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Charles     Landells

 

Personal Legacy
CHARLES LANDELLS
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

June 22, 1988

Dear Will:

You are probably aware of the fact that I not only missed Milwaukee, England with Joe Warth in October 1987, but I also missed Riverside in May and at this moment I missed Colorado Springs. I planned on going to all these reunions and had to cancel all of them. I love receiving the logbook and 2 ADA journals but the bad part is everyone is saying I'll see you in Riverside or Colorado Springs. It is tough, but I will live through it and if God is willing, I will make Fort Worth, Texas next May.

I was surprised to see my letter in the April issue of the logbook. I didn't expect you to print it. You should use the space for more important topics. The letter by Jake Elias was very interesting to me because Helen and I met Tom and Dorothy crane in Shipdham when we went over with Joe in 1985. Tom drove us around in his Jeep and when the others left on the bus to go to Dereham to shop, he asked if we would like to stay at the base and do some more exploring. This we did and then he drove us to meet the bus in Dereham. We have been writing to each other ever since. He also called me three times from England once to tell us they were coming to Riverside. It was then I found out that Jake lived across the Hudson River in New York City.

I contacted Jake and found out that he would meet them at the airport and show them the city. He invited Helen and me to his apartment for dinner with Tom and Dorothy and he also had Bert Carlberg and Wally Balla from Connecticut there.

We had a mini reunion and then we brought Tom and Dorothy home to our house so Jake could pick his van up. That was Sunday and Monday I went into the hospital for my operation. The excitement was good for Helen and me because it took the pressure off the operation for a couple of days.

Jake came back to spend Monday night at our house and they left on Tuesday for California in Jake's van. Jake wrote to me from California telling me they had a ball and saw everything they could of our great country. Tom called me from England as soon as they got home to tell me how great the trip was and how well you treated them.

This might seem like a long letter with all the other mail you get, but I want to be part of things and all I can do is sit and wait. This letter does not have to be printed, it's just to let you know how things are going.



Your book of Roll of Honor and casualties is a wonderful piece of work and it has made my recuperation more enjoyable. You did a terrific job. That is all for now with one exception. Everybody is writing poems and I am embarrassed to ask you to read one I wrote. If you feel it has no merit, just file it some place.

I soared with the eagles
Watched them fall from the sky
I soared with the eagles
And I watched them die.

Ten young eagles climbed board the shark
Heading for Germany to make their mark
Three would return and seven would die
And I asked my God why them and not I.

Many more eagles are going to die
But their glory is written high in the sky.
My name will come up because that is God's law
And I will go soaring with the eagles once more.

The shark was K bar of the 67th squadron.

Thank you for listening,

Charlie Landells


Charles Landell
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

July 22, 1986

Dear Will:

Thank you for thinking of me and for your letter. My wife and I were at Dayton for the dedication of the plaque and the following year also. Last year we went to England for the visit to the base with Joe Warth and the 44th Historical Group.

In answer to your request, my serial number is #32606252. Jerome Silverman live in Long Island and then Brooklyn. For some reason he stopped writing soon after we came home. Bob Stickell came from Moline, Illinois and I had no contact with his family after we got back.

The crash and the cause are not too clear to me. We were too busy to ask questions before we hit. All the people who knew what happened were killed. The target was Fredrickshaven and we lost an engine before the target. I do not know the reason. We saw Switzerland across the lake but Lt. Scarborough said, "Let's go home." Fortunately, we were not attacked on the way home. From what I remember, we lost a second engine. As we crossed the Channel, we were banking into a fighter field; some were in Kent. Just then, our other engines quit. Our left wing dropped and an observer on the ground said we hit a tree with our wing tip. I know when I looked out the waist window I was looking straight down at the ground.

I remember being thrown forward and the waist rolling over and over with dirt and spent cases falling on us. When it stopped, my one thought was to get out before explosion or fire. I saw an opening above me so I crawled up to it and without hesitating, went right out. I dropped about three or four feet and kept moving. About 20 feet from the plane, I heard Vern call and say, "Is that you, Charlie? And then I saw him lying in a drainage ditch. I fell in next to him and said Jerry out a little further. When we realized there was no fire, we went back to see if anyone else survived.

We found Lt. Bean, our copilot and Lt. Edmonds, our navigator next to each other. We know Lt. Bean was dead, but Jerry gave Lt. Edmonds a shot from the escape kit because we were not sure about him. Just then we saw Sgt. Nowley, our radio man laying over a bush, but people had gathered and made us lay down on stretchers. I didn't realize that I had injured my back and my head was bleeding. Vern had a broken nose and ankle. All Jerry had was some frostbite. Bob Stickell died a few weeks later. We did get a chance to visit him before he died.

The plane we crashed in was "The Shark," Face K. I don't know the call letters or who the crew chief was.

One of the reasons the records are not clear was that I found my name in the files down on the flight line as killed in action.

I hope I have been some help and if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to write.

Helen and I are going out to Colorado Springs for the August 27th reunion with the Historical Group. We will be meeting Lt. Bean's father for the first time. He has invited us to stay with him for a few days.

Please excuse my typing, but it is a lot better than my writing.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie

***************

October 6, 1988

Dear Will:

We arrived home from England on September 26th. We finally made our trip back. I had no plans to go until Jake Elias called and said he, Joe and Bill Toping were going over to dedicate the memorial at the base and award the scholarships. He asked if I would like to go and I said okay and it's between operations.

Helen and I toured Scotland with a tour, left them in Edinburgh and checked out some family history. We then went down to Ashford. I had written to the Borough solicitor and told him I was finally coming to see him. I called him the night before and they said to come after 4 p.m. When we arrived, we were introduced to a Mr. Twixt. We then met three men from the British Royal Legion and three people who researched our crash in Woodchurch.

We then went upstairs and met the mayor and moyoess, Mr. Drew, a reporter and photographer. They presented me with a folder of letters and newspaper stories, The Asford Town Crest. They gave Helen some slate coasters. The slate was 500 million years old. We had tea and cakes. Took pictures of everybody and was interviewed by the reporter.

The mayor invited Helen and me to ride in his car to the crash sight. We ended up with six cars in the caravan. When we arrived at the farm, other people were there. We walked into the yard and there, we met Mr. Frank Rees, the farmer who witnessed our crash on his farm. He is in his e
80s and his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were there.

We then marched out to the field and saw this massive oak tree. The only tree in the field. The farmer described how we came over the hill past the church and windmill. Both are still up on the hill. The windmill was just renovated and operating. We took more pictures and the farmer told me the spots that the crew were thrown. This, I might add, was a very touching moment for me. We then said goodbye to the farmer and we drove a few miles to the pub were the Royal Legion meet. We now had about 30 people in the group and were served drinks, sandwiches, fancy cakes, or tea if you preferred.

The Royal Legion members then awarded me a certificate and pin making me an honoring member. We also received a coin commemorating Queen Elizabeth's Centennial. An artist in the group gave us six postcards he had drawn of the buildings in Woodchurch. Each person came over and told us about that day and where they were. Some of them were six years old and playing in the schoolyard. Others were in Africa, Texas, Liverpool, and other places and they all received letters about our crash. One of these men was a doctor in the RAF and he attended Glen Miller when he had pneumonia. The mayor and his wife then drove us or his aid drove us to the railroad station. The mayor and his wife got out and we said our good-byes and thank-yous. Of course, thank you was not adequate for the situation, but that was all we could do.

This is enough for me. Joe will tell about the great time we had in Shipdham.

Thanks for listening.

Charlie Landell

*****
 
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