Skip to comments.Austrian town to erect memorial for Canadian bomber pilots
Posted on 01/18/2014 9:11:28 PM PST by Squawk 8888
Hap DeMarco is 87 years old and feeling it, physically, and facing another surgery in the not so far off future to get his bum ankle fused while worrying about his kid brother, Mickey, his only surviving sibling, whose heart is acting up.
There is a lot on his mind, a lot of stuff pressing down, in the present. So answering the phone and finding a reporter on the line hoping to talk about the past, about April 25, 1945, the day his eldest brother, Wilfred though everybody called him Foxy because he was so smart and handsome was blasted out of the skies over Austria, sends an old mans memories reeling back to a moment he made peace with a long time ago because making peace was the only way to go on without being swallowed by grief.
Wilfred Tarquinas DeMarco, Lancaster bomber pilot, Northern Ontario boy, Italian-Canadian, gold miner, hockey star, prankster, big brother, has been dead for almost 70 years. But his ghost is stirring, now, thanks to the mayor of an Austrian mountain village where the handsome Canadian pilots stricken bomber crashed with three other men aboard.
Burgomaster Wolfgang Auer begins our conversation by apologizing for his bad English, which isnt too bad at all, and by telling me that the day the bomber went down in Adnet was The Event of the Second World War in the village.
My father was only six years old and he remembers it, Mr. Auer says. The older people always talked about the plane when I was growing up.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalpost.com ...
Over 200,000 Canadians served in the RCAF in World War 2 and almost 20,000 didn’t return. Statistics were worse for those in Bomber Command. In 1943 the chance of completing a 30 mission tour was one in six. The chance of completing two tours was one in forty. Overall 60% of Bomber Command crewmen were killed, wounded, or captured. The only branch of any service with a higher casualty rate was the German U-Boat service. And yet, because their raids were primarily directed against civilian targets, Bomber Command and men like Flying Officer DeMarco never received the post-war recognition and honors they deserved. It’s nice to see that at least those they helped liberate haven’t forgotten.