In early 2003, I became interested in the World War II service of my
Grandfather, Clyde Cleveland Freeman, Jr. Our family knew the he was a B-17 bomber
co-pilot and was a Prisoner of War, but because he never spoke of the time he spent in the
endeavor, we never knew much about it. At the time I was working on my Private Pilot
Certificate and I felt a special connection with the aviator in my Grandfather, which led
to an intense interest in the mystery of his military service.
I began with very little specific information about the subject, but
quickly found many clues and leads by searching the Internet. Between government
databases and others' research I was able to begin putting the basic information together.
My grandfather was still alive when I started, and he agreed to talk to me
about his experiences and to answer any questions I had. In December 2003, my
Grandfather and I sat down and talked for over three hours, and I was able to get most of
it on videotape.
I have been able to put together the story of my Grandfather's training,
his deployment to Deopham Green, his B-17, his missions - including vivid details of his
fateful last mission on April 9, 1944 - and his days as a prisoner of war.
On May 23, 2004, my Grandfather passed away in Atlanta, Georgia. To
my knowledge, he was one of the last surviving members of the Punchboard crew that
was lost that day in 1944. My research continues, but the corner-piece of it
is the information that he finally gave our family about his wartime experiences.
Much of what I present here, and much of the content of my research, was
gained through the discussions with my Grandfather. However, I have also gained from
the invaluable research of others around the world. To these fellow researchers and
enthusiasts I am indescribably grateful.
On September 7, 2005, I had the honor of discussing these events with Mr.
Charles Garrett, the radioman and top-turret gunner aboard Punchboard. I am
grateful for Mr. Garret's time and for the information and accounts, much of which was
used to corroborate or fill in missing information in my files.
Below is only a partial list of the Internet and personal sources from
which I have drawn information.
The information represented here is true and accurate to the best of my
knowledge, and to my knowledge, is of the public domain. However, if any of the
information presented here is inaccurate or misrepresented, or is copyrighted or
protected, please let me know at pilotbill at cox dot net and I will rectify or
remove it right away.
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