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World War II: Seeking for Lost Sons: World War II: SEEKING FOR LOST SONS

Correspondence between mothers of a missing in action WWII crew.

One of the Lost Sons

From the Luther E. Smith Collection (UF): Sergent Luther E. Smith, Army Airforce, wrote some 253 letters home to his family, beginning with his military service in 1942 until his disappearance in 1944.  Smith's plane was flying over Corsica, Italy on September 23rd, 1944 when the plane experienced engine trouble, possibly from enemy fire.  Originally, the War Department believed that the pilot could have landed in enemy territory and the crew were being held as prisoners of war. This started an extended correspondence among the mothers of the crewman to find out what happened.

This website displays selections of letters from mothers of the missing Air Force B-25 bomber crew. The letters range from December 1944 to October 1945.  The women wrote of their worries and hopes for their sons, as well as what wartime life was like at home.


Finding Aid to the Luther Smith Papers


A major component of the Luther E. Smith Collection are a long series of letters written to his mother from the mothers of his fellow crewmen.  They exchange constant news as they try to find out what has happened to their sons.

Lady Be Good B24-D Bomber

Image: Lady Be Good was a B24-D bomber plane, similar to the one in this story, that crashed over Naples, Italy in April 1943.

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