Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Genealogy Research Club] Re: Memorial Day in the US

Expand Messages
  • circa_1948
    I have many, my brother being the most recent but as for a recognized hero I ll tell about my cousin 1ST Lt Francis Akins. A video explaining the mission of
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 1 1:42 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      I have many, my brother being the most recent but as for a recognized hero I'll tell about my cousin 1ST Lt Francis Akins.
      A video explaining the mission of the Frantic 7 - I'll Be Seeing You and crew can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf5WsGOheZE
      He was pilot of the "I'll Be Seeing You", shot down over Poland during a mercy flight 18 Sep 1944.
      He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Air Medal (with Oak Leaf Clusters), the Cross of Polish Underground Home Army
      and the Polish Cross of Valor.

      Francis E. Akins entered military service from Pennsylvania. One of the last to be rushed through a nine-month training course, he would
      take control of a B-17 bomber during the war. Francis was stationed with the 568th Bomber Squadron - 390th Bomber Group, Heavy with the 13th Combat Bombardment Wing of the U.S. Eighth Air Force.
      The 390th Bomber Group consisted of the following squadrons of B-17's:
      . 568th Bomb Squadron
      . 569th Bomb Squadron
      . 570th Bomb Squadron
      . 571st Bomb Squadron

      The group flew the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives, flying many missions with the aid of pathfinders. The 390th began combat on 12 August 1943.

      On September 18, 1944, Francis and his crew took off in their bomber, known as the "I'll Be Seeing You", from their base in Framlingham, England to begin Mission #191. It would be his fifteenth and final mission.

      Part of a mission of mercy to air drop canisters of food, weapons, and medical supplies to the bedraggled Polish Underground Army in Warsaw during what became known as "The Warsaw Uprising", the "I'll Be Seeing You" was accompanied by 107 other B-17's, as well as 152 fighters. During this mission, Francis' plane was hit by German flak. Three men managed to bail out successfully before the bomber hit the ground. Unfortunately, they drifted into an area north of Warsaw that was already in the hands of German SS troops. As they slowly fell to earth, they were raked by gunfire. One man was killed, the other two were captured and spent four months in Nazi POW camps. Francis E. Akins and the other 6 members of his crew were killed when the bomber hit the ground and exploded. The "I'll Be Seeing You" would be the only plane lost in the mission.

      The people of Poland never forgot the sacrifice of these men. In an article written by Elizatbeth Sullivan, a columnist for the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio, their bravery is remembered by Mr. Vince Stefanek, a fellow crew member.....

      A Long Memory for Heroes;
      B-17 Crew's Effort to Aid Uprising is Still Cherished in Warsaw
      by Elizabeth Sullivan, Plain Dealer

      In most histories of war it would be but a
      footnote.

      A lone B-17 bomber, nicknamed "I'll Be
      Seeing You" by her crew, was shot down over
      Nazi-occupied Poland 60 years ago this
      Saturday. Of the more than 100 Flying
      Fortresses that dropped canisters of weapons,
      food and medical supplies for rebelling Poles
      during the Warsaw Uprising, it was the only
      one lost.

      All of the other bombers - even those hit by
      shrapnel or zinged by the swarms of Nazi Messerschmitt 109 fighters
      and a handful of Focke-Wulf FW-190s sent up to engage them -
      managed to fly on to a Soviet airfield in Ukraine.
      Those included a B-17 nicknamed "Bugs Bunny," whose pilot was
      shot dead in mid-air, but whose crew managed to land her, as well as
      take out several enemy planes.

      The mission became an almost mythological event to the Poles who
      witnessed the crash of the "I'll Be Seeing You" or heard about it later.
      It cemented in the Polish mind the idea that they weren't abandoned -
      even though the airdrop itself was more or less a flop, with 90 percent
      of supplies falling into German hands. It was the only such mission
      when allied aircraft were able to use Soviet airfields to resupply the
      Poles; British pilots flying out of Italy had suffered heavy losses.
      After 63 days, the uprising was crushed and nearly 200,000 Poles lost
      their lives as Soviet troops failed to liberate warsaw in time.
      But even footnotes can be grand events, if they stand for some larger
      ideal or hope.

