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B-17 found in germany, do you know the pilots name?

Discussion in 'Heavy & Very Heavy Bombers' started by chris1, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    thank you jaap,

    you are welcome to us.

    thanks for research and new pictures. paul m. (son) will be surprised to see them. he intents to vistit the memory place too.

    our guests at the plate event were lorna p. (niece of earl hansen) with gentleman friend john c.

    Erinnerungstafel 2017 022.jpg

    Erinnerungstafel 2017 037.jpg

    Erinnerungstafel 2017 024.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  2. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    I hope this is acceptable to all involved. The Capt McErlane memorial page on findagrave has been updated with the Schutterwald Memorial image https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=173567748 click on the Schutterwald Memorial image for caption; always open to edit suggestions.

    As there was a 2nd Lt. Earl H Hansen presents at the Schutterwald Memorial Ceremony the earlier, rather blank Earl Henry Hansen findagrave page https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=118351396 has been augmented with photos and content, again edit suggestions welcome.

    The remainder of the Capt McErlane Crew findagrave memorials are in need of updating.
    BMBazooka, chris1 and Airwar like this.
  3. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  4. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    jaap, the poem is written by reiner (translated by my sister)
    thx for the link
  5. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Chris can you send me by PM your adress or phone number. Probably my wife and I will visit Schutterwald this
    summer for our holidays.

    chris1 likes this.
  6. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

  7. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Chris for sharing this very special video celebrating the John Thomas McErlane and Crew memorial plate ceremony.

    For many translation of the Newspaper links are not needed if viewed using Google Chrome where translation is automatic. However for others these translation pages are offered to leave no one out of this story:
    Article (1) https://translate.google.com/transl...h-auf-spurensuche--138137224.html&prev=search
    Photo L to R: Clemens Herrmann Chairman, Schutterwald Historical Society; Lorna Polley niece of co-pilot 2nd Lt. Earl H Hansen; and Martin Holschuh, Mayor of Schutterwald
    Schutterwald, McErlane Crew Memorial June 2017 [1].jpg

    Article (2) https://translate.google.com/transl...g-vor-einem-amerikanischen-helden&prev=search
    Photo L to R: Two unnamed children "memorial bookends" (perhaps representing the children Capt McErlane likely saved that snowy late January day in 1945), Mayor Martin Holschuh, and Clemens Herrmann
    Schutterwald, McErlane Crew Memorial June 2017 [2].jpg
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  8. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I'll post here (in 2 posts) material from Lorna Polly about her uncle (the co-pilot) Earl H Hansen (Uncle Bussie). Quite collection of items. Of general interest might be items related to his training, the telegrams received by the family when he went missing and the letters he wrote as a POW. Included also is a letter from McErlane's brother Peter. Hansen's story of the capture does reflect his ability as a raconteur ;-)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  9. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Part 2

    Attached Files:

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  10. Norden B.S.

    Norden B.S. New Member

    Just wanted to thank everyone who contributed to this thread, RSwank, Kingman, Chris, lorna, etc. i loved the correspondence from Uncle Bussie. My Father mentioned meeting Hansen at a camp, but lost track of him once they were moved. If he had known that his co-pilot was in the movies, particularly a Western, he would have been delighted, fascinated, and amazed.

    When my Dad died, there wasn't much to find on the Internet about the 385th or his crew. If I have a regret in life, it's that I couldn't find a members of the crew to here their stories first-hand. My memories of my Father come from snippets about the war and I do mean snippets. This is probably the experience of most of the children of the greatest generation.

    Reconstructing the crash in this thread has brought my Father back to life and cleared-up my foggy memory. I can't think of a better gift, and I can't thank everyone enough.
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  11. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rolland for sharing this with us.

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  12. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    the hansen file is Highly recommended to read,

    to highlight:
    the letter of pete mcerlane, bussies adress book, bussies touchdown on a car (this story is doubted by hansen family but a nice story)
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  13. Norden B.S.

