November 8, 1944: Remains of Deceased Decorated Bomber Pilot Returned Home


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

November 8, 1944: The highly-decorated US Army Air Force Ace Fighter Pilot, Captain Earl R. Fryer, age 27, from Spunktown (now Englesville) was killed after his P-51 Mustang single engine fighter plane, which he had named “Spunktown,” crashed near Renkum, Holland. He was last sighted as he parachuted out of the plane. He had flown 35 high level bombing missions over Germany, using the new technique of precision bombing.

His body was buried by the Germans in his parachute next to the wreckage of his plane, which was not found until April 1945. For those five months, it was not known if he had died or was being held as a prisoner of war. His family had not heard from him since the end of October, and two letters that friends from Boyertown had sent to him were returned with a note on the envelope that he was “missing.”

Fryer was scheduled to return to the States on furlough after this mission; instead, his body was flown back home and reinterred in the Union cemetery.

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