LOVE, WANDA

LOVE, WANDA

This is one of many heart-wrenching stories I came across while writing my book, The Margraten Boys. The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk, from August 1943 until April 1945. The group was awarded one Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing an aircraft and components factory at Gotha on 24 February 1944, as part of the Big Week of assaults on German targets. But on 7 October 1944 no amount of courage could save the crew of the B-24H, nicknamed Madame Shoo Shoo, when FLAK hit their bomber during a raid against the German city of Kassel. As the aircraft went down, four of the bomber’s crew failed to bail out on time. Albert Kielblock, a staff sergeant from Columbus, Ohio, was one of them. He was buried in a German cemetery near Harburg and then, after the war, reburied in Margraten, The Netherlands. Among the 20-year-old’s personal belongings was a bracelet with on its back the inscription: Love, Wanda. I have never been able to find out who Wanda was. From the 392nd Bomb Group alone, the names of eighty men are engraved on Margraten’s headstones and Walls of the Missing.

2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00