    Norden B.S. New Member

    I missed Pete McErlane's letter. Could someone tell me what page it's on?
  14. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Page 16 of Part 2. Dated February 21, 1949.
  15. Norden B.S.

    Norden B.S. New Member

    Rolland, thank you. I found it.

    Earl Hansen's accounts, much more detailed than my Father's memory some 35 years later, are similar. He remembered being separated from enlisted men, moved to a camp, interrogated and then moved (his account) by rail to the central camp around Frankfurt. if I recall correctly, he met Hansen at the first camp after officers were separated, but never saw him once they were transported to the much bigger camp around Frankfurt. At my Father's funeral, a downed fighter pilot from his home town met my Father in the camp and said he never saw him again. I believe my Father was moved to a prison hospital around Heidelberg-although I'm not sure if it was a civilian hospital that was treating wounded American officers or a prison hospital inside the Stalag. My Father was treated for an appendicitis (successfully) at the German hospital and the first of back problems that required numerous surgeries. My Father received very good treatment by German doctors (according to him). His appendix later ruptured and he almost died right after the war. He also was "butchered," (his term) in a V.A. hospital and it took 4 operations to try and fix the first operation. Disc operations were serious surgeries in those days and my Father spent most of 5 years in a body cast after the war. His weight dropped lower than it had in prison camp (according to him).

    I included this because I'd read somewhere that there was a high incidence of back trouble in those Air Corps servicemen who flew in the winter of 44-45 due to the rough weather in the harsh winter of that year. Aside from the loss of life, war has a lot of costs that too often, aren't considered. The psychological damage from PTSD (called battle fatigue in those days) wasn't diagnosed much less treated. How much alcoholism stemmed from that was never measured. The lack of treatment and rehabilitation for war injuries is another cost.

    To give you an example, after 5 major back surgeries, my Father had a section of his spine that literally showed up black on an X-ray. His medical records looked like a set of encyclopedias. his medical records listed him as 40% disabled, but it took a lot of physical fitness and being naturally thin, to keep it below 60%. He lived on codeine and aspirin that eventually also took its toll. In '95 he checked into a hospital in N.O. thinking they'd put him in rehab for a codeine addiction. The hospital said that didn't even have records for someone on codeine for 50 years. Their suggestion, keep taking it.

    He never regretted his service and wanted to get into the fight. He remained stoic, but he paid a price for his service every day. His injuries had an impact on his family-as well. Of course, he was one of many and he'd be the first to say that many had it worse and that the heroes are the ones who didn't make it back. It is certainly true in John McEerlan's case.

    The cost in lives, property, and heartache is simply over-whelming. It makes John McErlane's virtuous act all the more heroic in the midst of chaos. It wonderful, that his heroism has been memorialized. About John McErlane, I can add little about a man that I've never met. But, I can contribute this story. The context is crucial. My Father transferred to the 8th from the 15th. While in the 15th, he'd been offered a battle field promotion to head to the Pacific as the bombardier for a former All American football player whom my Father described as a "Ham-handed pilot," and a blowhard. To him, it went hand in hand. When I asked him about Mac, he described him as "quiet, steady, and a very decent guy." He said that if he had the perfect temperament for a bomber pilot. He said that the so called blow-hard liked him and requested him because he said that he covered for his lack of skills as a pilot. He said Mac made him a better bombardier and that they always had bombing scores near, or at the top. He liked Mac personally, and had a lot of respect for his skills as a pilot. He would not be surprised that Mac did the right thing.
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  16. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    dear norden b.s. many thanks for sharing those profound thoughts and memories.
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  17. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    as it is written above, this forum soon will finish and end.

    edgar, eugen, me and schutterwald historic society thankfully were your guests here on the internet.

    the mystery of schutterwald crash fortunately was solves thank to your generous help.

    special thank to rolland, jaap and scott (kingman).

    yours chris
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