August 26, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012 marked the 68th anniversary of the crash of the B-24 bomber The Little Lulu. My grandfather, Sgt. Thad J. Watson Sr., was killed in that crash, along with all but one of his crew members. A child of a soldier who served on The Little Lulu, before my grandfather’s crew, has created a blog dedicated to honoring and remembering the members of the 464th Battle Group. Friday’s post contained more information on the crash of The Little Lulu, as well as photographs of the crash site.
Michael Hait recently announced the publication of the second edition of his eBook, Online State Resources for Genealogy. I had the pleasure of hearing Michael speak about this very subject this past June at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that Michael knows his subject well. Anyone interested in making the best use of their at-home research time would do well to have a copy of this eBook.
March 1, 2012
The Internet can be a powerful tool for connecting people. I’ve been trying to post the information I have on my grandfather’s time in the Army Air Corps during World War II, particularly as a crew member of the Little Lulu, a B-24 Liberator assigned to bomb oil refineries in Europe. Daddy Thad (Sgt. Thad J. Watson Sr.) was shot down over then-Czechoslovakia August 24, 1944. One crew member managed to bail out of the airplane, but the remainder, including my grandfather, were killed when the plane crashed.
I knew that my grandmother had corresponded with the residents of the village near where the battle took place. Posting information about the crew of the Little Lulu netted contact with one of those villagers, and now another has created a stunning picture of the battle. The artist is Vit Soukup, son of Jiri Soukup, and the painting is called Thad’s Last Victory. As Jiri said, Vit is a very talented artist.
Please take the time to view this wonderful tribute to my grandfather and the other crew members who died that fateful day.
December 14, 2011
Felix Bruce Gleason, crew member on the Little Lulu. The date written below his name on the picture reads “19-Aug-22-1944.”
December 7, 2011
Walter Weaver, crew member on the Little Lulu.
November 30, 2011
Ralph Robinson, crew member on the Little Lulu. The inscription on the bottom of the picture reads, “Born Dec. 30, 1924.”
November 23, 2011
John James, crew member on the Little Lulu.
November 16, 2011
John F. Damore, crew member on the Little Lulu.
November 11, 2011
Sgt. Thad J. Watson, Sr., served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was born 15 April 1921 in Hamburg Twp., Jackson Co., NC, to Woodfin and Etha Mae (Roberts) Watson, and died 24 August 1944 during a bombing run in what was then Czechoslovakia. He is buried in a mass grave in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY.
He married Stella Viola Martin (1922 – 1992), daughter of O. W. and Pearl (Hopper) Martin, on 6 October 1941 in Clarkesville, Habersham Co., GA. Thad and Stella had two children, Thad J. Watson, Jr., and Varney Watson.
November 8, 2011
This letter from Chaplain John Eastwood was written 31 August 1944.
November 7, 2011
This is the envelope containing the telegram informing my grandmother that her husband (my grandfather) was missing in action. It is addressed to her (Mrs. Stella V. Watson) care of her father, O. W. Martin, who lived at that time, I believe, on Messer Creek off of Betty’s Creek Road.
The telegram was dated 4 September 1944 and reads:
The secretary of war desires me to express his deep regret that your husband Sergeant Thad J Watson Sr has been reported missing in action since twenty four August over Czechoslavakia if further details or other information are received you will be promptly notified.
It was signed by J. A. Ulio, Adjutant General.
Nanny once told me of a dream she had. In the dream, she and Daddy Thad had gone on a picnic with one of his fellow crew mates on the Little Lulu, and the crew member’s girlfriend. Daddy Thad left, and she awoke to him calling her name. This dream occurred before she knew he had died, and possibly even before she knew he was MIA. In an eerie coincidence, the crew member from her dream was the only one who survived the day the Little Lulu was shot down; all other members died in the crash.