      Today, one of the roads through Lomianki, Poland, where 10 U.S.
      airmen lost their lives Sept. 18, 1944, including the pilots of two
      downed P-51 fighters, is named Francis E. Akins St., after the pilot of
      the ill-fated B-17. A tall granite monument memorializes the sacrifices
      of his crew, and the son of a local man who was 12 when the bomber
      was shot down is writing his own history of his "favorite story" from
      childhood.

      The footnote also has led to military honors from the Poles and
      Soviets, along with visits to Lomianki by Vice Presidents George
      H.W. Bush in 1987 and Al Gore in 1994.

      And Vince Stefanek of Middleburg Heights still can say, "I lost eight
      of my crew members that day, "even though he flew on a different B-17.

      Stefanek was a 19-year-old waist gunner who had trained with Akins'
      crew and flew his first combat mission from England with them, but
      had been moved into a reserve gunner pool.

      For the Sept. 18 mission,
      he volunteered as tail gunner on the "I'll Get By," flying to the rear of
      the "I'll Be Seeing You" in the same formation.

      Stefanek, who helped bag a Messerschmitt that day, says he saw three
      white parachute canopies below him, but didn't know until later that
      they were from "his" plane.

      Reconstruction by Mark J. Conversino, an Air Force historian, and
      others indicate that even though Akins had been shot in the face, he
      was still trying to steer the stricken B-17 to safety, along with his co-
      pilot, Forrest "Doc" Shaw, when the fire in one of the engines spread
      and the plane began to disintegrate, exploding at about 8,000 feet.

      Only a few of the crew managed to get out in time, then had the bad
      luck of parachuting into an area north of Warsaw that already was in
      German SS hands. Raked by gunfire as they drifted to earth, only two
      of the 10 members of the B-17 crew were captured alive. Both spent
      four months as German POWs and have since died.

      "I have a little part of me in Poland," says Stefanek, now a 79-year-
      old retired insurance executive, and it turns out he's not speaking
      metaphorically.

      He recently sent his military prayer book to Jerzy Szczesniak, the
      36-year-old son of the Lomianski villager who witnessed the crash 60
      years ago, who is researching a history of the event.

      Garnett Akins Rainey of Richmond, Va., says her first husband's
      death not only gave Poles "great hopes that they would be freed
      shortly," but also fulfilled her husband's sense of duty.

      "He would have done anything to try and save people any time," she
      says of the former Pennsylvania railroad conductor who was one of
      the last to be rushed through a nine-month training course before
      taking the controls of the big bombers (later pilots went to college).

      They had been married just two years, and had a small daughter,
      when he died.

      Within two weeks, his brother Hugh Akins, an 82nd Airborne
      paratrooper, also was dead, killed in action elsewhere in Europe.



      In 1978, the townspeople of Lomianki, Poland raised money and erected a memorial (pictured below) to the crew of the "I'll Be Seeing You" despite threats from the Communist government. The mayor of the town, Lucjan Sokolowski told of how the townspeople watched the plane crash in a courtyard that night, pulled bodies from the wreckage and how they attempted to hide the survivors, only to see them become prisoners of the Germans. Today, the townspeople of Lomianki typically commemorate these brave men on September 18th of each year.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mccgram
      Mike ck out some of these: http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.cfm http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.cfm
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 1 4:33 PM
      • 0 Attachment
      • DABennink
        There is a tree on ancestry.com that has a photo. I can help you reach that person if you like. I find the following records there as well: U.S. Civil War
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 1 7:51 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          There is a tree on ancestry.com that has a photo. I can help you reach that person if you like.

          I find the following records there as well:

          U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
          about Harrison Thompson
          Name: Harrison Thompson
          Side: Union
          Regiment State/Origin: Kentucky
          Regiment Name: 12 Kentucky Cavalry
          Regiment Name Expanded: 12th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry
          Company: L
          Rank In: Private
          Rank In Expanded: Private
          Rank Out: Private
          Rank Out Expanded: Private
          Film Number: M386 roll 27


          U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
          about Harrison Thompson
          Name: Harrison Thompson
          Side: Union
          Regiment State/Origin: Missouri
          Regiment Name: 5 Missouri S.M. Cav.
          Regiment Name Expanded: 5th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry
          Company: B
          Rank In: Private
          Rank In Expanded: Private
          Rank Out: Private
          Rank Out Expanded: Private
          Film Number: M390 roll 48



