||Hosea A. Peden
||Georgia Estella (Peden) Churchill||Wenona Billee (Churchill) Clark||Other
|14 Oct 1939
|30 Sep 1943
|20 Jun 1942
|22 Nov 1941
Student Pilot's license 1941
|30 Sep 1943
"House of Ledbetter"
Written on back along with "New York Florida"
I don't know if this this is Jack's family house. It does look like it is in Florida.
In Jack's Last Will and Testament from Oct 1943, his address is listed as Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee, Florida.
30 Apr 1942
Betty and Jack Taylor
Near Dallas, TX
Jack Taylor and Betty
Jack and Betty Taylor
Kathleen Dowdell Taylor Archer (Jack's mother) Ruth Winifred Korabek Frank (Betty's mother)
1943 R.F. Taylor must be Richard Fulkerson Taylor, Jack's grandfather. He is suing his children, Rebecca Eunice Taylor, Benjamin Herrin Taylor (and son Jean B. Taylor (really Ben Gene Taylor)), and John L. Taylor (possibly being that Jack's father, Richard Fowler Taylor was dead).
I have no idea what this was about.
John Ledbetter Taylor
John Ledbetter Taylor
Betty and Jack in front of his P-39Q Airacobra. This is the same type of airplane that he was killed in.
Photo probably taken during training in Georgia when Betty visited:
59th Fighter Group
Help request from experts in identifying the airplane on alt.binaries.aviation.pictures got many responses, here are a few:
It's a P-39Q Bell Airacobra. Clearly a stateside training A/C because of the large numeral on the nose, which was a standard WWII convention for aircraft with advanced trainer/type orientation roles. You can tell this P-39 is a "Q" model by underwing gondola housing the .50 cal. machine gun.
Betty with unknown women
Betty visited San Diego in 1942. I think at the time, Jack Taylor was at the Ryan School of Aeronautics in San Diego.
It appears that this photo was taken along the ocean in San Diego.
John Kolb, Betty Taylor and Uncle Fred.
I know that Betty visited relatives in San Diego either shortly before or during the war.
|7 Jul 1944
The last letter sent by Jack to Betty on 7 Jul 1944.
He signed all of thse letters "Johnny".
Jack was killed the next day.
This letter says "I got to talking with an Allison tech representative today and came to find out that he used to be in the old squadron years ago when my dad was C.O. He knows Bob Shank and a lot of other people I do. He used to instruct at dear old Hoosier airport.".
Both Jack and his late father, Richard Fowler Taylor, served in the 113th Photo Section of the Indiana National Guard.
Richard Taylor was the Commanding Officer before his death in an aircraft accident on 9 Sep 1932.
|12 July 1944
Orien E, Dalton Capt., Air Corps
My dear Mrs. Taylor,
You have by now learned of the tragedy which befell John.
Nothing that we fellow squadron officers of the 72nd Fighter Squadron can say will alleviate your hurt, if the knowledge that Jack had so quickly endeared himself to us is consolation, you may find your grief lightened somewhat.
I was Jack's Flight Surgeon, Mrs. Taylor. During the year in which I have seen boys come and go from the squadron, John Taylor held more promise of greatness to come than any boy I had observed - and this promise stemmed not solely from his technical capabilities (with which he was generously endowed) but also from his stability of emotion, his understanding, his conviction and adherence to ideals.
During the past month we had grown quite close. Together we played at my beach house, sun-bathed and talked afterwards. It was his custom to come up to my quarters at night to listen to the radio, talk flying and of what we had left behind at home.
This squadron had served one tour of active duty. More are likely to come. I had looked forward to that time, confident that, Jack would at that phase of flying carve for himself an enviable record. Thus it was particularly disheartening to have circumstances which left his quick thinking, highly developed flying instincts powerless, bring to an abrupt end all this. There was no error on Jack's part.
I have derived a certain attritive consolation from certain facts, my dear, may I offer them to you?
With the most genuine love of flying that I have ever seen, Jack would have wanted it no other way, would, even, live his whole life over identically, knowing that it would end so.
He suffered not one bit. I can even assure you that the split second before, he had no inkling of the next moment's disaster.
