History

Past History News Story Clippings for 2001

Aphrodite Missions

In August of 2000 at the quarterly meeting the local 8th Air Force Association Oregon Chapter the speaker was a pilot who assisted in the "Aphrodite" missions in World War II. These were the "war weary" bombers that were crammed full of explosives, launched by two volunteer pilots who then bailed out after which the plane was guided by remote control to German targets. Joe Kennedy (brother of JFK) was killed flying one of these missions. The speaker was the pilot in the control plane and was watching Joe Kennedy's plane when it blew up over England. A TV movie was even made of it "Young Joe: The Forgotten Kennedy".

Arthur Lacey and a B-17 Gas Station

Since 1947 a B-17G has been on Oregon 99 - - as an attraction to get people to purchase gas and eat. Arthur William Lacey died in February of 2001. He had had purchased it, flown it here, and then trucked and mounted it above the fuel pumps of his gas station. Lacey Lady on her pedalstal in Milwaukie Oregon. The cockpit is being restored in an adjacient building. If you look closely you can still see the lights mounted under the wings in the linked photo. The cockpit is being restored in an adjacent building and can be seen on weekends. They have a restaurant there now called "The Bomber" and more details are there.

Col. Jimmy Yule of Colditz

Col. Yule died in January of 2001. This British officer was captured in 1940 at Dunqurque (Dunkirk). After many escapes from normal prison camps he was transferred to the high security prison at Colditz near Leipzig. Colonel Yule operated the radio receiver built in the castle (and only found in 1993 during remodeling) that helped in planning escapes from the castle. He never tried to escape from there since his services were too valuable in helping others escape.

A TV movie was made based on this feat of engineering and stealth sometime in the 1980s with Doug McClure playing a OSS agent sent to break out with another POW who was wanted back in England.

Just this past January of 2001 a PBS special revisited Colditz with some of the past prisoners. In 1944 the British, Polish, French, American and other POWs built a complete glider in the castle (never found during any German inspections) and had planned to use it to get two prisoners out but they canceled it (but continued to built it to completion) after the 50 recaptured prisoners were executed from "The Great Escape." The PBS special built a new glider using the original plans and materials and then flew it. It flew fantastic.

He was liberated in April 1945.

Vice Admiral Harry DeWolf

This Canadian naval officer also died and his obituary appeared on the same page as Colonel Yule. He was the most successful naval destroyer captain on the Allied side. He sank or damaged 12 submarines or destroyers during the Second World War. He even wrested a live torpedo flying around the deck of a ship one time. The ship he commanded during most of WW-II, Haida, is a floating museum on the Toronto waterfront in Canada.

Enigma Cipher Machine

In April of 2000 the German Enigma cipher machine on display at Bletchley Park museum was stolen . This is the machine which was first acquired by Czech intelligence agents and then smuggled to the UK. The main cipher machine was recovered in October - - less the three cipher wheels which make it work. This key piece of gear enabled the British to decode German signal traffic almost in real time toward the end of the war. The secret that German code system was broken during the war was kept till 1965 when it slipped out during an interview with Winston Churchill if I remember correctly.

I-205 Renamed

Interstate 205, which is a 2 to 8 lane Interstate bypass of Portland running from I-5 at Fern Prairie to I-5 at Tigard in Oregon, was officially renamed to Veterans Memorial Highway. Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 392 (Portland) led the effort to have it officially named this. So it too is now a "Blue Star Memorial Highway."

The I-5 Interstate Bridge has a plaque showing that it too is a "Blue Star" highway. The name comes from the the flags that people displayed in their homes during World War II.

This information came from the free bimonthly newspaper that is produced by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.

The newsletter goes to every veteran in Oregon. POC is Editor; 700 Summer St. NE; Salem Oregon 97301-1285. 503.373.2386. No URL is listed in the newspaper.

Lots of useful information in there. Reunions, benefits, phone numbers etc.