          U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
          about Harrison Thompson
          Name: Harrison Thompson
          Side: Union
          Regiment State/Origin: Missouri
          Regiment Name: 4 Missouri S.M. Cavalry
          Regiment Name Expanded: 4th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry
          Company: E
          Rank In: Corporal
          Rank In Expanded: Corporal
          Rank Out: Private
          Rank Out Expanded: Private
          Film Number: M390 roll 48


          I don't know if any of them are the right one, but they are places you can look. If you google the regiment, perhaps there is some information in there that would make sense for you.

          I found some pension records, but none with a wife Elizabeth noted. I will poke around a bit more.

          Dawn

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • tenmans38@aol.com
          Yes Dawn I would really appreciate that photo help. I also have discovered there were two Harrison Thompson s from Illinois who served in the Civil War.The
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 2 9:44 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            Yes Dawn I would really appreciate that photo help.
            I also have discovered there were two Harrison Thompson's
            from Illinois who served in the Civil War.The reason this
            might be important is because wife Elizabeth was born
            in Illinois (her Father in Ohio)I think that Harrison traveled
            thru Illinois (could they have met and married there?)to get
            to Missouri. I would think that those two had to link up
            somewhere along the way. Harrison clearly stayed put
            in Missouri where he started his large family with Elizabeth.

            Mike



            Posted by: "DABennink"
            There is a tree on ancestry.com that has a photo. I can help you reach that
            person if you like.

            I find the following records there as well:

            U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
            about Harrison Thompson
            Name: Harrison Thompson
            Side: Union
            Regiment State/Origin: Kentucky
            Regiment Name: 12 Kentucky Cavalry
            Regiment Name Expanded: 12th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry
            Company: L
            Rank In: Private
            Rank In Expanded: Private
            Rank Out: Private
            Rank Out Expanded: Private
            Film Number: M386 roll 27


            U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
            about Harrison Thompson
            Name: Harrison Thompson
            Side: Union
            Regiment State/Origin: Missouri
            Regiment Name: 5 Missouri S.M. Cav.
            Regiment Name Expanded: 5th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry
            Company: B
            Rank In: Private
            Rank In Expanded: Private
            Rank Out: Private
            Rank Out Expanded: Private
            Film Number: M390 roll 48


            U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
            about Harrison Thompson
            Name: Harrison Thompson
            Side: Union
            Regiment State/Origin: Missouri
            Regiment Name: 4 Missouri S.M. Cavalry
            Regiment Name Expanded: 4th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry
            Company: E
            Rank In: Corporal
            Rank In Expanded: Corporal
            Rank Out: Private
            Rank Out Expanded: Private
            Film Number: M390 roll 48


            I don't know if any of them are the right one, but they are places you can
            look. If you google the regiment, perhaps there is some information in
            there that would make sense for you.

            I found some pension records, but none with a wife Elizabeth noted. I will
            poke around a bit more.

            Dawn


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • tenmans38@aol.com
            Thanks so much for this. I found that one Harrison Thompson from Kentucky who was in the Civil War. I noticed there were a lot of George Thompson s there who
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 2 10:10 PM
            • 0 Attachment
              Thanks so much for this. I found that one Harrison Thompson
              from Kentucky who was in the Civil War. I noticed there were
              a lot of George Thompson's there who served as well.That was
              Harrison's Dad's name.Is there anyway I can link these two
              together as a family in Kentucky?I don't even have a clue as to
              what county they lived in. George is my wall that stays beyond
              my reach. I do not know if he had other children or if he really
              died in Missouri or was even buried there (or even went there).
              George is one Jasper that is hard to pin down except that he
              was born in Kentucky as was his son Harrison on Jan 22 1835.
              Are there clues here as in ways of finding George?


              Mike




              Posted by: "mccgram"
              Mike ck out some of these:
              _http://www.itd.http://www.ithttp://wwhtt_
              (http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.cfm)

              _http://www.itd.http://www.ithttp://wwhtt_
              (http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.cfm)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.