Memorial Day 2015: Remembering Uncle Edward Gelman

My Dad, Arthur had two brothers Melvin and Edward and one sister, Millie. I never met my Uncle Edward because he was killed during WW2. But I knew him through stories my dad would tell me and I know that my Gramma Bertha and Grampa Max thought about him every day.

I always wondered what would have happened if he lived. What would he have been like (My Dad said he was a good kid.) Would have he have married? Would I have more cousins?

American cemetery in Cambridge,England

American cemetery in Cambridge,England

I found this today and I was able to leave a flower.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56289977

Death: Apr. 23, 1945, Isle of Man

USAAF WORLD WAR II
Passenger M/Sgt. Edward Z. M. Gelman Lost
Hometown: Massachusetts
Squadron: 532nd 381st Bomb Group
Service# 11030709
Awards: Bronze Star
Pilot Captain Charles E. Ackerman Lost

Target: Ferry Mission
CASUALTIES NOT LISTED IN MACR
Date Lost: 23-Apr-45
Serial Number: #43-38856
Aircraft Model B-17G
Aircraft Letter:
Aircraft Name:
Location: southern side of North Barrule Isle of Man
Cause: Pilot error, 31 service men lost.

Reports from the time of this crash stated that no combat operations over Germany were planned, so servicemen from nine different units were billeted for a week’s leave to Northern Ireland. The men chosen were the support servicemen, the ground crews, armourers, mechanics and fitters – people who kept the aircraft flying, combat-ready and safe. Some of those men had been on duty since June 1943 and for most this was their first real break. This ferry flight from Ridgewell in Esssex to Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland with a normal crew and a large number of passengers was on course flying in low cloud when it crossed the coast of the Isle of Man. The flight, piloted by Captain Charles E. Ackerman was never to reach its destination. Shortly after the aircraft passed over Glen Mona and Corrany before flying into the steep southern slope of North Barrule about 200ft short of the summit of the hill. The aircraft disintegrated with most of the airframe being consumed by fire. The crash killed all 31 crew and passengers on the aircraft.

The sadness of this tragedy was compounded by the fact that it happened just two weeks before the end of the war.

plaque at crash site

plaque at crash site

http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/pages/isleofman/iom43-38856.htm

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 43-38856 of the 534th Bombardment Squadron, 381st Bombardment Group, flew into the southern side of North Barrule on the 23rd April 1945.

The aircraft was on a ferry flight from Ridgewell in Esssex to Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland with a normal ferry crew and a large number of passengers.  These passengers were additional aircrew and ground crew travelling to Northern Ireland for a short period of leave.  The aircraft was on course flying in low cloud when it crossed the coast of the Isle of Man.  Shortly after the aircraft passed over Glen Mona and Corrany before flying into the steep southern slope of North Barrule about 200ft short of the summit of the hill.  The aircraft disintegrated with most of the airframe being consumed by fire.  The crash killed all 31 crew and passengers on the aircraft.

American Cemetery in Cambridge, England

American Cemetery in Cambridge, England

This was the second accident on the island involving a B-17 in less than 10 days, the previous accident also detailed on this site.

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/55109

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/326

The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and the second was awarded to the 1st Bomb Division as a whole for flying without fighter protection to bomb aircraft factories at Oschersleben on 11 January 1944.

When Adam was 13 we went to England for 3 weeks and we went to visit our Uncle Edward’s grave in Cambridge, England. It was amazing experience. They help you find the grave and then take you there with sand so you can take photos.

photo

American Cemetery in Cambridge, England

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_American_Cemetery_and_Memorial

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5 comments on “Memorial Day 2015: Remembering Uncle Edward Gelman

  1. Bill Geist says:

    Hi, William E. Geist was killed on this flight, too. As you know the War ended two weeks later and on May10 I was born and named after him. I’ve always missed him, tho we never met.

    Like

  2. cyndilenz says:

    Reblogged this on cyndi lenz and commented:

    Memorial Weekend 2016

    Like

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