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  1. #1

    World War II buffs....

    I'm posting this at the behest of Mr.JabbaJohnL.

    Some may remember my post in the "Random Video of the Day" thread (post #374) regarding the revelation to my brothers and me that a book was being written about my uncle, William E. Cramsie, who was an A-20 Havoc pilot (light bomber) in the 671st Squadron of the 416th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. He was killed on a mission trying to take out a "buzz bomb" site in France.

    My brothers and I literally found out about the book a mere two weeks before it was to go to press. Wayne G. Sayles, the author, had been working with my cousins for about three years gleaning information regarding Uncle Bill's family history while also researching his West Point career and time with the Army Air Corps. Sayles wanted to contact my brothers and me for information regarding our mother (Uncle Bill's sister) but was unsuccessful until just a few weeks ago (the end of September). Through the years, our little family has moved all over the country, and after the deaths of our parents (my mom and her brother Robert), we cousins have pretty much lost contact with each other. I contacted Sayles and he provided my brothers and me a copy of the manuscript as it was going to the printer. The whole reason for Sayles' work is contained within the book and I'll not reveal any spoilers here. (However, it was a HUGE shock to my brothers and me!).

    Sayles work takes a lot of literary license and is speculative with regards to my uncle's West Point career and specific actions in the 416th Bomb Group. However, the work is based on documented facts. Sayles' biography is a noble attempt to "connect the dots". From a family perspective, there is nothing offensive within the work. In fact, the book brings about a certain amount of closure to my brothers and me regarding our uncle. That's because it was very difficult for my mother to talk about her brother without breaking down. She absolutely adored her brother. We grew up with a lot of incomplete and erroneous information about our uncle as a result. Example: we were told Uncle Bill was a B-24 Liberator pilot when we were kids. Knowing he piloted the hot rod A-20 puts a whole other spin on his possible character for me.

    The work is not only a biography of my uncle, but also a history of the 416th Bomb Group. For all the SSG WWII history buffs here, they might find that aspect of the book interesting. I've been on a mission myself to find out more about the 416th. I've purchased Attack Bombers We Need You! by Ralph Conte, who was a bombadier/navigator with the 416th. I found that to be a very interesting read. (Conte gives my uncle two sentences in his book---another revelation!). In my research I've come across video of the 416th from the following website:

    Again, some of our SSG WWII fans might find this site interesting. I purchased the DVD on the A-20/A-26s and, again, was greeted with an eerie revelation. In the DVD, there is an aerial photo taken of the target during the mission my uncle was killed on April 10, 1944!

    The reason for this post is not to drum up business for Sayles, Conte, or Zeno's (rest assured, there's nothing in it for me except the priceless information regarding my uncle after all of these years!). It's only to bring to light a very weird event to befall my family and to generate a thread in the "Books" section regarding the obvious interest SSGers have regarding WWII. With regards to Sayles' and Conte's books, they are both easy reads and I found very enlightening regarding the little-known 9th Air Force and all the "down and dirty" work they endured while the 8th Air Force (the B-17s and B-24s) captured all of the glory and press. Very interesting stuff!

    I hope to see more postings here regarding members' interest in WWII! Keep those resources coming!

    A big thanks to JJL for his interest in my family's "out of the blue" event and prodding me to post!
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  2. #2
    Hey, and thanks to you for more information! I'm interested in WWII and American history but I'm not necessarily a "buff" like some people here. In this case, I find the behind-the-scenes stuff here to be just as interesting! I think I've said it before, but this all seems pretty wild. I would definitely like to check out the book . . . I don't know when, though.
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  3. #3
    Thanks for the great information here TeeEye7.

    I teach US History, I love it, I read it, I research it, I go see the sites...yet I am not sure I am a "buff". I hope to reach that status though.
    "You know I love the guy but I swear he writes like freaking Yoda."-Dean Winchester
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  4. #4
    And I thought this thread was about racy pin-ups from the '40s...

    I love biogs, especially if someone I know knows them.
    "I went to Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, and I didn't get even a lousy t-shirt."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    And I thought this thread was about racy pin-ups from the '40s...
    I'd hate to disappoint.....
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    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  6. #6
    Love the classic pin-ups....but I am more of a flapper guy myself.
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    "You know I love the guy but I swear he writes like freaking Yoda."-Dean Winchester
    R12:2-Be Transformed

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JetsAndHeels View Post
    Love the classic pin-ups....but I am more of a flapper guy myself.
    The pin-ups are cool.
    I'm trying to find a coffee table type book on WWII aircraft nose art which was the destination for a lot of pin up art. I've found some interesting web sites regarding this subject (even art provided from the Walt Disney studios: the 416th Bomb Groups' four squadrons' artwork were provided by Disney), however, I've yet to encounter one.
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  8. #8
    My Grandfather served in the Navy during WWII, he was stationed on Johnston Island.

    Fifty plus years later I made three trips there in an official capacity for the Army.

    Very few people have ever had the opportunity to set foot on the island. It's really cool to have a connection like that with my Grandfather.
    May the force be with you.

  9. #9
    That's an awesome reference to have about your grandfather. WW2 was such a huge event in numbers and scale so it can be tough for one to find information regarding the experiences of a specific soldier. In addition to that I found that a good number of those involved just didn't talk about it. Great stuff.

    I'm not sure if I achieve "buff" ranking but I do really enjoy a lot of aspects of WW2. I'm a big airplane person so I've been to a lot of museums and airshows as well as read books about the airplanes and pilots. Oh, and I also have a number of WW2 aviation prints hanging around signed by some famous pilots.

    I also enjoy movies quite a bit. The early movies are interesting because they had access to actual equipment and locations that hadn't been changed with time yet. The whole period is filled with so many personal, national, technology, etc. achievements it's a endless supply of interesting stories. For that reason I find it insulting that movies like Pearl Harbor changed the facts. It's not like the original events weren't as full of heroic actions or spectacular moments as the final screen play.

    I'm also interested in how the events of those years are still a part of our lives now. There are so many buildings and structures that are left over from that time still in use in some cases. We have a huge arsenal down the street that built munitions during the war as well as an ex-fighter factory and airship hangar/factory. It's amazing stuff and very interesting to learn about how all these things morphed our local landscape.
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    By choosing not to decide you still have made a choice.

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  10. #10
    In my former life, I was a newspaper reporter for a small local newspaper and had the chance to interview several WWII veterans who had interesting stories.

    One person I had the chance to interview was a survivor from the USS Indianapolis. He was a Marine assigned to the ship and was on the fateful voyage that delivered the atomic bomb to Titian. He survived the initial sinking by sleeping on deck because it was too hot below. It was very difficult for him to talk about the experience.

    I also interviewed a gentleman who served with one of the fighter groups stationed in North Africa.


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