Services were conducted as he was laid away at the Schofield Barracks Cemetery. The services were of the rigid military type but in no way marred the anguish we all felt that afternoon.
If I can in any way whatsoever be of aid to you, I shall consider it an honor.
I am, at your service, /s/ Orien E. Dalton
In Jack's personal things there was a wallet labelled "Pilot's License". Inside it was:
A photo of his wife, Betty
|17 Jul 1940
1940 CA Drivers License
Probably from when Jack attended the Ryan School of Aeronautics in San Diego.
|3 Sep 1941
Draft Classification Card
|1 Jul 1941
Draft Registration Card
Kathleen Archer was Jack's mother.
Betty received this letter from James S. Merritt, Jack's roommate in Hawaii. He was mentioned often in Jack's V-Mail letters. Entry in undated address book of Betty Frank Taylor Churchill: "Lt & Mrs J.S. Merritt, 2226 Newton St. 1035 Marion, Denver, Colorado."
|23 Jul 1944
|14 Aug 1944
Second letter from James Merritt
|19 Aug 1944
In this letter from August 1944, James Merritt tells Betty:
"More than likely though, a door was stuck or he was overcome by fumes before he could get out."
This tells me that he was flying a P-39 with the automobile style side doors.
Also, this is the first reference that the Squadron was starting to fly P-38's.
Third Letter from James Merritt
|18 Nov 1944
So George Farina owed Jack $20.
Other names mentioned in the above letters, Orien E. Dalton, Marty Reagan and George Farina.Entry in undated address book of Betty Frank Taylor Churchill: "George Farina, 6823 Amherst, San Diego".
|Name:||Martin Joseph Regan|
|Social Security #:||161059126|
|Birth Date:||8 Mar 1916|
|Death Date:||26 Jul 1992|
|Mother's Maiden Name:||Fenton|
|Name:||Martin J. Regan|
|Last Residence:||92705 Santa Ana, Orange, California, USA|
|Born:||8 Mar 1916|
|Died:||26 Jul 1992|
|State (Year) SSN issued:||Pennsylvania (Before 1951)|
|28 Apr 1945
The four rolls of film never showed up as there were no photos of Hawaii in Jack's belongings.
This is from the official Squadron History, December 1944, sent to me by Mark Stevens at the 7th Fighter Command Association. James Merritt was killed in a crash on 14 Dec 1944.
So by December 1944, the Squadron was flyging P-38's.
Portrait of Jack
1946 The Klepper Club was formed by Frank Klepper (1890-1952) in Dallas.
It was a club for sketch artists.
I don't know who Catherine Eitelman is or why she did a portraint of Jack Taylor.
Entry in undated address book of Betty Frank Taylor Churchill:
"Mr. & Mrs Jim Eitelman
Here are some emails that I received from Catherine's son and granddaughter in 2009:
|From: Vickie Cosson <vscossonq.com>
Subject: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 14:26:07 +0000
My husband and I Googled "Catherine Eitelman" last night and found your web pages. I could hardly wait to e-mail you, because she is my Grandmother. My father is Jim Eitelman, Jr. who is Catherine's son. I would like to help you receive more information if I can. And, I would sure love to know more about any artwork that you have of my Grandmother's. I do not know about Mr. John Ledbetter "Jack" Taylor, but as soon as I can, and I am hoping to this evening, I will call and talk with my Dad and see if he has any information that would be helpful for you.
My husband and I were both very impressed with the web page that you created in memory of Mr. Taylor. That was probably one of the best we've ever seen.
Anyway, if you would just let me know what information you would like, I will do what I can to help. And, if you would like to share anything about the artwork of my Grandmother's, I would sure appreciate that.
Vickie Eitelman Cosson
Thanks for your email.
I was hoping that someone with a connection to Catherine would contact me eventually.
My wife and I started about 8 years ago to sort all the memoriabilia of Fred and Betty Churchill. Since they died, leaving no heirs or close relatives, we took it on ourselves to try to find people connected with their family.
The web site where you saw the newspaper clipping was one that I did for Betty Churchill's first husband, John Lebedder "Jack" Taylor.
The "Portrait of Jack" was always a mystery to us and even more so was the painter, Catherine Eitelman. I had also searched on the Internet but I could not find any information. I don't know the whereabouts of the painting or even if Betty ever had it herself.
