NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XXIX, No. 1, March, 1973
AMERICAN FOLKTALES FROM THE RECENT WARS
by Catherine Harris Ainsworth
IN MY FOLKLORE COLLECTING in Western New York since 1961,
occasionally a legend or tale told by a veteran of one of the
recent American wars has been written for me. Following are
four of these legends from the foreign war fields or bases and one
from the Naval Preparatory School at Silver Springs, Maryland.
The first two were told by veterans of World War II. The
legend which I have called “Ghost Crew” was written for me by
Robert Morrison of Tonawanda, New York, on December 13, 1965, when he was eighteen years old. He wrote of this legend:
I heard this story about five years ago from my father at
the above address. My father was a 2nd Lt. in tlie A.A.F.
when this happened. He was a navigator in one of the
bombers that did not go on that mission and was on the
base when it happened....This story is about a B-17 that
went out on a mission with another group of bombers.
“Mission 112 left our base in Northern England for a
bombing raid on a Railway Depot east of Paris. There were
forty B-17D’s in the group and they expected very little resistence
from the German Airforce. Sometime after they
crossed the Channel they ran into a large group of German
fighters. The Germans left when they had run out of fuel,
but by then they had torn the Bomber formation apart and
several of the crippled planes had to return to the base,...
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