m a r k e r i c k s o n p a i n t i n g s Family Photographs - 1865 - 2017 Sweden * Italy * England * France * Germany New York City * California * Colorado * North Dakota
My grandmother Clara Amelia (Nelson) Erickson in the light green dress looking uncharacteristically serious at the time, considering that her son had just returned from the Air Corps for a visit before heading overseas. Clara's son Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson was back in October of 1943 with the family on Jefferson Avenue in Bismarck.
Ernest's three year old sister Dian Marcella (Boutrous) Erickson is standing in front of him. Clara's sister-in-law Elsie (Heaten) Nelson is in the center with her two kids Louise (Park) and Esther (Jundt) Nelson. My dad was home 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 over Nazi occupied Europe.
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 April I think of my dad, especially today April 29th in 1944 he and the crew of the Flying Fortress "Able Mable" (#42-31920) would complete their first mission over Berlin. He wrote of this the morning before the flight in his diary and transcribed it later. Find that attached below.
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 dedicate this remarkable photograph.
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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