Friday, June 7, 2013

The Tail Gunner Meets the Country Lass

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Warning! This is a Family History Post and may be boring to you...

Way back in World War 2

My dad was a tail gunner in the U.S. Air Force

He was "older" than the others, in that he was 30
and they were maybe only 19-20.
They called him "Pop".

I recently learned, by looking up the squadron number,
that his plane flew weather recon out of England.
Why I didn't find that out until now... well, I guess I wasn't interested.
His was an important job. He was on the look out for enemy planes
that could take them down and compromise their mission of getting
information back to England for the next set of planes to go out.

There were no satellites to give weather reports.
The only way to relay back the information that would make or break a mission
was through experiencing it first hand.
Sorry for the poor quality, but who can argue with the only photo?
Look closely and you can see the mounted machine gun pointed out the open window in the rear of the plane.

Left to Right
Lt. Tom Teal - Pilot; Lt Nicholson - Co Pilot (he later became an illustrator for National Geographic); Lt Szopa - Navigator; Sgt. Williamson - Tail gunner; Sgt. Smith - radio operator; Sgt. Trepton - Engineer; Sgt. Boyington (?) - armor guard; T/Sgt. Peters - Meteorology (weather) observer.

Ruth was a young lady who lived with her parents until
she moved out on her own around her early twenties.
She wrote several service men friendly letters to keep up their spirits.
About 1930 or so

Down the road from where Ruth lived was a couple that sold
eggs and such to the outlying neighbors.
Ruth would walk down and buy eggs and got acquainted with the couple named "Wilson".
Mrs Wilson told Ruth about her son who sure needed encouraging letters, too.
So, my mom wrote "Warren", along with the other correspondence she did with other service men.
Ruth at about 19 - She would have been 92 this year...

Correspondence went on for some time,
and, like some of the other letters, marriage proposals were written also.
Warren never made it home on his visits. He would get "stuck" (read used up his leave)
before he could catch a bus home.
So, Ruth and Warren never met, until...

The war was over. Troops were sent home from overseas.
Warren made the trip home on the Queen Mary which was put into service to transport troops.
Warren asked Ruth to meet him - and she did.
They met on December 24, 1945, when he stepped off the bus.
They married a few weeks later on January 12, 1946.

They had three children.
They were married 25 years before Warren passed away in his sleep in May of 1972
two days before my wedding.
But that is another story in itself.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to write all this down. I know that I've heard it all over the years, but it will be nice to have something to reference back too.

  2. I have to confess that these stories have rolled around in my head for so long. I wanted to write them down, even though I know it will be boring for some to read, at least they are written.

  3. Oh my goodness, it's not boring to me! I remember your wedding. I was quite young but was fascinated by the thought of a double wedding. I remember thinking I'd like to have a double wedding with my twin. Well that idea changed over the years. :-) I didn't hear until just a few years ago that your dad had passed away right before your wedding. So sad! I have a funny memory of Dave too as a single person. Anyway, I am enjoying your history blogs!


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