: "Short snorter" with four of C. Walder Parke's fellow crew members' signatures on one side. These particular airmen were all on board the B-17 named "Mission Mistress" that was shot down over France. They are, from top to bottom: Raymond J. Graves Jr., Vernon R. Kreger, Allen E. Silva, and Raymond E. Cabel. The tradition of military flight crews collecting signatures of their members on paper currency dates to the 1920's. The documents acquired their name due to a playful understanding between signers that if one man was not able to readily show another a signed bill with his signature on it from a previous flight, he owed him a dollar or a drink. Drinks were referred to as "short snorts" because airmen were limited to small amounts of alcohol, and the objects themselves soon took on the same name. This "short snorter" is written on a German "Rentenmark" banknote. The Rentenmark was a unit of currency introduced during the period of German hyperinflation after WWI. Although it was replaced by the Reichsmark by WWII, it was still regarded as a legally accepted banknote. How Parke obtained German currency is unknown. Charles Walder Parke was born on July 28, 1924, and grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in 1942 intending to be a pilot during WWII, but spent most of his military career as a navigator on B-17 Flying Fortresses in the 94th Bombardment Group. Parke earned two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal with several Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his successful bombing missions, including some over Berlin. He is best known for being on board a B-17 which was shot down over France by German planes on June 25, 1944, during a non-combat mission. The crew managed to make an emergency landing, and everyone inside survived. After the war, Parke founded the Cleveland-based Laurel Industries Inc., which became a prominent supplier of antimony oxide to the plastics industry. He died of Lou-Gehrig’s Disease on September 15, 1996, at the age of 72. View on Ohio Memory.
: MSS1510_B01F34_007_01 Subjects
: Money--Germany; Foreign exchange; Bank notes; Military missions; Parke, Charles Walder, 1924-1996 Places