Deenethorpe Experience of a 401st Granddaughter

By: Kimberlee Conard
On: 08/14/2003
My grandfather, Morris E. Moe, was a copilot in the 401st and was stationed at Deenethorpe.  Unfortunately, he died before I was born and I was never able to share in his experiences from the war.  The worst card life has dealt me is not getting to know this man.  Three extremely generous men changed that for me.

I recently returned from studying abroad in Cambridge, England, and while I was there I was able to get in contact with Graham Bratley, Ray Corby, and Paul Knight, members of the 401st Historical Society in Deenethorpe.  The kindness these three men showed me cannot even be put into words.  They picked me up from the Peterborough train station and drove me to what remains of the airfield.  I was able to walk in the same place and even see the same treelines that my grandpa saw over 60 years ago.  The experience was phenomenal.  Graham, Ray, and Paul brought to life what the brave men of the 401st endured out in Deenethorpe, giving me vivid accounts of exactly what occured there.  They went out of their way to make sure I saw every bit that remains, which was truly a moving experience. (sure wish I wore tennis shoes, though!)

By far, the most incredible part of my journey was having my picture taken at the end of the runway that my grandpa used to take off from.  How could he have ever known that his granddaughter would be standing at the end of the very same runway he took off from looking back at him?  I felt like I saw him that day.  It is eerie, yet utterly beautiful to think about.

To the extremely giving and caring men who are keeping the spirit of the 401st alive in Deenethorpe... thank you, thank you, thank you.  The effects of your generosity have spread to my mother, grandmother, and another member of my grandpa's flight crew, as well as the rest of my family.  It has changed lives.

To the younger members of the 401st and their kids who, like me, never took the time to really learn what happened in my grandfather's war experiences... take the time and learn the stories your grandparents have to share.  If you are ever in Europe, please go and visit Deenethorpe.  I am sure the Historical Society will take as good of care of you as they did me.  It is an experience you will never forget.  I strongly encourage the grandchildren of the bravest generation our country has ever known to find your way to Deenethorpe.  It will change you from the inside out.  

To the men of the 401st... you don't get to hear it often enough anymore.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for fighting a war that made my freedoms possible.  Thank you for your bravery, and thank you for your selflessness.  You will never be forgotten by at least one girl.  

I have plenty of pictures of what remains of the airfield.  Feel free to email me if you would like me to post them on the web.

Re: Deenethorpe Experience of a 401st Granddaughter

By: Scott McElvain
On: 08/14/2003
I'm a son of a 401ster and know the UK bunch very well.  You were in good hands.  If there is anything you need to find out about your grandfather that you haven't already, please let us know.  We have a lot of sources for information.

Re: Deenethorpe Experience of a 401st Granddaughter

By: Donald Byers
On: 08/15/2003
Yes as Scott indicated they take care of anyone who is interested in the 401st.  And again if there is something we can try and find out which you would like to know contact us.

You also would like to attend a reunion I found my first two very exciting and accepted into the family. The next reunion is in Boston.

Also take a moment and print out the membership it's only $10.00 a year every July.  This will be the only way that the 401st BG Assn. will be able to carry on in the future.

Don Byers
Remember Sgt Donald C. Byers 613th BS

Re: Deenethorpe Experience of a 401st Granddaughter

By: Mom
On: 09/30/2003
EEE-gads....look what I ran across!  My goodness,,what a poignant testimony of your experiences and to your grandfather's memory....He would be so proud of you!