We do have the original photograph that the portrait was done from. We don't have any idea what the connection was between Betty and the Eitelman family (though I did find that one entry in her address book for your father, Jim Eitelman).
When Betty Taylor Churchilll died late last year, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. Betty had a portrait of her father, Harry Frank, and it was signed by Catherine.
If you have time and would like to write up a few paragraphs about the life of your grandmother, I would like to add that to my web page. Especially of interest would be any information that you or your father might have that connects your grandmother with the family of Jack Taylor.
Again, thanks, and I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.
|From: Vickie Cosson <vscossonq.com>
Subject: RE: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 22:05:35 +0000
I have talked with my Dad, and he knows all about the portrait of Jack Taylor. I will forward to him the information that I have regarding this. I think that he would like to write something about my Grandmother for you. He would be the best one for that job. He is interested in any info that you have of the portrait of Harry Frank, too. He wasn't sure if he knew about that one. My Dad also has a photograph of the painting of Jack Taylor.
I would like to send you or your father the portrait that we have. There is only one. I thought for a while that we had more but we do not.
Jack Taylor's wife, Betty, was a close friend of my wife. Betty never had any children and has no close relatives left. When her second husband, Fred Churchill, died in 2000, my wife and I started a web site for his family "Peden". Betty died in 2008. They were a family of 'savers' and saved all sorts of things.
If you look at the Peden web site at: http://www.silogic.com/peden/peden.htm , you can see the list of photographs and other memoriabilia that they saved and that I managed to find good homes for.
I've attached two photos. They show the painting by your grandmother of Harry Allen Frank, Betty's father, a family photo from about 1943, and the photo from which your grandmother painted the "Portrait of Jack". They are all for you. I'm still looking through the boxes of stuff for the newspaper clipping.
I don't know when the portraits of Harry or Jack were done. Harry Frank died on 12 Dec 1944 and Jack Taylor died on 8 Jul 1944. I would guess that Jack's portrait was done after he died and was done from the photo. I can't say about Harry's portrait.
As a genealogist, I'm interested in connections between families be they relatives or friends. Apparently, Betty's family knew the Eitelman family as friends. There was that entry in her address book of "Mr. & Mrs Jim Eitelman" but I don't know if that was your dad or your grandfather. I have found a Texas death certificate from 1969 but I'm not sure if it your grandmother.
Catherine must have thought highly enough of Jack Taylor as a friend to do the portrait. And if was after his death, it may have been in memory of him.
So that is my biggest goal, to find out why Catherine might have done the portraits in the first place. I would only put information on the web page that you feel comfortable in sharing.
|From: Vickie Cosson <vscossonq.com>
Subject: RE: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 13:20:39 +0000
My Grandmother passed on when I was still quite young. I have vivid and good memories of her, but I do not know all about her life. I have wonderful memories of my Grandmother. She was very good to my sister and me.
She and my Dad were however very close, so he is the best one share specifics about her. I sure appreciate the photos, however, you do not have to give me anything. I'll leave that to between you and my Dad if you want to mention it to him. I wish that we lived closer as I would love to just see the paintings. We are in Colorado and my Dad is Texas. Also, the entry in the address book is probably my Grandfather. My Dad has his name and is a Jr.
I will call and/or e-mail my Dad again today. I'm happy that you will get some information that you have been waiting for.
|From: "Jim Eitelman" <j.jeitelverizon.net>
Subject: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 14:15:44 -0500
My mother, Catherine Victoria Lorraine (Cochran) Eitelman, was born in 1906 in Waxachie, Texas. and passed on in 1969 in Dallas, Texas. She studied life drawing and portrait painting with Martha Simkins. She was a member of and exhibited with the Frank Klepper and Frank Reaugh art clubs here in dallas. She won first place for portraits several times. If you wish to send me your mailing address I will send you photos of some of her other portraits. I am curious as to the subject of the Catherine Eitelman painting other than Jack Taylor that you are aware of. Do you have a photo of it? Are you aware of how Jack died in the Bell P-39?
Thanks for your email and good to hear from you.
