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  #1  
Old 4th December 2023, 08:06
gilles collaveri gilles collaveri is offline
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looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

good morning all,

we are organizing an event around the crash of a B-17 In June 1944 near Toulouse and we we would like to invite the families of the 8 crew members who bailed out and survived ( 8 crews were made prisoners but all came back safe. One crew member was killed, we have the families contacts for this one).

Can you help us find their families ? and their contacts ? this is to invite them in May 2024 in Toulouse

here are the details we have from the MACR, including the contact details at the time :


2nd Lt John K. GODWIN 2205 Ashland ST, Fortworth Texas
2nd Lt William N FREEMAN Savannah, Tenn.
F/O Edward D. SEWARD 128 Ivy street, East Rochester NY
2nd Lt Harold N. GNESIN (was killed , we have contacts)
S/Sgt John H. WILSON 134 Grant Avenue, Middlesex, New York
T/Sgt Merril BUTIKOFER Rural route N°2, Idaho Falls, Ida.
Sgt Herbert L. BROOKS Sedrey Wooley Washington
Sgt Chester R. ISDAHL Route N°1 Spicer, Minn.
Sgt Frank E. JENKINS 195 Sheppard, Richmond, Va.

the aircraft was :
Boeing B17G
Serial 42-102463
8th United Army Air Force
398th Bomb Group
602nd Bomb Squadron

shot down by the FLAK on 25 June 1944, at Cornebarrieu, this is very close to Toulouse;

thanks in advance to all the genealogists experts, investigators and webexperts that will help us.

Gilles
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  #2  
Old 4th December 2023, 16:17
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

Gilles,

How do you plan to go about trying to contact the families? I have found a possible address and phone number for the son of John K Godwin.

It has been my experience that phoning a relative does not work very well. A short letter seems to work better. (E-mail addresses, when you can find one, are often out of date.)

Do you want to write a letter or would you prefer that we do that from here?

https://www.newspapers.com/article/f...ram/136257550/

Last edited by RSwank; 8th December 2023 at 20:10.
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  #3  
Old 4th December 2023, 23:37
gilles collaveri gilles collaveri is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

Hi RSwank, and thanks for your continuous support.

I would be grateful if you can do this letter/email for us, you will do it better than we could do.

So, please, do contact them, and explain them that a ceremony will be held sometime at spring in Toulouse, in memory of this B-17, and that we would be delighted if they come.

Thanks again,

Gilles
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  #4  
Old 5th December 2023, 02:02
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25Kingman49 25Kingman49 is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

John King Godwin Jr. remembered here

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...hn-king-godwin
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"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."- referenced - J. Robert Oppenheimer
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Old 5th December 2023, 15:04
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

I have possible leads and addresses on family members for 6 of the 8 men. The two men I don't have much on are:

Sgt Chester Raymond ISDAHL

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...raymond-isdahl

He died in a fishing accident in 1961.

The other is Sgt Herbert Stuart Brooks:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...-stuart-brooks

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries...ry?id=50160025

(Will probably see if we can find his sons.)

The MACR 6220 is available for download on the 398th BG website:

https://www.398th.org/History/398th_...25_Godwin.html
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Old 6th December 2023, 07:34
gilles collaveri gilles collaveri is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

Hi Rswank

Great job.

I would be very grateful if you could contact them and explain that a ceremony will occur next year in the memory of this B-17 crash and that if they want to pay a visit to France/Toulouse, they would be very welcome.

The city hall of Cornebarrieu is organizing this event: there will be French officials, the family of Harold Gnesin (the only one who died in this crash) will be present, an exhibition in Aeroscopia museum will be dedicated to this B-17, etc..

You can give them my email (gilles.collaveri at hotmail.fr)
and I thank you very much in advance for that.

Gilles
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Old 6th December 2023, 15:41
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

The memorial for Gnesin, scroll down to see the pictures:

https://www.aerosteles.net/stelefr-cornebarrieu-b17

Location on Google Maps in street view.

If you look down the path to the right of the garage (on the left) you can see the memorial stone for Gnesin at the end of the path.

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6437...8192?entry=ttu
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Old 7th December 2023, 01:40
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

I received my first reply from Robert Freeman, the son of William N Freeman.
Robert.Freeman@mccombs.utexas.edu

I will post his response below:
__________________________________

Lt William Noel Freeman is my father.

Several years ago a fairly large piece of the wing of his plane was found by workers clearing a hedge row near Toulouse. The French presented the piece of wing to the Air Force museum in Midland Texas. Several crew and family members attended the ceremony. The French gave each family member a small piece of the wing (box framed) and a framed print of a painting of the plane and crew. I am looking at them now. They hang in my study. I’ll send you a photo.

My dad told me that his clothes and parachute strap were burning when he jumped. All but one crew member survived. They were quickly captured by the Germans and taken to the local Luftwaffe headquarters (Chateau du Ferradou near Cornebarrieu) where they were held in the cellar for several days and interrogated by the SS. The three officers were imprisoned Stalag Luft 3 & 7A, and the rest of the crew were sent to Stalag Luft 4.

You can read about a 2001 event to honor the crew, details of Mission 441 (including a description of the crash), etc. in Volume 6-N8 of “Airshow” published by the Confederate Air Force - French Supporter Squadron in August 2001. If you would like a copy of this publication, you could contact Jeff Wood at the American Airpower Heritage Museum, 9600 Wright Drive, P.O. Box 62000, Midland, Texas 79711. Phone 432-567-3009.

Robert
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Old 8th December 2023, 00:02
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

Here is a link to the publication Robert mentioned. The story is on pages 1 to 8.

Two crewmen attended the multi-day 2001 ceremonies in France along with the sister of Gnesin. It was at one of the ceremonies that the memorial for Gnesin was dedicated (see link in post 7 above).

https://www.caffrenchwing.fr/wp-cont...2/Nws0801U.pdf

Last edited by RSwank; 8th December 2023 at 15:12.
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  #10  
Old 11th December 2023, 20:42
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: looking for contacts of the families of the crew of a B-17

An update.
I have sent e-mails or letters to relatives of the eight crewmen. At this point we just wait and see how many of them respond. (If a relative is no-longer at the address I found, the post office will "usually" return the letter to me. If that happens I will try to find a different relative.)
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