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Duke the Spook

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DauLSBall62044
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2008/06/14 16:32:24 (permalink)
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Duke the Spook

I have been in touch with two men from Charleston, SC who are wrting a book about the old Charleston Army Air Base in WWII.  Of course this interested me because that was my father's last stop.  Today very little is left of the old base, making way for road construction, etc.
 
For the past month I have received numerous photos and articles about Charleston AAB courtesty of George Miller.  One photo in particular gave me the shivers and then I had to laugh.  Duke the Spook--evidently was insignia of the 400th Bombardment Group, Charleston.  I can see the sense of humor and the facing death that the men must have considered to come up with this logo.   It is a white skull, representing Duke the Spook wearing a silk top hat, cigarette holder, monocle, Formal Tux with white tie and diamond stick pin, lapel flower.  On either side of the skull is a dice with the 3 sides showing #1, 2, 3.    Another photo George shared shows a Lt. Fitzpatrick taking Duke the Spook for a ride, with the spook emblem on the B24.  George tells me that Duke the Spook was a popular song by Bing Crosby and written by Jimmy Van Heusen.  The sheet music shows the song was dedicated to the 400th Bombardment Group.  Photos show that members of the Group wore the patch although it was unofficial as far as the Air Corps was concerned.   
 
Does this ring a bell with anyone?
 
Darrell Parker did some microfiche research for me at the old Charleston library and found the article about my father's crash with the names and home addresses of the crew.  I will now be following that lead to determine if there are other surviving family members, however nearly 64 years later it is a slim possibility.  I had the names of the crew and general county/states but not addresses before.  Darrell shared that several B-24's crashed around Charleston, so that often there were no news accounts.  Charleston also had German POWs who were assigned to work crews in the area.
 
Thanks to both of these men I continue to learn more about dad's last days.  It's like getting Christmas presents each time they call or send me something.
 
Monday we head back to PA, to my old home town near Pittsburgh.  While visiting my aunt and uncle,  I will be interviewed by the local newspaper editor about my father and the flight and my continuing search for information.  I sent a letter asking how I could place a tribute in the local paper on June 20th (date of the crash.)  The editor is a history buff so jumped on it and said he would like to do a full feature story about us and some other WWII orphans.  It will appear in the Pittsburgh area papers, so I am excited about that opportunity too. 

Patricia L Ball Morrison
Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC

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    Bob Watkins
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    RE: Duke the Spook 2008/06/14 17:07:14 (permalink)
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    If you have access to a scanner it would
    be great if you would post the 'Duke the
    Spook' insignia.

    Bob
    DauLSBall62044
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    RE: Duke the Spook 2008/06/14 17:21:31 (permalink)
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    I have already scanned it--I''ll try posting it--I intended to include it with the email but the file was too large and as I recall I have to squish some of the jpg's down to get posted....Thanks

    Patricia L Ball Morrison
    Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
    June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC
    Bob Watkins
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    RE: Duke the Spook 2008/06/14 17:30:08 (permalink)
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    If your file is to large to post, send the image as a
    Private Message in the 'un-squished' jpeg format.

    Bob
    DauLSBall62044
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    RE: Duke the Spook 2008/06/14 17:31:59 (permalink)
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    Let me try to post Duke the Spook here   Not sure where else it would go.....well it says it worked,  let's see  I'm not seeing the photo here of scanned Duke...?

    Patricia L Ball Morrison
    Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
    June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC
    DauLSBall62044
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    RE: Duke the Spook and 113th 2008/06/14 17:49:09 (permalink)
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    In addition to Duke the Spook the attached is what George provided as insignia for 113th at Charleston AAB....  this is also new to me....

    Patricia L Ball Morrison
    Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
    June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC
    DauLSBall62044
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    RE: Duke the Spook and 113th 2008/06/14 18:26:02 (permalink)
    +1 (1)
    And already I have found the lyrics
     
     
    Top Hatter Group

    July 29, 1943-- This issue of the Air-Scoop was dedicated to the “Top Hatter” Group. The Top Hatters song, which was composed and recordings made through the good offices of Mr. Bing Crosby was featured.

