May 292016

There are quite a few veterans in my family tree, and even more in my husband’s. But where my research currently stands, there’s only one among them who paid the ultimate price.

Albert Clifford Joyce, Jr., was the son of my great-grandfather’s sister, my first cousin twice removed. He was born in 1919, in Salem, Massachusetts, the youngest child and only son of Margaret Theresa Catherine (Whelton) and Albert Clifford Joyce, Sr. He was educated at Boston Latin School and then Harvard University, which he graduated from in 1942. He had intended to become a lawyer, but because of the war he instead ended up in the US 8th Army Air Corp (390th Bombardment Group, 568th Squadron).

On April 18, 1944, Albert was co-pilot on a B17 Flying Fortress under the command of Ben C. Wassell, when it took off from Suffolk, England, on a bombing run to try to take out an aircraft factory about 20 miles from Berlin. When their tail section was shot off, almost directly over their target, they went down so quickly that witnesses reported no parachutes at all. None of the 10 crew members aboard survived.

It was their 6th mission.

Albert and his crewmates were buried near the site of their crash, all except pilot Ben Wassell in a common grave. In 1952, their remains were moved, Wassell’s to Ardennes Military Cemetery in Belgium, and the others to Arlington National Cemetery, where they still share a grave.


Photo of the crew taken upon completion of training.

Back, left to right
1st Lieutenant Ben C. Wassell, Schenectady, NY – Pilot
2nd Lieutenant Albert C. Joyce, Jr., Salem, MA – Co-Pilot
2nd Lieutenant Anthony C. Formato, Bronxville, NY – Navigator
Flight Officer Leonard Hersch, Brooklyn, NY – Bombardier

Front, left to right
Staff Sergeant Robert D. Stetler, Van Wert, OH – Waist Gunner
Staff Sergeant Eugene J. Harpster, Furnace, PA – Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant James T. Finch, Wantagh, NY – Tail Gunner
Staff Sergeant Pete N. Rayhawk, Sharpsville, PA – Waist Gunner
Staff Sergeant Leon J. Sarnowski, New Britain, CT – Ball Turret Gunner
Staff Sergeant Victor B. Ratliff, Hellier, KY – Engineer & Top Turret Gunner

Jul 312009

My mother’s cleaning lady was in today, just as Mom and her girlfriends were convening for the start of a trip. They left while she was working, and when she was done and wanted to leave, she discovered that her purse was gone. It was in the kitchen while they were sorting out their bags so they could all go in one car.

That’s right: my mother and her friends seem to have taken the poor woman’s purse on an overnight trip to Maine.

I hope it’s having fun.

Road Trip

 Posted by at 4:00 am  Life Offline  1 Response »
Jun 122009

Off to sunny Florida tomorrow, to load the last of my late father’s belongings into a moving van so we can drive them back to Massachusetts.

Not my idea of the ideal vacation, but what can you do? At least it gives us an excuse to visit my cousins in Tampa and friends in Raleigh.

Jul 152008

As airports go, the one at Tampa isn’t too bad. There’s the usual food and places to sit and restrooms and internet access. But it’s not on my list of places to spend a whole day. Unfortunately, when you have a connecting flight at Atlanta and Atlanta is shut down for weather…

That was Sunday. Before that, though, on Saturday, there was a cousin getting married and other cousins to visit with and my brother to hang with and lots of great food. So, you know, not entirely a bad weekend trip. Though I do find it a bit disconcerting that I seem to have become one of those people who says to younger relatives: “When I last saw you, you were only that tall.” In my defense, the cousin (once removed) I said it to is now close to 7 feet tall and married and when I last saw him he was still drinking from a bottle.

And Mom gave me a really good laugh on the way down on Friday. She had a book packed, but it wasn’t very long and she wanted to save it for reading at night in the hotel, so she went to the newsstand and got a magazine for the flight down. Told me when she came back that she doesn’t usually read trashy celebrity-watcher mags (she’s more the Time, Consumer Reports, Bon Apetit, and Cat Fancy type) but she’d picked up an issue of People. Seems she does this sometimes when she travels. But when she pulled out the magazine after we’d boarded, it turns out she’d grabbed the Miley Cyrus Collector’s Issue of the thing by mistake. Hannah Montana til you puke on your shoes.

She left the magazine in the seatback pocket. Maybe the next passenger was a 12-year-old girl?

Feb 052008

My husband and I spent the weekend visiting his relatives, which is a 4.5 hour drive from home. In the span of time between Saturday and Monday, here’s what went wrong:

  • We had tickets to see Wicked with our 2 nieces. One of them couldn’t come because her ketones were way off (she’s diabetic) and there was concern she might need to be taken to the hospital. This was supposed to be her Christmas present.
  • The Patriots lost the Superbowl. While my husband and I were sitting in a room full of Giants fans.
  • We were supposed to come home on Monday. An hour into the return trip, our radiator basically fell apart, stranding us in Danbury, CT. My inlaws had to drive out to rescue us and the dog, and we both had to beg out of work today because the parts couldn’t be got until this morning.
  • Overnight last night, one of my inlaws’ three cats died.