Homecoming

Posted by Rebekah
Oct 09 2010

The eight survivors of the Flier were sent home.  Al, possibly others, were put on a Clipper Plane for the States.  Pan Am Clippers were the lap of luxury during this time period:  Extensive meals, beds to sleep on, the works.  The line didn’t survive the war: too many planes and airlines rose in the wake of WWII.  But in 1944, this was an experience that only few had ever tasted, and would have been memorable to all the Fliers.

The men of Flier were each going to be given one month’s leave, but first the military needed them to lift the spirits of a nation at war.  They did at least one large press conference in Kansas, but because the existence of the Coastwatchers was one of the most closely guarded secrets in the US at the time, the Flier men were encouraged to talk about their experiences up until they were picked up by the guerillas.  No names of people or places were used, only the most vague details of locations were ever written about, though the personal details about what these men went through and personally did during the first five days of their escape were quite interesting.

While he was in the Bread Basket of the US, Al went bird hunting and kept the liscense.  It’s nearly whole, so I guess he either wasn’t successful, or he didn’t get as much time to hunt as he was hoping.

There were representatives from many of these men’s hometown papers, and in Al’s case at least, he would have a further, in depth interview once he reached home.

Some of these guys faced questions that they either were not allowed to answer or they couldn’t answer.  Like if there were other survivors: this question was not only unknown, but per Naval policy the missing men of the Flier were, in 1944, classified as Missing in Action, rather than Killed in Action.  The newspaper writers were informed that more than the eight men were seen in the water following the explosion, which lead to some speculation about the other’s fates.  Sadly, some of the earliest articles said that it was possible that the entire crew of the Flier could have survived the loss, leading to raised hopes of their families, which were about to be officially, warned against…though not fully crushed.   Not yet.

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