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Not Home for Christmas Not Home for Christmas

A Day in the Life of the Mighty Eighth

by Meurs, John

When author John Meurs was a nine-year-old schoolboy living in Nazi-occupied Holland, an American B-17 bomber crashed behind his house near the village of Apeldoorn. The date was Sunday, November 26, 1944. Meurs always wanted to know more about what happened in the air on that Thanksgiving Sunday. So, more than sixty years later, researching the crash, he learned that the bomber was part of the 8th Air Force Air Combat Command, one of over 1,000 planes sent on a mission that day. A deceptive route was followed initially before heading to the intended target. The ruse only worked in part. Within minutes the sky was filled with German fighters, along with burning and exploding bombers, with airmen dangling under the white canopies of their parachutes. Knowing these facts, the author focused his attention on the 34 heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force that were lost that day. He collected the personal stories of veterans who lived through it, from families of the lost airmen, and from witnesses of the crashes. These first-hand recollections provide a compelling and terrifying account of the realities of war. This book is a very welcome addition to an underreported segment of WWII history. The Dutch increasingly lived in fear of what went on above them in the skies, and frequently were confronted by casualties from the aerial war. Thousands of mostly Allied planes crashed over the Netherlands, making the country and its lakes a cemetery of aircraft. Numerous airmen lay buried in Dutch soil, may never found. One of the many casualties that day was Dutch-American Gary Tubergen Jr. Thanks to the sacrifices paid by, for example, the "Mighty Eighth" over 300 men were "not home for Christmas” in 1944, peace and freedom were restored only months later.

Paperback, 542 pages, Roll of Honour, Bombers Lost, illustrated with photos and documents,

USD 17.95 / CAD 22.95

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