Monday, August 6, 2012

Military Monday - Downed Air Crew in Switzerland

Just the other day I was perusing all of my relatives to ensure I had attached the 1940 census to everyone. I came across a great grand uncle, O. Farris Happy, that did not have much information attached to him. He was of the approximate age to have found in World War II, so I decided to do some digging (it doesn't hurt that his name was so unique as to force me to search for him!).

As I usually do I did a search of all records for O. Farris Happy in Ancestry.com. Unfortunately, it did not turn up much. I then narrowed the search to Military records. Low and behold I found a record for an Oliver F. Happy listed as a prisoner of war during WWII. News to me! I immediately tapped in to Fold3.com to see if I could track down more information.
Through the magic of Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947, I was able to find a record of Oliver Farris Happy, Radio operator, member of a B-17 crew that was downed in Switzerland. The document also indicates that Oliver and the rest of the crew were listed as interred in Switzerland via a cable to the American Embassy in London.

I had not heard of air crews being interred in Switzerland, a neutral country during the war. A little research brought me to the website for the Swiss Internees Association, a group dedicated to the memory of Army Air Force veterans interred in Switzerland. Their website lists the flight of Oliver Happy:
Now I am fascinated by the experiences of Oliver Happy. I know he made it home from Switzerland as he died in 2000.

Coincidentally, though Oliver Happy was born in Missouri it appears that he died in Montezuma County, Colorado. The very area that my husband's line is from. Odd coincidence, that. My next step is to contact the Swiss Internees Association to see if they have any more information on Oliver or his flight crew.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

What an interesting story. I'm glad you walked us through your steps to get to the facts.