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!