Another edition of The Molesworth Pilot has shown up in my inbox. It’s the email newsletter of the 303rd Bombardment Group (The Hell’s Angels), a component of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, during World War II. My father-in-law, Robert Bates, flew his 25 missions as a bombardier/navigator from the airbase in Molesworth, England.
The website is a labor of love started by Gary Moncur, whose father Vern, also flew with the 303rd and was the first pilot of Thunderbird, the B-17G model that I’ve been building (and probably will be building for some time to come).
These days I’m afraid the newsletter is a melancholy missive with the passing of so many of the veterans that flew B-17s or kept them flying or supported them. Which it was why it was fun to see in this newsletter, the stories of so many veterans celebrating birthdays or going up again in a restored B-17 or the remembrances of Rainbow Corner Hostess Gwendoline Hollingshead.
And yes, there are a number of obituaries in this newsletter. My father-in-law was mentioned in one last year.