Vice Admiral Harry DeWolf

This Canadian naval officer also died and his obituary appeared on the same page as Colonel Yule. He was the most successful naval destroyer captain on the Allied side. He sank or damaged 12 submarines or destroyers during the Second World War. He even wrested a live torpedo flying around the deck of a ship one time. The ship he commanded during most of WW-II, Haida, is a floating museum on the Toronto waterfront in Canada.

Enigma Cipher Machine

In April of 2000 the German Enigma cipher machine on display at Bletchley Park museum was stolen . This is the machine which was first acquired by Czech intelligence agents and then smuggled to the UK. The main cipher machine was recovered in October - - less the three cipher wheels which make it work. This key piece of gear enabled the British to decode German signal traffic almost in real time toward the end of the war. The secret that German code system was broken during the war was kept till 1965 when it slipped out during an interview with Winston Churchill if I remember correctly.

WW-II MIA P-51 Pilot found in France

I saw in AVWeb clip then later searched and found in more detail from AP and Reuters news stories. They state that on February 236, 20001, a Lt. William W. Patton was found in his buried P-51 Fighter plane near Feignies, France. It is very near the Belgian border. The CNN news story published contained at least 1 factual errors in it that I saw. Further details are reported at http://www.p51.mustangsmustangs.com/p51.shtml (no longer active) since the initial article.

P-51 Story error.

They said he was in the Air Force - - sorry - - he was in the Army Air Force. Prior to June of 1941 it was called the Army Air Corps. It did not become the US Air Force till 1947.

A follow-up article that came from MSNBC news (http://www.msnbc.com/news/537337.asp#BODY) but the link is no longer active (problems when articles are being fed from a database - - they archive them off that they soon disappear forever!)

FOR HALF A CENTURY a marble marker stood over an empty piece of ground. It read, "In memory of William W. Patton, Jr.," who was missing in action in World War II.
Now, in a faraway place where that young flyer went to fight, Army Search and Rescue Specialist David Roath matched the identification numbers from the wreckage of a U.S. aircraft to a missing plane, piloted by Lt. Patton 56 years ago.
Roathe asked that this message be given to Patton’s family: "You can tell them I am just so sorry it took so long to find him."
It was January 1945. The 27-year-old Air Force pilot was flying his last mission over France near the border of Belgium. He was never seen again — until late last week, when a French farmer was shocked to discover the buried wreckage of an American fighter plane.
There was shock too in Patton’s little hometown of Stark City, Missouri, where his niece, Connie, and the rest of the family are flooded now with the stories grandmother told about their missing uncle.
"It’s overwhelming all of us," Connie says. "It’s brought forth feelings, emotions, that none of us knew we possessed. After 56 years, are we going to know?"
Identification could take months. So, too, could the cause of the crash.
Patton was on a weather reconnaissance mission in the fog. No bullet holes have been found in the wreckage.

"We want him to be buried with honors," his niece says, "because he died, he sacrificed his life for freedom."

FRENCH WOMAN REMEMBERS
Jacqueline Bergler was 21 years old in 1945. She remembers a terrible sound the night Lt. Patton’s plane disappeared, but says she was afraid the Germans were coming.
Now 77 years old, she’s sorry she didn’t go investigate.
If the military verifies the remains to be those of Lieutenant Patton, his family can request that they be brought back home, for a full military burial, under the marble marker that has stood sentry for so long in a national cemetery for heroes.
Thursday, with ceremony, the French will turn over the remains of the American flyer who is no longer missing in action.

From a local person here in Oregon, who was one of 5 command pilots for the Aphrodite mother ship for the project during WWII, Patton was on the project to teach others how to best bail out of the B-17s to avoid injury etc. He transferred to P-51s from the project since being a fighter pilot was more exciting and he wanted to do more after his tour was up in the bombers.


E-mail graphicComments or questions? Please e-mail me using the form link in the footer.