived. My dad went to stalag 17B and did the 250 kilometer force march.
Getting back to the pictures. Before my dad died he was quite active in the POW scene and went all over America for reunions. He had the pictures with him everywhere as well as his mission log showing he flew 56 missions. He was a member of the 452ng BG Club or brotherhood. After he died in 1992 we could no longer find those pictures. I have been thinking alot about my dad lately and a couple of weeks ago I started looking for what group he flew for and so on. So I just typed his name and POW on google and up pops Missing planes of the 452nd BG by Ed Hinrich and tells about my dads flight, mission, crew and crash. And one of the paragraphs mention this Phil Irwin who claims to have a picture of the crew and plane. So I looked up Ed Hinrich and called him and ask him about this guy Phil Irwin and if he has any contact information on Phil. He tells me the street he lives on Torquay Shiphay Devon UK. I find this guy via a photoposting site and ask them to please give him my email address so I can ask him about the photos. He contacts me Monday and sends me the JPG images via email Tuesday and is sending me the originals next week. It turns out he collected plane crash photos of German Plane crashes and has written a book about them. Anyway during one of his collecting trips to Germany he found my dad's photo in a LOT of original German government photos and buys the entire lot. It is unbeleivable that 63 years later some guy in england gives me a photo of my dad and plane crew all the way from England and he does not want a dime. He is a great man. Thats the story they all lived most went to Stalag 17B and others Luft 4 (I think)or whatever the spelling. Plane went down just west of shillig Germany. I have been checking almost every photo collecttion on the web to find pictures of my dad or his planes and I have never seen any prisoner photos yet. This could be the only one left in the world. Read more about my dad at Lee Varner - WWII Serviceman - 301st Bombardment Group - 419 Squadron
teammaico Posts: 2 Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:42 am