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Very Rare photo of 42-97083 Flatbush Floogie

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by teammaico, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. teammaico

    teammaico Member

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    I hope you all will enjoy these photos.
    MACR#3932
    1st/Lt Thomas Gardner Pilot
    2nd/Lt Carl West co/pilot
    2nd/Lt jacob Brown Nav.
    2nd/Lt Jack Bohman Bombardier
    T/Sgt Lee Varner Engineer (My dad, the guy with cowboy boots and his elbows covering his face)
    T/Sgt Lucius Birbeck Radio
    Sgt Raymond Stewart BT Gunner
    Sgt Henderson Head LW Gunner
    Sgt Alex Shewchuck RW Gunner
    Sgt Raymond Cutchall Tail Gunner

    Those 2 pictures have a long story and I want to share it with the world. That picture is of my dad's crew shot down 4-11-44 on Rostock mission. They set the plane down basically on a mud flat or beach. My dad is the guy near the back of the line, wearing cowboy boots and has his elbows up to cover the blood on his face. He was in the top turret when a second or third Flak shell exploded and blasted the left side of his face. He never saw out of his left eye after that. You can see a little blood on his forehead. My dad paid the german photographer $5.00 and a pack of smokes to mail a copy of those pictures to his mother to show he was OK. The guy did it. My grandmother knew my dad was alive before the government notified her he was MIA.
    Yes the entire crew lived. My dad went to stalag 17B and did the 250 kilometer force march.
    Getting back to the pictures. Before my dad died he was quite active in the POW scene and went all over America for reunions. He had the pictures with him everywhere as well as his mission log showing he flew 56 missions. He was a member of the 452ng BG Club or brotherhood. After he died in 1992 we could no longer find those pictures. I have been thinking alot about my dad lately and a couple of weeks ago I started looking for what group he flew for and so on. So I just typed his name and POW on google and up pops Missing planes of the 452nd BG by Ed Hinrich and tells about my dads flight, mission, crew and crash. And one of the paragraphs mention this Phil Irwin who claims to have a picture of the crew and plane. So I looked up Ed Hinrich and called him and ask him about this guy Phil Irwin and if he has any contact information on Phil. He tells me the street he lives on Torquay Shiphay Devon UK. I find this guy via a photoposting site and ask them to please give him my email address so I can ask him about the photos. He contacts me Monday and sends me the JPG images via email Tuesday and is sending me the originals next week. It turns out he collected plane crash photos of German Plane crashes and has written a book about them. Anyway during one of his collecting trips to Germany he found my dad's photo in a LOT of original German government photos and buys the entire lot. It is unbeleivable that 63 years later some guy in england gives me a photo of my dad and plane crew all the way from England and he does not want a dime. He is a great man. Thats the story they all lived most went to Stalag 17B and others Luft 4 (I think)or whatever the spelling. Plane went down just west of shillig Germany. I have been checking almost every photo collecttion on the web to find pictures of my dad or his planes and I have never seen any prisoner photos yet. This could be the only one left in the world. Read more about my dad at Lee Varner - WWII Serviceman - 301st Bombardment Group - 419 Squadron
    Jim
    teammaico Posts: 2 Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:42 am
     

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  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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  3. teammaico

    teammaico Member

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    Yes I am posting this evreywhere I can. It is getting a pretty big response.
    Jim
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    big response, how so ?
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Great photos, Great Story. Welcome.
     
  6. teammaico

    teammaico Member

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    Like "Unbeleivable story, I have never seen a capture photo, Did everyone survive, Thank you for sharing, Thank you for sharing this piece of history,Great photos, Great Story. Welcome " Is that give you an idea. Don't you find those photos amazing?
     
  7. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Thank you for sharing these great pictures. It must have been quite a shock to see these for the first time after so long. They are certainly nice.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    well you certainly have something unique that is fact of someone in the know finding a captured film sequence of B-17 and captured crew. appreciate you allowing us to visit the past through the story.
     
  9. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    hey teammaico, great photos!
    welcome to the forum! and thanks for sharing this with us! i look forward to hearing more about your fathers experiences!!

    btw, how did he get away with wearing cowboy boots!:D
     
  10. teammaico

    teammaico Member

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    btw, how did he get away with wearing cowboy boots!:D[/quote]

    Well he was a tuff Montana Cowboy/farmer/rancher. He road a horse to school, back in the day. That said, I think he just wanted to die with his boots on. He told his commanders he had flat feet and flight boots made his feet hurt. Those boots are what my grandmother saw and knew it was Dad. That's the story of the boots.

    Check this link: Lee Varner - WWII Serviceman - 301st Bombardment Group - 419 Squadron
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Many thanks for posting the photos and story, teamaico :cool: .

    You may be interested in these shots as a footnote : this is Deopham Green as it is today. The first shot is of the main runway from which 'Flatbush Floogie' would have taken off : -

    [​IMG]

    And this is one of the very few original buildings left at the airfield....

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Nice pictures Martin. Did you take these? Despite the fact that the cleaning lady hasn't been around for years it looks in a fairly good condition.
     
  13. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I took the photos a year ago, Skipper - I've just *bumped* the '8th AF Relic in Winter' thread if you want to see more pics I took that day.....
     
  14. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    thanks again teammaico! great story! i wonder what happened to the aircraft?
     
  15. teammaico

    teammaico Member

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    I wonder the same thing I have been trying to find out today. It wasn't very far out in the water. You woould think they would have towed it inland and put it in a near by town
     
  16. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Aircrafts were sometimes put on display, but considering the size of this one, I suspect a BergungsKommando dismantled the whole thing for recycling. They usuallly kept a part of the tail or the nose art as a trophee.
    Martin, I'll have a look on the '8th AF Relic in Winter' thread, thanks for telling me.
     
  17. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    aha, thanks Skipper!!
     
  18. GSCUTCHALL

    GSCUTCHALL recruit

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    My father was also on the same B-17 Staff Sgt Ray Cutchall tail gunner. he also stayed at stalag 17...thanks for sharing the great pictures. i have one also simalr to the one of the crew. My dad is the one in the center with his head down and a scarf on...Thank you for sharing Greg Cutchall
     
  19. Harry Raser

    Harry Raser New Member

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    My grandfather (Alex Shewchuck) was a member of this crew as well. He had a stroke when I was very young so we didn't have much of the story other than he was shot down in a B17 and spent the rest of the war at Stalag 17B.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I know the thread is a few years old, but I'm looking forward to sharing this story with my grandchildren.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019

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