George Herbert Walker Bush was an aviator in the US Navy, Honorary Chairman of the American Air Museum and, of course, 41st President of the United States. Following his death, aged 94 on 30 November 2018, we look back at his impact on the wars of the 20th Century and his relationship with the American Air Museum.
Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts on 12 June 1923. On his 18th birthday, six months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, he enlisted in the US Navy. After completing his training and earning a commission as an aviator with the US Navy Reserve on 9 June 1943 (just before his 19th birthday) he became the youngest Naval Aviator to date. From 1944 he flew from the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto where he took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, one of the largest air battles of the Second World War.
On 2 September 1944, on a mission to attack Japanese installations on Chichi-jima, Bush's TBM Avenger was hit by flak and his engine caught fire, he continued the sortie, releasing his bombs over the target before bailing out in the Pacific Ocean. He was rescued by the submarine USS Finback after 4 hours aboard a life raft, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. Though he later learned that the other aviators shot down that day had been captured and executed by Japanese Forces. Bush was honourably discharged in September 1945, a month after the surrender of Japan.
Guest post: The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library Digital Archive needs your help with their ARC State Registers!By 2nd Air Division Memorial Library on 29/03/2018
An extract from the West Virginia pages of the first volume of the registers, showing David E Tuckwiller's signature (mc_371-919#169).
The American Red Cross Service Club at the Bishop’s Palace in Norwich opened in 1943 to provide American servicemen visiting the city a home away from home where they could enjoy refreshments, recreational activities, and a place to stay. The state registers are a lasting testament to the important role the Red Cross played in bringing together servicemen and aiding their general welfare.
B-17 “Wee Willie” going down over Berlin on April 8 1945, just one month before the end of the War in Europe. This photo inspired my WWII research. I originally viewed the crash of “Wee Willie” in a TIME-LIFE history of World War 2 around 1971 at the age of 13.—Bill Beigel
American researcher Bill Beigel talks about his collection of American airmen’s casualty records, now available on the AAM website:
One of the photos in the Roger Freeman Collection that was in need of cataloging (FRE 4462)
We have been combing through Roger Freeman’s photographic collection and gathering as much information as we can on each picture in the collection. We have then written up a digital record entry attached to a digital copy of each photograph. In September, the first 3,000 of these 15,000 images will be available to view and download from the new AAM website. Each photo will have its accompanying information, whether that's on the front of the print or on its reverse – doubly important as the reverses have not been digitized – displayed with the picture for easy viewing. This will be combined with any details pertinent to the photograph we have researched or gleaned from Roger Freeman’s paper archive. Now, to show you what that means in practice, I’ll cheat slightly and use a picture processed a few weeks ago to explain the procedure.
Jenny in the middle with Major (Ret.) Henry 'Duke' Boswell, flanked by Duke's friends Josh and Dawn.
Meeting the men and women who did extraordinary things during the Second World War is one of the privileges of my job.
Virginia Irwin from Missouri, talking to Lieutenant Glennon T ‘Bubbles’ Moran of the 352nd Fighter Group. It is one of the pictures that we selected for our temporary exhibition ‘Somewhere in England’, which you can still catch at IWM Duxford up until March 2014.
Here is a sneak preview of one of the remarkable people who will feature in new displays in the American Air Museum.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill speaks at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on Thanksgiving Day, 23 November 1944.
The broadcast from the Prime Minister as was on Thanksgiving Day 1944 went as follows:
The Great Map in the chapel at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial (Wikipedia)
A visit to a pair of graves in Cambridge American Cemetery and a chance glance at a third grave - and a new life story to investigate.