ERNIE C. HOLMER|
World War II Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy) November 18, 1944
I wish to thank you for your prompt response to my note to secure a 44th log book history. I was planning to attend the Riverside May reunion but had to cancel due to unforeseen problems. I was to meet R. Aston and Spagnola (his pilot) there and found out afterwards that my copilot, Norman Brown, had attended. I secured your address from Aston (to order the book) when I visited him in Georgia this October. He and I palled around together at Shipdham during our tour in England.
After discharge, I left Nevada to attend college in Chicago and had corresponded, now and then, with several of my crewmembers but settling down to book-learning our writing dwindled to nil. I have written to Brown in September and now, thanks to you, will write my engineer, Spence.
Without creating more confusion, I, too, would have difficulty to explain and unravel the why's and where's to clear up created confusion. Being in the age bracket where confusion abounds, I, too, find it difficult to try to remember things in perspective after so many years.
Burke was my navigator and your paragraph about his death brought back thoughts. He was one of, or, the youngest officer in the 67th (19) at that time. A very great and likable person and did a fine job of navigation with no problems. He guided us safely from U.S. to England in a new B-24 without following the "beam" to axis territory. He was not flying with me at the time of death - was on loan to another crew catching up on missions to finish with the rest of us. I accompanied the body to Manchester for burial. After discharge, I visited his parents in California. A sad job. As you said, the aftermath was very gruesome and leaves a lasting impression.
Your last paragraph, re, TD to the continent was not on orders or duty. Spagnola, Aston (his navigator) and I, after completing our required missions had several days free time before ship-out date so we secured passes from the C.O. "Cameron," caught an air lift to Paris to spend a couple of days sightseeing. Spagnola left us there to return to England. Aston and I caught another air ride towards Brussels, plus a Jeep ride and spent a half day and night with buzz bombs sailing over the hotel all night long. We then returned to Shipdham and on to Liverpool and home. Was quite an experience and happy to have had the opportunity for this trip.
The Log Book and Journal are precious - reverts one mind back to those exciting days and makes one wonder, where have all the years gone?
I thank you again for your thoughtfulness and letter and hope to make future reunions and maybe the England tour coming up at which time hope to meet you.
Happy holidays to you and yours, Ernie C. Holmer