I've been doing genealogy research on (mostly) my family for the past decade or so. When I run out of things to do, I branch out into other families. That is why I have this information about your mother.
I met two friends of my wife, Fred and Betty Churchill, about 1999. Both were in their 80's. They had been married for 50 years. They never had children.
Fred was pretty sick and he passed away in 2000. After he died, Betty showed me all the memorabilia and photos that his family saved. All this stuff drove me to doing a set of web pages on his family. If you haven't seen them, they are at:
Those web pages included Betty's family, although I had a lot less information about her family.
As the years moved forward, Betty got Alzhiemer's disease and she died late last year. I had, in the meantime, added a lot of her information to the web page. This included the web page for her first husband, John L. "Jack" Taylor, who was killed during service in WWII.
Going through all of Betty's stuff, it took a while to understand what was what. In the case of your mom, we had the clipping from the newspaper and then I noticed the painting of Harry Allen Frank (Betty's father) done by your mom.
Searching on the Internet did not turn up many clues so I added the information to John Taylor's web page and posted a few messages -- then waited for any replies.
Then a few weeks ago, I got the email from your daughter, Vickie. It was the first email that I received about Catherine.
Since Fred and Betty died without children or even first or second cousins, my wife and I have attempted to find good homes for all the photos and memoriabilia that they saved. We have been fairly successful in that much of the stuff has been donated to historical societies in places that their families lived.
Since Betty was an only child and had no close relatives, I believe that your family would give this painting of Harry Frank the good home it deserves. I'd like to send it to you.
In return, if you would think its ok, I would really like to add some biographical information to my web page about your mother. But that is entirely up to you. My goal, from a genealogy viewpoint, it to try to find out why your mother did portraits of Jack Taylor and Harry Frank. What is as commissioned work or was it because the family were friends? Its the family connections that interest me.
As I said, I've attached a couple of photos to this email and I'm sending a copy to Vickie.
|From: "Jim Eitelman" <j.jeitelverizon.net>
Subject: Re: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 17:00:37 -0500
Vickie and I are both grateful for your interest in Catherine Eitelman as related to the portraits you have mentioned. You have offered us the painting of Fred Churchill which we would truly like to have. Do you have the one of Jack Taylor? Vickie has a sister, Laurie, and I know that each of them would be thrilled to have one of their grandmother's portraits. We will certainly be happy to pay for any shipping expenses incurred. And yes, add any of the biographical information about my mother to the web site that you think appropriate. I think the Churchills were fortunate to have you and your wife as friends.
P.S. My mother was commissioned to paint the portrait of Jack Taylor from a photograph. I do not know the circumstances surrounding the Harry Allen Frank portrait. J.E.
We do not have the portrait of Jack Taylor. Don't know what happened to it. The newspaper clipping of your mother's exhibit at the Klepper Gallery was the only bit of information that we had.
Do you have any information about the commissioning of the portrait? Like who commissioned it, the cost, when or why it was done? That would be interesting information.
If you send me your mailing address, I will send the painting to you along the two photos that were in the photo I sent you. We will take care of the postage, its all part of our efforts to find good homes for the memoriabilia.
|From: "Jim Eitelman" <j.jeitelverizon.net>
Subject: Re: Catherine Eitelman
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 17:53:30 -0500
The surname "Frank' does not ring a bell but it is my long stretched memory that Betty Taylor's mother commissioned my mother to paint it. Somehow the name Bessie Larson comes to mind. Have you run across that name? It's just a hunch. Perhaps Betty's mother knew my mother or they had a mutual friend who recommended mother. I have no information on the price but I would guess about 100 dollars. The reason for the commission was as a present for her daughter.
Being interested in airplanes as a kid during the war I remember that my mother was told that when Jack's P-39 caught fire (combat or not ?) he could not get the cockpit door open to bail out as the wind force was too great. What a shame they didn't make a release that would let the door fall away. In your photos of the P-39 it is easy to see that the upper intake duct prevents use of the standard sliding canopy....
So sorry that I have no concrete information. If you want to know more about my mother's family I can supply it.
Thanking you in advance....Jim Eitelman
|In August of 2009, Jim sent me a photo of a portrait of his mother. This portrait was done by Martha Simkins about 1942.
