"Tom" letter to parents, January 31, 1945   Save
Description: Letter from "Tom" to his parents including a recollection of how he endured a surprise bombing of his camp during a party with fellow military men on Christmas Eve. Tom first corrects his mother's wrong impression on some war news reported in a U.S. newspaper, and in a second entry dating from the following month, recounts the story of the Christmas Eve bombing and its unlikely outcome. Tom's connection to C. Walder Parke is unknown, aside from being a fellow member of the Army Air Forces. 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.
Image ID: MSS1510_B02F04_005_01
Subjects: Surprise (Military Science); Bombing, Aerial; Recollection (Psychology); Christmas
Places: France