m a r k e r i c k s o n p a i n t i n g s Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson Air Corps 1942 - 1945
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.
In 1938, my Father Ernest Anders Erickson was sixteen years old and ever since he watched the newsreels of Charles Lindbergh's historic non-stop flight from New York to Paris, his head was filled with flying dreams.
Here he is not far from where he was born and raised in Painted Woods, standing in front of his Grandparents Anders and Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsdotter-Olsson) Erickson's Farmland in Regan, Burleigh County, North Dakota. Both his Grandparents, the Erickson's and the Nelsons ran farms soon after emigrating from Sweden in 1903. I also added another Dakota Farmland vista photograph of Ernest Anders' Mother Clara Amelia (Nilsson) Nelson taken in 1919 on her farm in Painted Woods, the same farmhouse in the photograph where my dad was born.
It was the influences of growing up on the Great Northern Plains with the flat horizons stretching out, pointing in all directions that a boy could dream of what else is out there. With the arrival of the Barnstormer pilots setting down with their prop airplanes whirling on the nearby flat-lands his dreams of being an Aviator first began.
This image shows the vastness of North Dakota and the landscapes he was familiar with. The big skies and the horizons that go on forever. Four years later in early 1942 my Father joined the Army Air Corps. He joined to be a Fighter Pilot, though after some months heading in that direction the Army Air Corps in desperate need of Bomber Pilots, my dad continued training in that regard.
Within eighteen months he was assigned to the 8th Air Force's 95th Bomb Group as a Heavy Bomber Pilot. He commenced with his Flying Combat duty in the East Anglia area of England in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, specifically at the former RAF Airfield at Horham.
In February of 1944 he and his crew were assigned the first of twelve B-17 'Flying Fortresses' that they would be flying to complete their assignment. That first mission went easy enough, a nice introduction to Flak and the Luftwaffe. They continued flying dangerous missions over Nazi occupied Europe through till the end of August of 1944. He would, in the end, accomplish 35 missions primarily piloting the B-17 'Lili of the Lamplight' (44-6085) before he was sent back Stateside. On his return from England and New York City, he spent three weeks with his Family in Bismarck, especially reacquainting himself with his five year old Sister Dian Marcella. Lt. Erickson was assigned for the remainder of the war as a Flight Instructor in Texas and Arizona.
My Father's dreams came true from those days on the Dakota Plains and set him on a life of being involved in the 'Air Business,' as he called it. Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson was discharged from the Air Force in the late Summer of 1945.
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