Archived Story

Author pens book about uncle lost in WWII

Published 12:25pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A 14-year search to learn what happened to his uncle who was listed as Missing in Action (MIA) in World War II has resulted in a book written by Tony Crawford, a Ryan native who now lives in Dallas, Texas.

Charles “Charlie” Crawford was a gunner on a B-17 bomber that was shot down by German fighter planes in the Dollard Sea near the Holland-Germany border on June 25, 1943,

A crew of 10 went down with the bomber when it exploded and fell into the sea. Crawford was one of the four who didn’t survive the crash. His family was notified that he was Missing in Action and his body was never recovered.

Why did Crawford write his book entitled “The Search for Miss Deal and The Early Raiders on The Reich?”

“I was born in 1943 the same year that my uncle Charlie was reported Missing in Action,” he said. “I was raised on a farm in Morgan County about a mile from where grandmother lived. She kept Uncle Charlie’s room as he had left it. Although it was generally off limits, I visited it when I was about five and fell asleep on his bed.. I awoke hearing my grandmother lifting up a prayer. She was praying to Jesus to please bring Charlie home. This always haunted me and left a memory that remains with me today.

“In 1999, my daughter and I began searching for Charlie’s crewmates and their families that were mentioned in Charlie’s letters to my grandmother.” She located the tail gunner in Brighton, Colo. and the co-pilot in Jacksonville, Fla. This was the break we needed as the search intensified.” Visits to these crew members’ homes led to Bomb Group reunions and eventually to air war researchers and some of Uncle Charlie’s Army Air Corps buddies.

Air War Study Group members revealed that some of the official information was incorrect such as the location of the wreckage. Also, the location of the original wreckage of some of the KIA crew members were visited. Another air war historian was visited in Germany. He shared numerous unpublished photos and Luftwaffe documents.

Crawford’s book chronicles his uncle’s fateful mission and includes many interesting stories he uncovered while searching for his whereabouts.

The self-published book is available on amazon.con, booksamillion.com, barnes&noble.com or direct from the publishers by clicking on https://www.createspace.com/4417958.

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