14 September 2012

All in the Family

It looks as if other members of my family might have caught the genealogy/family history bug. My brother Allen may be the next victim.

I've previously blogged about the search for information about my Dad's World War II military service. When I received copies of reports of two accidents my Dad was involved in during his pilot training, I shared them with my brother Allen, who is both a licensed pilot himself and an artist of no small skill. Allen called me a few days ago to say that he had decided to create a painting of a P-51, the airplane Dad flew for most of his service. This led him to do research on the P-51, which in turn led him to do research on the structure and organization of the Air Force (or Army Air Forces, as it was known during World War II). During our phone conversation, Allen and I compared our memories of Dad's recollections of his wartime service.  I recalled Dad mentioning that he had flown with the U. S. 9th Air Force in England for a time, but I didn't know anything more specific. Using the data in the accident reports and my recollection as starting points, Allen did some internet sleuthing and now thinks he knows where and when our Dad may have been stationed in England. I went back to the website where I first found out about the accidents and reports,the wonderful U. S. Army Air Forces in World War II site and posted a query in their forums.

Remarkably, this query has already produced results. A user pointed me to The Newspaper Archive website with a brief article about my father:

The caption reads: "Big responsibility is in the capable hands of 19-year-old Second Lieut. William S. Leslie, above, Birmingham, Ala., who may soon pilot a B-24 Liberator over Axis targets. Believed to be the youngest four-engine pilot ever to graduate from an army air forces school, lieutenant Leslie completed his course at the Fort Worth, Tex., bomber base."

The clipping is from the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal, Thursday, 25 February 1943, p. 3. Apparently, the story about Dad being the youngest pilot ever to complete four-engine training was run by newspapers across the country. We still don't know how or why Dad made the transition from four-engine bombers to single-engine fighters, and we still don't know for sure where or when Dad was in England, but we are searching for clues. As Sherlock Holmes would say, "The game is afoot!"

1 comment:

Kathy said...

What a great find! Good luck to you and your brother on your search for clues.