    The lyrics are:








    Duke the Spook

    The night is calm – the sky is clear,
    A perfect set-up for a bombardier.
    Motors roar with an angry spark
    The big B-24’s on their marks;From the ground with shrieks and wails,
    A ghostly figure hits the ether trails,
    A mascot, in a high hat and tails.
    Meet the gallant swell – “Duke the Spook”,
    Charming as all hell – “Duke the Spook”.
    With flowery phrase on his lips
    He’ll annihilate those Nips
    when his killing smile greets the foe.
    Death is done in style, don’t you know?
    Class will win and they’ll give in;
    You’ll shake the hand that shook Berlin
    Oh, “Duke the Spook!”

    Patricia L Ball Morrison
    Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
    June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC
    Bob Watkins
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    RE: Duke the Spook and 113th 2008/06/14 18:57:12 (permalink)
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    Patrica,

    Everything posted just great!

    Good job, and thanks for sharing
    these pieces of history with us.

    Bob
    bernies
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    RE: Duke the Spook and 113th 2008/06/21 16:09:42 (permalink)
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    Interesting that the emblem for the 113th AAF Base Unit says "1943-44."  The 113th AAF Base Unit was organized on 10 Apr 44, replacing the 400th Bombardment Group, which had arrived at Charleston AAF on 15 Dec 42.

    Bernie Shearon
    Push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. Pull the stick back, the houses get smaller (unless you keep pulling -- then they get bigger again)
    margie
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    Re:Duke the Spook 2009/03/26 19:21:25 (permalink)
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    Hello Patricia,
    I am compiling a database of New York airmen killed in WWII.  Would you mind sharing with me the next-of-kin names and addresses for the three NY'ers who were lost on the plane??   This info will eventually go on-line and be displayed at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, NY.  
     
    I am very sorry for the loss of your father.  It's wonderful that you are keeping his memory alive.  I am doing the same for my Uncle, who was lost on a B-17.  In fact, I got so interested in the subject that I started a database of all NY'ers who died while serving in the USAF!   What a tragic time that was.   I had no idea what people went through back then until just recently, when my Aunt passed away and I found all my Father's and Uncle's service papers and letters at her house.   They never talked about my Uncle and now I know why.....
     
    Thanks,
    Margie
    DauLSBall62044
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    Re:Duke the Spook 2009/03/26 21:51:29 (permalink)
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    It's my pleasure to send the information that I have...I can also  provide  copy of the photo of this missing crew but it will not identify the men by name other than my father and one other whose niece recently contacted me.  I will need to send that  through private email.  It will not upload to this reply message...
     
    There is some discrepancy between the Chaplain's Charleston, SC service notice which my mother had saved and the Newspaper clipping from Charleston, SC.  of June 25, 1944.   I also have their service numbers from the copy of the accident investigation report... ....
     
    These are the NY men:
     
    Flight Officer,  bombardier,  Gene J. DePalma   
    143-20   Neegundo Ave., Flushing New York  (Queens Co.)
     
    Sergeant John P. Flynn, radio operator   
       3244 Third Ave,  New York, NY
     
    Cpl. Raymond A Pahucki (Pachucki)  
    records show this man from Oneida New York, but  I have been contacted by his niece and learned he was actually from Scranton, PA.  Her father who is also now dead would not talk about his brother so she has no clue as to  where the NY connection would have been. 
     
    Let me know if you want the service numbers...All these men are on the National WWII Memorial website.   I know that at one time my mother was in contact withthe DePalma's.  I have tried to track that family down without any success.   
     
    I am excited to do anything I can to help have these men of Combat Crew 193 remembered. 
     
    In their memory, 
     
     

    Patricia L Ball Morrison
    Daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
    June 20, 1944 flight crew 193 missing, Bahamas to SC
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