Legacy Page




Legacy Of:

R.  W.  Bethel


Personal Legacy
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

January 24, 2001

Dear Will

Nothing like being a bit late. I just noted in the Fall, 2000 issue of "8 Ball Tails" a note on page 6 - "A Plea for Lost Records," especially regarding reports missing from May 8, 1944 to April 7, 1945. The accompanying list - dates and mission targets - was compiled by my crew's, now late, excellent navigator, Willie D. Abrams, 1st gunner.

On our arrival in England, our crew was initially assigned to the 489th Bomb Group, second division at Halesworth. We began our tour of 35 missions on September 26, 1944 and then in November, 1944 when the 489th was sent back to the U.S.A., my crew was transferred to the 44th Bomb Group, 67th Squadron, Shipdham. I sometimes wondered what we did wrong, but in the long run, we successfully and safely completed our tour with the great 44th. I think our first mission with the 44th was on ovember 21, 1944 and the last on March 8, 1945. I don't know if these dates and names help in regards to the lost records - hopefully, they will.

Regarding myself, I retired from my private practice of internal medicine in March 1992. My wife, Barbara, and I then resided in sunny Bonita Springs, Florida where my flying was confined to flying radio-controlled model airplanes. I worked also as a volunteer doctor at the Senior Friendship Medical Clinic in Fort Myers (an organization wherein retired physicians and nurses provided for the medically indigent.)

In October, 1996, my beautiful wife, Barbara, died. Two years later, I married my present, wonderful wife, Sandy, and because of her and my kids and grandkids in the Columbus, Ohio area we moved from Florida to Grove City, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus). It's great to be home, but I must say that I did not miss the cold Ohio winters when I resided in Florida.

I didn't mean to make this so verbose. I hope all is fine and well with you and Irene and all your family.

Best of wishes and stay well!


Ray Bethel (614)277-9190

World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Pete Henry)

820 Riva Ridge Blvd.
Gahanna, Ohio 43230

20 July 1984

Dear Pete:

I wanted to thank you for your letter of 3 June 1984, and the copy of the quarterly journal.

I, of course, remember you as the gentleman who sold me the 8-Ball patch in Dayton. My wife, Sandy, and I certainly enjoyed the reunion visit there - it was my first, but hopefully won't be my last.

I've sent my check for membership dues to Mr. Cohen as you suggested. I'm really happy to be a member of this association.

Haven't had a chance to try contacting Ed Guzik in my home community of Gahanna, but will.

Many thanks and best wishes.

Ray Bethel

World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

27473 Pelican Ridge Circle
Bonita Springs, Florida 34135

16 June 1996

Dear Will:

Finally on 6 May 1996, I finally succeeded in sending the framed mission records and plaque with the names of our crewmembers of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum. It was a pleasure to deal with Mary Beth Barnard, director of history and archives.

I also wanted you and Art Hand to know that on 13 June 1996, a minor - no, a major miracle occurred. A neighbor-friend invited me to inspect his new Internet equipment. He asked if I had "lost" anyone in the USA. I gave him the name of our long-lost waist gunner, Stanley L. Wirth. Stan and his wife Peggy's names popped up in Valparaiso, Indiana. I called Stan immediately so the 40+ year search was completed. Seven of our nine crew members are alive and we will be having a reunion in 1997.

Best wishes again to you and Irene.

Ray Bethel

Stay well!
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