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Frank  J.  Hart

 

Personal Legacy
FRANK J. HART
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

552 Hilltop
Bradley, IL 60915

3 August 1988

Dear Will:

Regarding the tragic crash of the plane in June 1945, I think there was a short write-up of it in one of the Liberator Club Briefings. I can't remember the RAF base we landed at on 3 January 1943. I was with my regular crew, Brown, Bishop, Haywood, Susan, Ullrich, and Klinger. I think that Pappy Moore was pilot and "Curly" Nelson was engineer.

Those RAF NCO's really had it made. They entered the mess hall dressed in Class A uniforms, sit down at a table, complete with a white tablecloth, china and silverware and are served by WAAFS.

I can give some information on a couple of the men on page 350. Ed Shotwell - I knew him well. Quite by accident, I ran into him in Chicago, shortly after the war. I can't recall the reason but he did not fly combat.

Tom Clements - He was probably the first overseas casualty of the 67th and the 44th. He walked into a turning prop at Gander. He was a member of Lt. Warne's crew. See enclosed flight schedule. I don't know how he made out, but was still alive when we left.

Will, do you have any information on Dave Collie or Gib Wandpke. I would like to have their addresses, if available. Gib took Curly's place on our crew.

Have you been back to England with Irene? While working for APC, I made several business trips to our plant at Eastbourne. I always intended to take some time to see old familiar places, but it never worked out.

Last winter I drove right around Odessa, Texas. I would have looked Odis up if I had known. If we go back to Tucson this year, I will.

Give my regards to Irene. We all know the nicest as well as the prettiest girls of the UK are found in Norwich.

Sincerely,

Frank Hart




FRANK J. HART
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

552 Hilltop
Bradley, IL 60915

7/5/88

Dear Will:

It was nice of you to write to me when I ordered a copy of your book. I belong to the Liberator Club and saw a notice of the reunion of the 44th MG. I wrote to C. J. Warth wondering if there was a 44th Bomb Group Association. He wrote back and sent me a copy of the Logbook. He assures me that I am now on the mailing list. Why did I wait so long?

You asked me to tell you something about myself.

I don't know the exact date that I left Shipdham, but it was after Maj. Moore assumed command of the 67th and Col. Johnson of the 44th. I had been experiencing an irregular heartbeat, which became very distressing at high altitude when on oxygen. I had it checked out at the Base Hospital and the flight surgeon took me off flying status. The doctors at the hospital at High Wygombe explained to me that I might pass out in a stressful combat situation endangering not only my life but also the lives of my fellow crewmembers. They grounded me. I still have this problem but my doctor is able to keep it under control. Great drugs we have today.

I was sent to the Repo Depot at Stone and reduced t the grade of private "without prejudice." I was soon reassigned to the 16th Depot Repair Sq., 33rd Air Depot Group in N.W. England at Wharton, near Blackpool. Later this group became part of the 9th Air Force and formed the first tactical air depot (1st T.A.D.). We ended up at Chartres, France, near Paris. I did quite well with this outfit, attaining the grade of T/Sgt.

I returned to the states in March 1945. I was supposed to have a 30-day delay enroute and return to my unit. V.E. Day changed all that. I was sent to Miami Beach and since I had more than the required 180 points, I received my discharge June 8, 1945. I took advantage of the G.I. Bill earning a B.S. in chemistry from Monmouth College in 1949 and a M.S. from Indiana University in 1950. I went to work for Armour Pharmaceutical Company as a research chemist and retired in April 1985.

My wife, Geri, and I have three children and seven grand children. My oldest grand daughter, Laurie, will be staring her junior year in college this fall. Time seems to fly these days. Do you remember how slowly time went by in the E.T.O.? I thought the war would never be over. I bet time really dragged for those POW. I manage to keep quite active doing a little golfing, shooting, hunting and fishing.

I was shocked to hear that my old crew went down over Kiel in "Miss Delores." I was not aware that they switched planes. I had assumed that they stayed with "Suzy-Q" and had survived with her. I thought they might have been aboard with Col. Johnson the historic Ploesti mission. I was saddened to hear of the death of Roy Klinger and Sgts. Millhouse N. and Cate. I did not know these last two, but one of them must have been my replacement. I was happy to hear the other men survived.

I was surprised and disappointed that on page 350 of your book, I was listed "as no record of combat." In fact, I may have been the first 67th member to fly a mission on November 6, 1942. I attended the briefing for the Cape de la Hague diversionary mission. All the 67th planes were in Ireland with partial crews. I heard that some crew in the 66th or 68th was short a gunner. I volunteered and flew the mission. I can't recall which crew I flew with but I remember that Col. Robinson or some other high ranking officer was aboard. I manned the 30 cal. Gun under the flight deck.

I flew several missions in "Suzy-Q." I remember the Romilly sur Sein mission and the St. Nazaire Mission where we landed in Wales with no clothes but electric flying suits and sheepskins. I remember being interrogated by R.A.F. officers. I thought that Sgt. Hespor kept better records.

Will, if you have a further revision of your book in mind, please move me from the "No record of combat category," up to medical as per Odis Nelson. My hometown is Monouth, IL - not MO.

The date of the picture of the crew of "Suzy-Q" on page 29 is in error. If this picture was taken before leaving the U.S. both Odis Nelson would be in it. Dave Collie joined the crew when the hatch gun was added in England. Was gratified to learn he survived.

Will, I've gabbed enough. You indicated you were in correspondence with Odis. You can send him a copy of this if you want to.

Take care.

Frank
 
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