My gratitude goes out to my friend and former trust client Addison Bartush who in 2008 indicated willingness for me to interview him about his military career with the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. Addison provided me with a large box that contained letters from his parents, siblings and friends, USAAF school graduation commemorative pamphlets, photographs, sewing kits, technical flying manuals, uniform patches, Army shoelaces, a wartime newsletter from 1st Air Division Headquarters, and (most notably) 28 yellowed and crumbly publications of the Stars and Stripes newspaper, each containing a write up on a mission flown by him. Missing however, were letters that Addison wrote home to his parents, brothers and sister. This turned out not to be a problem, however, for Addison’s memory of his World War II service was excellent. In my extensive personal interviews with Addison he was able to fill in all the blanks. In my gratitude to Addison, I wish to especially thank him for his service to country. I happened to be born during World War II and have lived a good life in a free America since then—thanks, Addison.
I wish to convey my special thanks to Addison’s crewmate, Paul Lynch, for permitting me to use excerpts appearing in quotations from his 1998, 34-page personal memoir about his World War II experience entitled The Great Warrior, and also for allowing me to extensively interview him through telephone and email exchanges; for carefully reviewing his story about World War II for accuracy and for providing valuable and timely input at all times. Paul asked me in 2011 if I would write about his POW experience, and I decided to do it and also combine it with Addison’s story. Paul is co-author of much of each chapter that pertains to him. Many of the images appearing in this book are used with Paul’s permission. I likewise thank Paul for his military service in both a national and personal sense.
Recognition should be given to the resource book entitled The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourn: The 91st Bombardment Group in World War II. Written by Marion H. Havelaar and William N. Hess and published in 1995, this work contains, in addition to the war-story narrative, a number of detailed and highly useful appendices. It has a listing of every combat mission the 91st ever completed, scrubbed, cancelled or aborted, the history and name of every aircraft flown by it, and a 28-page “Roll of Honor”—the 91st Bomb Group’s casualty list by name and date—killed in action, wounded in action, prisoner of war, survived ditching and other categories. This reference work proved to be invaluable in reconstructing who, what, when and where of the air combat records of Addison Bartush and Paul Lynch. The Havelaar family was most generous in granting excerpt permissions and authorization to reproduce images from this important historical work.
Thanks go the 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association for maintaining on their website a plethora of historical information about World War II operations of the Bomb Group including daily reports of squadron activities. I highly recommend the Memorial Association’s website, www.91stbombgroup.com, to all readers who are interested in learning about the glorious history of the USAAF 91st Bomb Group. This website is outstanding. Particular appreciation goes to its President, Mick Hanou, who assisted in the final edit of my book.
I am grateful for author John Meurs, who wrote Not Home for Christmas: A Day in the Life of the Mighty Eighth, a work that devotes a chapter to each of 34 heavy bombers from the Eighth Air Force lost on November 26, 1944, one of which was The Wild Harewith Paul Lynch and eight others aboard. Not Home for Christmas enabled me to flesh out personal particulars for a number of members of this bomber’s crew, which contributed to the presentation of this story. For the account of the downing of The Wild Hare I relied primarily upon information furnished to me by Paul Lynch and also from other attributed sources.
Gratefulness is expressed to Hillsdale College for publishing Imprimis (Latin meaning “in the first place”) its no-charge national speech digest. Scholarly presentations delivered at this college’s many seminar and lecture programs are made available to the public through this publication. One such paper, given in 1988 by Nikolai Tolstoy entitled “Forced Repatriation to the Soviet Union: The Secret Betrayal,” proved invaluable to me in understanding and putting forward a point of view on the relationship existing between the United States and Soviet Union immediately following the cessation of hostilities in World War II. Not only is Hillsdale College to be commended for its “subscription free upon request” policy, but also its blanket openness rule granting permission to reprint presentations in whole or in part.
I am indebted to my longtime friend and fellow writer Michael Goodell who edited my manuscript. Last but not least, I wish to thank my brother Mark Allison for his invaluable assistance as my primary editor and agent. Mark put in long hours improving my writing, fact-checking, working on images, dealing with publishing houses, and took on a whole host of other responsibilities. I honestly could not have done this writing project without his encouragement and backing.