Memorial Day

My Dad Shot Down Over Germany In WWII. MAY WE NEVER FORGET THE SACRIFICES!

My Dad Shot Down Over Germany In WWII. MAY WE NEVER FORGET THE SACRIFICES!

Dear Mom and Dad,
How are you? We have been assigned for five combat flights with our B 17 Bomber plane and have completed three of them. I am very scared. I am writing this to tell you I love you, but I do not think I will come out alive. We are losing a lot of men after their planes are being shot down over Germany. I don’t think we will make it. When you are in the sky dropping bombs, the germans are right above us to see what we are up to and then below on the ground they are shooting anti-aircraft flak at us. We can’t see a damn thing from the black clouds the flak make. No one has our back. It is not a good thing. I hope one day to see you again, but if I do not I want you to know how much I love you.
Your son,
Roy
On Roy’s 4th combat flight as a gunner of a B-17 Bomber, he was shot down. Something in Roy told him that his days were numbered. Roy’s parents received the news he was missing in action by the Red Cross as was customary in those days. No one knew for sure what had happened except the 10 member crew on that fateful day in 1943. The Bomber was shot in several places, but with the handiwork of Coles, the pilot, the plane was able to be crashed landed in a field. The crew all survived and ran for their lives. All were captured alive.
Roy then spent the next 19 months in the notorious Stalag 17 camp. The Americans occupied five compounds. There were at least 4000 American GI men in the overcrowded barracks. Hollywood has made films about this camp and what our American soldiers had to endure. Roy recalls many times when they were forced to stand outside in extreme cold weather for long periods. He lost a huge amount of his body weight during this time, but did survive to come home and tell his story.
On April 8, 1945, Roy was among 4000 POW forced to march to where freedom was at hand. He with his fellow soldiers were finally liberated on May 9, 1945. General Patton’s Army had arrived on May 2nd to where they were closely located, but it took an additional week before Roy was finally free. Roy said he never prayed much before in his young life, but after being captured he prayed a lot. Roy still prays a lot. He can not believe he is still alive!

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8 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. pastsmith

    Thank you for sharing Roy’s story. There are a lot of “Roys” out there, and their story needs to be told before all that’s left is a few facts in a history book that no one studies…

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      This is so true. I may write a book one day about him in totality at some point. His story is amazing from the beginning growing up dirt poor in Alabama to working alongside Governors in the state after his military service. He was director of Veteran Affairs in the 1960’s -1970’s etc. It is amazing his accomplishments. Now he and my mom are relaxed, retired, and really just enjoying life. He considers himself one of the lucky ones. thx for dropping by. I will be sharing more and if you go through my blog you will find more of his lifestory here and there.

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