Date of this picture is unknown, but Bill graduated November 3, 1943.
Bill graduated the Army Air Forces Southwest Training Center, Blytheville Army Air Field, Blytheville,
Arkansas, Class S E – 43-J, Squadron C as a Cadet Corporal.
It would appear that this is picture was taken while he was there.
His first letter from Italy is dated 20 July 1944:
Everything is still OK. By the time you get this I will be a
2nd Lt. I may be a 1st Pilot too, but it is still in
doubt about the First Pilot business though. Our tail gunner is a little
Mexican boy and he is a very good tail gunner and he was sure glad to find out
that someone appreciates him.
I would liked to have seen the picture in the paper with you
in it. Don't you listen to those girls of yours they are sure to lead you
Someday I am going to get around to writing to all of them.
I'm glad Betty is feeling so much better and I was glad to hear from Doris in
your last letter. She seems to be very successful in her work.
I sure wish Dad luck with his advancement. I'm sure he will
do OK. Maybe he can save enough money to get his farm when the war is over if
he still wants that.
There are many things I would tell you that will have to
wait till I can get home.
My Navigator has 13 missions and I have only 6 so far. See,
we don't always fly together. They are short of navigators too; that is another
It is pretty hot here now and very dry. We are about as far
north as northern California or Southern Oregon but it seems much hotter.
I don't know whether it is possible or not but I sure would
like some pictures of the family. Anybody and everybody.
I guess that is about all for now.
According to MACR #7198, William Darnall Morrison (Bill)
flew as flight officer with the 722nd Bombardment Squadron, July 27,
1944 to Budapest, Hungary – Manfred Weiss Armament Works. His craft was shot
down before arriving at target. Bill was one of the fortunate(?) ones who
managed to parachute out of the craft.
Family tradition says Bill landed in a farm field and was
brutally attacked and beaten by local farmers. He was "rescued" by Nazi soldiers
and imprisoned in a POW camp. When he finally arrived home after the war he had
a scar across his cheek, presumably a result of this beating.
I have identified that POW camp as Stalag Luft 3
Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nurenberg-Langwasser) 49-11. Reference: NARA,
AAD Access to Archival Databases, Series: World War II Prisoners of War File,
ca. 1942 – ca. 1947, Part of: Record Group 389: Records of the Office of the
Provost Marshal General.
The following documents and correspondence illustrates the large gap of time between his being taken prisoner and notification of his family.
Considering the conditions under which everyone was working, this is completely understandable, but how frustrating it must have been for all involved.
The most disturbing news possible was received; a loved one is missing in action.
Bill's first letter home from Stalag Luft 3
A postcard home
Looking for news from home
The family receives notification that Bill is alive and is a prisoner of war.
Of course, on the other side of the “pond”, Bill has no idea why no one is writing to him.
Getting desperate for news from home
Finally there is news from home
In a letter from Mary Jane Morrison (wife) to Annie O.
Darnall Morrison Hamann (mother), there is this little tidbit:
"…Then this morning Mom a telegram came with two stars on it
& it liked to scared me to death. It read as follows:Following enemy propaganda broadcast has
been intercepted quote: 'Notify Charles (Rangehl) of … Michigan that
Ivan…(Portland?) Avenue Cleveland Ohio that Norman is alright. We are well as
prisoners of war in Germany. More details will follow in letters. You can write
me at Stalag Luft III. Prisoner of war #6880. Love William D. Morrison. F/O
T-61557.' Unquote. This broadcast supplements all previous reports stop – Lerch
Provost Marshal General. Now wasn't that wonderful Mom? He was lucky enough to
get to be on one of their broadcasts. God bless his heart he knew we were about
crazy for worry over him…"
As late as February 3, 1945, his mother was still writing
letters to him at Stalag Luft III.I
guess they didn't know about the march yet.
On the move.
Heading home 1945 – Happy 4th of July !!!!!
Sadly, on June 3, 1948 he was lost to us again. This time never to return. He was now a sergeant in the U.S. Army, stationed in Hawaii.
He and two friends rented a small airplane to fly from Honolulu to Port Allen, Kauai. When they did not arrived as expected, a search was launched.
The search began the morning of June 4, 1948. Not a trace of men or aircraft has been found to this day.
He is still loved and missed by his surviving siblings who speak of him fondly.
Information courtesy of Doris Ellen Bartish, neice of William Morrison