After the war, Betty got a letter from the War Department, which I think was common. It asked if she wanted Jack's remains buried in a National Cemetery or returned to the family. I don't have that original letter (I'm showing here the copy that I received later with Jack's 293 file) but I have her response. I don't have any more letters after this so I don't know where Jack is buried now.
22 Apr 1947
|29 Apr 1947
I found this letter to Betty from Jack's aunt, Polly (Ester Mary Dowdell) Darlington, dated 20 Mar 1949.
20 Mar 1949excerpt:
"I was so upset over the task you gave me to perform that I was ill for several days. I have thought it over Betty and also discussed it with Bob and we both think it is best not to tell Kay about Jack's body. Someday perhaps but not yet. Just at the present time she is happy and I just don't think it is wise to break this news to her. I know the reaction I had and it would be so much worse for her. So don't you worry, sometime I will tell her."
Kay is Kathleen Dowdell, Jack's mother. We know that Polly is Jack's aunt and I'm fairly sure that she is Kathleen's sister. Census searches show an Ester M Dowdell, who might be Ester Mary Dowdell, who might be this Polly.
So Betty found out something in 1949 about Jack's body but we don't know what.
Official Statement of Death issued in 1953:
|16 Jan 1953
There is conflicting evidence as to whether Jack Taylor's body was recovered. There are three letters above, one from James Merritt who wrote in 1944 "The plane hit the water and sank. The crash boat arrived about 20 minutes later and recovered the body." Based on that comment, there should be a burial site. The second from Orien Dalton which said "Services were conducted as he was laid to rest at the Schofield Barracks Cemetery". The third letter, from the Department of the Army in 1947 actually listed his grave site (Plot 4, Row C, Grave 38) at Schofield Barracks Cemetery.The squadron history stated he "crashed into the ocean five miles off Mokuliea (sic) Field. Taylor was not seen to bail out before the plane struck the water and exploded". If he crashed that far out to sea, I don't think it would be likely that a crash boat could get there before the plane sank.
|From http://www.ancestry.com : U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945
Name: John L Taylor
Service Branch: Army
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Service Number: 692229
|At the Schofield Barracks Cemetery web site, John Taylor is not listed.|
|Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 16:51:48 -0700
From: comcast <glorene2comcast.net>
Subject: RE: Jack Taylor in the 7th Fighter Command
You have done so much work. Great photos and documents. It is interesting that he was buried at Schofield but he isn't listed there.
He is listed at the Punchbowl, but only in memory
John L. Taylor
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-692229
72nd Fighter Squadron, 21st Fighter Group
Entered the Service from: Texas
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial (Mark's note: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56133291)
I will contact Schofield and see if I can figure out what is going on there. I know the base historian and he may be able to help.
To answer your earlier question about where I get this info. I have all of the Squadron's records in PDF format taken from microfilm that I got at Maxwell AFB. I am still in the process of writing them all up in MS Word, so all I can send is the snapshot of the record.
My guess is that Jack may have been reburied at Honolulu Memorial and is not properly indexed.
Let me know how else I might help.
|From: Nicholls Charles H YA-02 PACAF/HO [mailto:charles.nichollshickam.af.mil]
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 2:48 PM
To: Mark W. Stevens; Kathleen Ramsden; Rachel Phillips Civ JPAC J2; James Messner
Cc: Keck Timothy YA-03 PACAF/HO
Subject: Burial Investigation - 2Lt John Taylor, Army Air Forces
Ladies and gentlemen,
Based on these results from the investigation into the remains of 2Lt John L. Taylor, we conclude that his body was never recovered:
- Ms. Ramsden at the 25th ID Tropic Lightning Museum walked through the Schofield Barracks cemetery searching for the grave and found no marker for 2Lt Taylor.
- Mr. Stewart at the Schofield Barracks Casualty Assistance Office confirmed from their records that no person named John Taylor is buried in the cemetery.
- Mr. Messner at Punchbowl confirmed from his records that 2Lt John L. Taylor is not buried there or at Schofield Barracks. Taylor’s name is inscribed on an American Battle Monument Commission memorial wall in the Honolulu Memorial at Punchbowl. (Mark's note: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56133291) This wall is called the “Tablets of the Missing.”
