Trumbull – Dick is in Alaska – April, 1941

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard (Dick) Guion

A-124    Trumbull, Conn. April 4, 1941

The score is pretty good this week — letters from Ced and Dick, at least a postal from the latter dated Ketchikan, March 27th, and reading, “Arriving soon in Ketchikan! My first Alaskan city or town! I am enjoying myself to the limit. Ran out of cash Thursday, the 20th. Slept Thursday night with another fellow in the hotel whose acquaintance I had made. Stayed on the boat nights until we sailed Sunday. Only ate about three meals in three days. It sort of lowered my resistance so that I now possess a cold — not bad though. Wonderful scenery! I just met another passenger who is quite a character. He used to be a bad egg but is now a good citizen. Can’t wait to get to Anchorage, but it’s still a week off. Until later, Dick.”

If you were right in your estimate, Dick, you have already been in Anchorage three days. I suppose you have lost your cold, got a job and are now feeling like a real sourdough. If it’s any satisfaction to you in a spirit of revenge for letting you down on the sending of additional cash, I have a cold myself and it did not come from not eating enough. It is remarkable how many people right now are laid up with colds. Mr. Plumb, Barbara has undoubtedly written you, is in pretty serious condition. He has some blood clot obstruction in his lung and because of his age it is too dangerous to operate. Apparently there was little hope of his pulling through. George Lipovsky’s father was struck, knock down and injured by an automobile Friday night, by a hit and run driver. A witness saw the thing and summoned an ambulance. The family knew nothing about it until the next morning. He sustained no serious internal injuries, but did have all his front teeth knocked out, legs cut and bruised and a slight concussion of the brain. Today we were to go down to Burnham’s for Sunday dinner but late last night a telegram from Rufus said Eleanor was sick and postponement was in order. This suited me because I am feeling considerably under par myself. Next Sunday, Easter, Grandma has invited us down to New Rochelle for dinner along with Helen, Ted and Burton. Burton came up yesterday afternoon and stayed all night. He is still interested in flying and there is a possibility that he may go after a flying instructor’s job again. For the present, however, he wants nothing said about it because of Grandma’s tendency to worry.

And that reminds me, Ced’s letter reports his flying is improving slowly; that he only needs 50 minutes more before soloing, which he may finish by the end of March. As for the beard, why don’t you try for a goatee and see how it looks. I have had hankerings all my life to see how I would look thus adorned but never got up enough courage to make the trial.

Tomorrow I may get another letter from Lad. We are all keyed up here of course at the prospects and I have looked up on a Grace Line folder what sailings are from Caracas. If he leaves on the 18th he will be home Thursday, April 24th, but if it is a week later he will be here on May 1st. “It won’t be long now”.

And I guess that will do it for an ambitious, germ ridden but still hopeful

DAD

I’ll finish the week with one more letter from Grandpa. On Saturday, another installment of Memories of Early Trumbull, recorded with Grandpa’s children. On Sunday, I’ll again try to post pictures from Uncle Kenneth Peabody’s farm in Star Prairie, Wisc.

Judy Guion   

Tribute To A Hero – (1) Henry R. Briarton – Jan., 1944

Judy,

Here is an interesting WW II story about a member of my family:

Dusty Briarton

During World War II, my mother’s second cousin, Henry (Dusty) Briarton, was the youngest lead bombardier in the Air Force. During one of his combat missions over Kiel, Germany, the 1,750 pounds of live bombs in the bomb bay became trapped, and he jumped on the bombs to get them to release, saving his crew.  He was quite the hero as seen in the news article below and on the news broadcast after the incident.

The transcription of the attached news article:

CARDINAL HAYES GRADUATE

HERO OF BOMBER INCIDENT

HENRY R. BRIARTON SAVED PLANE

AND CREW WHEN HE RELEASED STUCK MISSILES

 

Bombardier Henry R. Briarton, graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School and a member of the Aviation Training Cadets of America while a student there, was the hero of a plane incident recently over Kiel and was credited with saving his plane and crew.  The story of his exploit, cabled from England, was broadcast over the NBC network, and one of the millions of listeners was a next-door neighbor of the nineteen-year-old Bombardier’s family in Jamaica, Long Island, who happened to tell his family.

While the plane flew over Kiel on a bombing mission, the bomb bay doors froze, filling the bay with 1750 pounds of live explosives.  While the rest of the flyers watched breathlessly, Bombardier Briarton jumped atop the live bombs and broke the doors open.  Seven 250-pound bombs poured down on Kiel instantly, and young Briarton almost followed them so precarious was his position.

Clutching to the sides of the bomb bay as he was sliding through, however, he saved himself, and grateful buddies hurried to his rescue and hauled him back into the Flying Fortress.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Briarton, and his sister and brother, Betty, eighteen and James, sixteen, were in bed when news of Bombardier Briarton’s heroism was flashed across the airwaves, but summoned by their neighbor they managed to hear the tail end of the broadcast.  Instantly, they sent a cablegram telling how proud they are of him.

Bombardier Briarton went into the Army Air Force in September of 1942, after being graduated from Cardinal Hayes High.  His brother Jimmy is now a student there.

Two months after joining the Air Corps as a private unassigned, he started training at San Antonio Texas.  In May, 1943, he graduated from the Army Air School at Outbank Montana.  He has been on the other side since last October.

Bombardier Briarton has participated in eleven missions, and he has received the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster.  He has been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross.  He has a German plane to his credit, and the Jan. 4 incident over Kiel adds to his distinctions.

A native of Boonton, N.J., he attended St. Athanassius parish school in the Bronx, where he was president of Christian Doctrine and active in athletics, helping organize the basketball team there.  He began his high school studies at Cathedral High School for Boys and finished at Cardinal Hayes High.

After the war, Henry, who was known as Dusty, married a woman whose parents had just purchased a pool hall in Delta, Colorado.  In 1946, Dusty convinced his parents and sister to move there also. He was concerned with the safety of his family living on the East coast. He believed if there was any other kind of attacks, it would be on the New York area. I guess Dusty was a bit of a profit, although New York did not see attacks until the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and subsequent terror attack of September 11, 2001. So that is reason why that branch of the family ended up in Colorado.

I love this story, and while I am writing stories which happened during WW II, this does not fit my current blog, so feel free to use any or all of it.

I have been enjoying your blog very much.

Karen Wardamasky

You can read more about the 401st Bomb Group and you can also see a picture of very young Dusty Briarton at:     http://401bg.org/Main/History/Crews/Details.aspx?CrewId=10301

You can read Karen’s blog at herodad.wordpress.com

It is quite a story and I’m honored that Karen allowed me to share it. I believe the incident reported happened on Jan.4, 1944.

Judy Guion