Help locate my grandfather's AAF unit

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Randy Wells, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Randy,
    It is pretty easy when you're scanning the document scan at 200 to 300 dpi keeping it small enough below the 2 MB max allowable size. Bottom of your own post click on Upload a File tab, opens a file browser, select your document and open, upload should be pretty fast. Once it has uploaded you could be done and the doc would remain a Thumbnail below your post (still accessible by all), or below your last line of text (new line) click on the Full Image tab just to the right of your attachment, this will embed the attachment/document/photo full size in your post at the point of the (new line). The new line avoids jumbling up your text with images.

    As to better things do. The purpose of this forum is to help new researchers such as yourself find as many answers as possible toward whatever AAF goal they may have. Really no trouble at all, and this is what we do.
    Scott
     
  2. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    articles and an cartoon
     

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  3. Randy Wells

    Randy Wells New Member

    ok...here goes...
     

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  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Randy,
    The image of the Master Index Card for your grandfather T/Sgt Robert Byron Wells is very readable. Unfortunately there is little new information here as to his service. The one item that stands out here is his discharge 11 July 1944. This would suggest that he was injured or wounded to such a degree he was discharged on this date. This is rather unusual unless the injury was so sever that a change to lighter duty would not help with discharge the only remedy. Does this match in any way the family history for your grandfather and his injuries during the war?
    Scott
     
  5. Randy Wells

    Randy Wells New Member

    Yes it does match.
     
  6. Randy Wells

    Randy Wells New Member

    The story my dad relayed was that he was struck in the head by a propeller blade but that always seemed far fetched to me. Seems like a spinning propeller meeting human flesh would result in death. The info I have on his hospital admissions states "First Diagnosis, Code 4574-Psychosis, schizophrenia, paranoid type." This is the obvious reason for his July 1944 discharge...at least in my opinion.
     
  7. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Not spinning, but probably moving. Numerous reasons why a propeller would be moving but not 'spinning'. Could have been bumping the starter to move pistons or other engine components into a different position for maintenance work and he was looking the other way. Also consider the possibility that the propeller itself was not moving at all but the plane it was attached to was being moved in some fashion. I'm sure people here could come up with a dozen scenarios for being hit with a propeller but the engine not actually running.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 11:00 AM
  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Randy,
    I tend to agree with Hal regarding a turning, not spinning prop. A severe concussion could result in the described diagnosis and AAF discharge. Searching the family history a bit nothing was found that would suggest this diagnosed condition was permanent and your grandfather appears to have recovered without "outward" signs of this injury. The war was not kind to your family with your grandfathers younger brother Pfc. Norris Byron Wells Jr. KIA 28 August 1944 (occurring after your grandfathers injury). He was serving with the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division who participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France with commencement of landings 15 August 1944. He is still interred in France https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56511437 (born 23 October 1924) no bio here, a task you might wish to tackle in time, also https://www.abmc.gov/node/421040#.WPuHkeSGOM8 For Dragoon, see http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/072/72-31/CMH_Pub_72-31.pdf

    On Ancestry.com there are a number of "public" photos of your grandfather, including one of the Wells Auto Repair Garage, circa 1960. [If you would rather these not be displayed here, say the word and I will deleted them]. Sadly there is not one of him in uniform which "might" have helped identify his unit and job - MOS. I added in the attachments here the Headstone Marker application for your great-uncle Norris Byron Wells Jr (the Jr. was not included).

    So, from the photos it appear he recovered with no ill long term effects from his service injuries. He was rather young about age 50 at the time of his passing. Never was able to find an obituary or cause of death.
    Scott

    Nice boat, wish the pic was in color, kind of looks like a Chris Craft mahogany runabout but can't pin down the model with nothing aft of the rear seat.
    Robert Byron Wells.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 4:06 PM
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  9. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    '61 Impala in the garage. Can't tell what year the Buick is in the left foreground.
     
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  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Pretty sure that's a 1956 Buick in the foreground.
     
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  11. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Just two old motorheads happily wandering off topic!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 4:12 PM
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  12. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    I know, a rather odd turn of the thread but we can identify boats , ships and just about anything that flies too...And please I believe the proper term for our auto skill is pistonhead; among other things...
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 2:41 PM
  13. Randy Wells

    Randy Wells New Member

    Wow! That baby in the one pic is me! Very cool. Should I assume his uniform patch would be the 8th AF?
     
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  14. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Randy,
    That is a very good question for which I have no answer. I would suspect not as the Base Air Depots worked on aircraft of various Air Forces 8th, 9th, and 12th for example but I don't believe they reported to that command structure. Hopefully other members will have this answer.
    Scott
     
  15. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I am not sure this link has been posted before, but it has a lot regarding Burtonwood. Some photos are from the 1940s, some from the 1950s. There are links to the various specific sites at the top of the link, with more interesting photos in each link, many from WWII.

    Main Link:
    http://www.historicaviationmilitary.com/burtonwoodhome.html

    Of interest to this discussion, there is a photo of the Burtonwood Basketball team in WWII. (scroll down about 1/4 the way on the main link). The men are in dress uniforms and none seem to have an 8th or 9th AF patch. All the patches seem to be generic AF.
     
  16. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Rolland.
    The link you posted was originally referenced back in post #11 but remains pertinent brought forward here. Most of the images here including the basketball team, are cited to this source http://www.americanairmuseum.com/place/69 the high res team photo is #36 in the slide show, added here. One consideration here is this team photo was taken rather early in April 1943. Be that as it may even later in the war the generic AF Should Sleeve Insignia (SSI) is the safe bet for airmen serving at BAD 1.
    generic AF patch.jpg
    I might also expect an Air Service Command (ASC), Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI). This would be worn on the Class A uniform jacket at center of both epaulets. This is not present in the 1943 photo of the team. I could also be wrong that this device applies at any time for BAD 1 airmen. This device may have only been appropriate ASC members serving inside the ZI, (United States).
    AAF Air Service Command, DUI.jpg

    The Base Air Depots are a strange entity in the command structure, so large and complex they could build an aircraft from scratch if needed, providing fourth echelon aircraft service and maintenance (so large they never moved locations) This overall topic of AAF service & maintenance at the different echelons (lower echelons were attached to combat groups and moved if the groups moved) is covered here http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/VI/AAF-VI-11.html which depicts the struggle between Air Service Command and Theater Commanders who wanted and got command of most of these service and maintenance functions. This source will either help or just add more confusion. Further it does not offer a compete answer specific to BAD 1.

    Here is the Burtonwood - Basketball Team 14 April 1943
    Burtonwood - BasketBall Team 14 April 1943.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017 at 12:25 PM
  17. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Scott,

    What is the significance of the uniform of the man in the front row?



    media-20861.jpg
     
  18. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Good question Hal,
    Noted this man's Should Sleeve Insignia earlier but as yet cannot identify it to a command, first thought was chaplain seems a dead end. Also of interest he appears to have no rank enlisted or officer.
    Scott
     
  19. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    He is in the Red Cross. His name was Richard Nelson from Lewistown Montana. (Read down a little on the link, it shows the names of the men on the back of the photo).
     
  20. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Good catch, Rolland!
    Still finding it difficult to find a comparable to Mr Nelson's SSI
    Richard Nelson, Red Cross SSI.jpg
    Back of basketball team photo
    BAD 1 basketball team photo back.jpg
     

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