- The VA Nationwide Gravesite Locator found no match for 2Lt John L. Taylor – see http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1.
- The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office web site has a list of “Service Personnel Not Recovered Following World War II.” The list includes 2Lt John L Taylor with the matching service number and date of death. See http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/WWII_MIA/AAF_M_T.HTM.
Thanks for all your help.
|I sent the following summary to Mr. Nicholls:
From: Mark DiVecchio
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 5:51 AM
To: Nicholls Charles H YA-02 PACAF/HO
Subject: RE: Fw: Burial Investigation - 2Lt John Taylor, Army Air Forces
Thanks for your help in this mystery.
It is confusing because of the letters, yet the crash was 5 miles off-shore and it seems unlikely that the plane would have floated long enough to recover the body.
Here is a summary of the 'evidence':
1. Official Telegram from War Department does not mention the body. Delivered 13 Jul 1944.
2. Letter from Squadron Flight Surgeon, Capt. Orien E. Dalton, dated 12 Jul 1944, says: "Services were conducted as he was laid away at the Schofield Barracks Cemetery. The services were of the rigid military type but in no way marred the anguish we all felt that afternoon."
3. Letter from roommate, Lt. James S. Merritt, dated 23 Jul 1944 says: "The funeral was held at Schofield Cemetery. ... I will have the plot and grave number sent to you also as I am sure you want them."
4. Letter from roommate, Lt. James S. Merritt, dated 17 Aug 1944 says: "The plane hit the water and sank. The crash boat arrived in about 20 minutes and recovered his body."
5. Letter from roommate, Lt. James S. Merritt, dated 18 Nov 1944 says: "To get the information as to the grave location, you will have to write to the Quartermaster General, Washington 25, DC."
6. Letter from wife, Betty Frank Taylor, to Lt. James S. Merritt, 28 Apr 1945 says: "There are so many things that I would like to know and letters are so unsatisfactory. I never have gotten the grave location for instance."
NOTE: this letter was returned to Betty Taylor because Lt. Merritt was killed in a training accident in December 1944.
7. Apparently on 22 April 1947, Betty Taylor received a letter from the War Department asking for her to indicate the final disposition for John Taylor's remains. I do not have that letter but I have a copy of a letter that Betty wrote back to the Army asking several questions. In that letter, Betty wrote :
"In Re: Burial of
2nd Lt. John L. Taylor O-692 229
Plot 4, Row C, Grave 38
Schofield Barracks Cemetery
Territory of Hawaii"
She must have gotten that information from the letter from the War Department. I do not have any letter that Betty may have received in response to her letter.
8. 1953 letter from the Department of the Army "Official Statement of Death" does not mention the remains.
That is the last letter that I have.
|11 Jul 1944
|27 May 1946
|22 Apr 1947
|10 Jul 1947
|7 Oct 1947
|24 Feb 1948
|31 Mar 1948
|26 May 1948
|2 May 1951
|9 Mar 1952
|12 Mar 1952
|3 Apr 1952
|Name:||Kathleen T. Archer|
|Last Residence:||60637 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States of America|
|Born:||17 Apr 1897|
|Died:||21 Jan 1991|
|State (Year) SSN issued:||Indiana (Before 1951 )|
|John L. Taylor (Jack)
The letter "L" was for John Nelson Ledbetter, Jack's great grandfather. Jack was the son of Maj. Richard Fowler Taylor and Kathleen Hodges (1) and was born in 1920 in Indianapolis (2). He went to public schools in Indianapolis but after his father and an old friend from the 1st World War (his name was Capt. Fowler) started to build a small airport (9), Jack spent all his spare time at the airport.
Jack would hang around the airport - did odd jobs for his Dad and soon wanted to fly. His Dad started to take him up in the plane whenever he could. When Jack was twelve years old, he had enough experience that he could take off and fly around the airport and land the plane again. Of course, those old planes were easy to fly and his father was with him in the other cockpit.
Maj. Taylor and his partner, Capt. Fowler, had borrowed three-hundred thousand dollars and had mortgage insurance on the loan. They had built the airstrip, the hangers and bought several planes to start up the freight flying business. Maj. Taylor, who was still the commander of the 113th Air Squadron of the Air National Guard, was killed in a plane crash while on duty in Sept. 1932. Jack was only 12 years old.
