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Click to view Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson's complete thirty five mission list and twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses flown between March 27th thru August 26th, 1944 out of Horham Airfield, England.
My grandmother Clara Amelia (Nelson) Erickson and her son Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson at home at 801 Jefferson Avenue in Bismarck, North Dakota - October 1943. My dad was visiting his folks on leave after graduating from Advanced Flight Training at Blackland Field. In two months he would be off to Horham Airfield in England to begin his combat flying.
In March of 1944 my father would complete his first mission and by the time he received the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in late June 1944 they had completed their 25th, a No-Ball (an attack on V-1 & V-2 rocket installations hidden in the forest along the French coast) mission over France. Every year around this time in March I think of my dad as he began combat flying over Europe in March of 1944.
Then I think of my grandmother Clara, as she told me of her often constant worries about her son while he was in England. His dozens of letters home tried to comfort her fears and then in some most likely stoked her fears when he described some of the more distressful missions he had completed. In the end after 35 missions he was done with combat. Even though he put in a transfer to fly the B-29 Superfortress, something he never told his mother, he eventually did return home in 1945 all in one piece. That reunion I am sure was quite emotional. So to my grandmother Clara Amelia (Nelson) Erickson I post this photograph of her and my dad beaming at their first of two reunions.
By late August of 1944 my father and crew awaited the day they would complete their last and final 35th mission. The cards laid out for that mission on August 26th, 1944 took a very uncertain last minute diversion.
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