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No time except the time we have invented

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN – Forgotten Faces of Our Dead Heroes won internal prizes at our film schoolSHOO SHOO BABY CREW 8TH USAF BOMBER GROUP

FACES OF OUR FORGOTTEN HEROES

Forgotten Faces of Our Dead Heroes won internal prizes at our film school, the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, for being a movie of a strong nature, an art film of poetic overtones, and of positively determinable significance. This short 16 mm film piece was produced at school in 2002. It paints a gruesome picture of total devastating warfare in the mind of its viewers, using original photographs and documents, as well as, literary lyricism taken from Russian poetic history, and topped off using creative writing of my own making. In strong visual fashion, this true story recounts that of an ensemble of airmen, whom I have never met, being much younger then the period under consideration; though my parents knew the members of this bomber crew.

On the 11th of April, 1944, none of them knew what awaited beyond the clouds that covered England. They went to their death that day with hundreds of other American heroes, fighting their through the flak, that is, the antiaircraft fire, especially as experienced by the crews of combat airplanes at which the fire is directed, and making their way to the targets in Poznan, Poland. There, they bombed Nazi armament installations and other secret weapon ammunition systems. Remember that they were not to far from the top secret Peenemünde Military Test Sites in Northeastern Germany. All in all, the mission was considered a success, but at what cost did Eisenhower measure that kind of success?

On the return trip home, many of them perished from damage received to their aircrafts from surface-to-air cannon directed at them from secure sites surrounding large cities. One of those cities was Rostock, Germany, located adjacent to the great expanse of the Baltic sea. Air Force documents from either allied bombers safely making back to their home base in the UK or from German war records indicate that Paul H. Pelletier’s B-17G 42-32003 SHOO SHOO BABY 388BG was hit severely by a dense flak barrages put up by German artillery guarding strategic installations near Rostock. Still operational, 32003 was in trouble and the wolf packs came in for the kill, as waves of fighters began to drill the limping bomber until a direct hit lethally penetrated the cockpit killing some of its crew. Bomber 32003 began a death spin down to the surface of the sea. Witnesses swear seeing two or more airmen jumping out of the doomed aircraft, not being sure if their parachutes opened. All ten members of Lt. William “Bill” Knowles crew were killed. Sgt. Paul H. Pelletier’s mother took the news badly, never accepting that her beloved son died in such a gruesome manner, for he was the ball turret gunner locked inside the sphere under the belly of the bomber. Adding to their incredible injuries, fire and smoke spewed out from cracks breaking out from the fuselage of 32003. Till someone from the US war department, or else today’s defense department, recognizes greater contributions made from these airmen of 32003, as well as, several other downed aircrafts crashing into the black waters of the Baltic Sea on that day, April 11, 1944. Other 8th bomber group USAF aircrafts were also hit with lethal outcomes. One that survived the German assaults was B-17G-45-BO 42-97083 of the 782nd BS/452nd BG, which crashed-landed on the German Baltic Sea coast after being hit by flak during the same mission. All ten members from this latter crew were captured and imprisoned by the Germans. However, not as lucky as their 97083-pals B-17G-20-BO BX-D 42-31447 “Cookie” of the 338th BS/96th BG was shot down by Luftwaffe fighters over the Baltic Sea, during their return home after bombing their targets near Poznan. All ten members of Lt. Jack W. Splan’s crew were killed.

In the end of it, nobody can bring them back but I, George David Maynard, documentary filmmaker from the Mel Hoppenhein School of Cinema, Concordia University, will continue to honor their brave and courageous efforts for freedom, by displaying text wherever I’m allowed and to pin up photos wherever I can, as well as, show digital video of films I made, all which try to depict airmen of highest distinction and of absolute determination to accomplish their mission for the sake of ending the war as soon as logistically possible.

And so it is that their story is our story. Their death is our death. And they can only live on in our deepest thoughts, as well as our most cherished memories. We should and shall always remember them, and do so well and honorably. We, the people and the US citizens of a proud and grateful nation, we salute you with our heads held up high, and do so with no regrets; and so it is forevermore. We, the people of America will always be in your debt.  Until we meet again, I shall remember you always.

In the final report with of a corrected analysis, 1st Lt. William A. Knowles, who enlisted June 18th, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois, commanded the aircraft 42-32003. In full denotation their bomber, B-17G 42-32003 SHOO SHOO BABY 388BG, was attacked by fighters just after bombs away, which shot off part of the vertical stabilizer. The plane stayed in formation a few minutes, then dove down and crashed into the water. Five chutes were seen, but the men must have perished in the cold water. The conclusion to be made here is that B-17G 42-32003 SHOO SHOO BABY 388BG attacked an installation near Rostock, after having bombed other armament facilities near Poznan, Poland. Certainly, the USAF-8 had gotten to the point where it had to force the Germans to fight to the death, if they were going to win the war in any reasonable length of time; for by then the war for the Americans had already lasted three years, and its toll on the airmen of the 8th AF was being felt outwardly, as well as within. From about the summer of 1944 and on, the US policies in fighting the war were, as what became known as, and be called by the experts, “total and absolute warfare.” Hence, the history books will definitely show that by the end of WWII, the Allies were fighting an all out war of total destruction, whereby all ground targets, including civilians, were, unfortunately, fully legitimate objects of aggressive military attacks, which they took out with extreme prejudice.

Abstract expressionist photograph - Super Moon 2013

Super Moon June 23, 2013