Kathleen and Jack kept their half of the airport down through the years, Kathleen worked in the office and kept the books and Jack learned everything he could about the airport. When Jack was old enough, he got his pilot's license and started flying freight with the other pilots. He then enlisted in the 113th Air National Guard. The very same squadron that his Father had been the commander of before he was killed.
When World War 2 started, Jack stayed in the 113th Squadron of the Air Guard. Jack, in 1938, had enrolled in school at Purdue University to study Aeronautical Engineering. He had a car and drove from Purdue back to Indianapolis almost every weekend to work at the airport and serve on the 113th Air Guard. In 1942 (10), Jack left the university and went to the Ryan School of Aeronautics in San Diego, CA. His mother, Kathleen, sold the airport around 1940.
From the time Jack had a car, he would drive from Indianapolis every summer to Elizabethtown to see his grandfather Taylor. During the day, Jack and my Father, Ben Taylor, would go up to a lake that had a nice beach with some piers and rafts. My Dad was a great swimmer - I was a good swimmer and so was Jack and we would lay around on the beaches and race back forth to the rafts. They were wonderful times.
In the evenings, my grandfather had a cook who would prepare dinner for us as night. We would sit around the evening table for a few hours and then go the living room and talk about world affairs and all kinds of things until late in the night. We talked about our family, Jack's father, our great grandfather (James Pinkney Taylor), Aaron Taylor (our great-great-grandfather). My grandfather Taylor, my Dad and Jack would do all the talking and I would just sit around and listen. I knew that this was my family and I was a part of something really great. Those summer trips that Jack made lasted four or five years.
The summer of 1942, Jack bought a new plane, I think it was a Piper Cub. He landed the plane at a little airport in Rosiclare. We always had wonderful times. Jack was a very happy, outgoing and exciting person to be with.
He flew back again in 1943 and in early 1944. When he flew in in 1944, be brought his new wife, Betty (3). They had just gotten married and everyone loved her. They had only two or three days and Jack had to report back for duty.
Jack had been trained to fly the P-39 fighter plane and he was now starting to train on the P-38 Lightning. The P-39 was called the "Bell Airacobra". The P-38 was a twin engine fighter and the fastest fighter at that time, and Jack loved it. In July 1945 (4) , he was flying with four or five other P-38's over the South Pacific when one engine of Jack's plane caught on fire and exploded. The pilots in the other P-38's saw Jack's plane plunge into the South Pacific. Jack never bailed out. Later, Navy boats were called in but neither Jack's plane or Jack were ever found.
Jack's mother would often come to Elizabethtown when Jack would drive his car but she never came when he flew his plane. My Aunt Kathleen had lost her husband Major Richard Taylor who was killed in a plane crash in 1932. Her brother was killed over Germany in a bombing raid in 1944 (5). Now her son Jack was gone in July 1945 (6). There is a memorial grave for Jack Taylor in the Elizabethtown Methodist Cemetery next to his Father and his grandparents and all the rest of the Taylor family.
My grandfather handed me a letter that said that my cousin, Jack Taylor, who was a P-38 fighter pilot (7) in the U.S. Air Force was killed over the South Pacific. My grandfather sat for weeks and barely talked to anyone. What a terrible price so many men had to pay. The war was all but over now (8).
When Jack was a member of the 113th Observation Squadron, Indiana National Guard during 1941 and 1942, he had flown the P-40 Warhawk and the newer P-51 Mustang before he went into the Air Force (7).
1932 Sep 11 - Richard Fowler Taylor - Flier Dies of Injuries, Springfield (MA) Republican
|1932 Sep 8 - Crawfordsville (IN) Journal Review
1927 Oct 14 - 2 US Fliers Held Captive in Nicaragua - Daily Register Gazette (Rockford, IL)
1927 Nov 8 - Missing U.S. Fliers Killed in Nicaragua - Daily Register Gazette (Rockford, IL)
1927 Nov 9 - Born in Middle West - Boston Herald (Boston, MA)
1929 Feb 10 - U.S. Names Air Fields in Honor of Victims - Omaha World Herald (Omaha, NE)
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