Return from Berlin: The Eye of a Navigator

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University of Wisconsin Pres, Aug 11, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
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During the summer of 1944, the now-legendary American Eighth Air Force was engaged in a ferocious air battle over Europe to bring the Allies victory over the German Third Reich. This is the story of one B-17 navigator and his crewmates, men who faced extraordinary danger with a maturity beyond their years. This vivid and detailed account of combat flying and its psychological toll also recalls the beginning of Robert Grilley’s† development as a painter of international renown, as he spends his off-duty time drawing the peaceful Northamptonshire landscape around Deenethorpe airbase.
††† Wakened with flashlights on their faces in the predawn hours, he and his crew repeatedly face the Luftwaffe in battles five miles high, flying through flak "so thick you could get out and walk on it." Stretching their stamina to the limits, they succeed time after time in their missions to bomb munitions works, railyards, the LeŁna synthetic oil plant at Merseburg in eastern Germany, the V2 rocket research center at PeenemŁnde on the distant Baltic Coast, and even to strike Hitler’s capital city, Berlin.
††††††††††† But Grilley finds interludes of unexpected grace and restoration on his days off, making serious drawings from nature at the neighboring Yokehill Farm. There he slowly cultivates a friendship with a curious eight-year-old, the lively child Elizabeth, who becomes for the combat flyer a symbol of survival.
 

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Contents

Prologue
3
1 The 401st Bomb Group H in England at War
18
The First Mission
24
3 Hamburg
44
4 Landscapes and Elizabeth
52
5 Berlin
58
6 Frevent
65
7 Montbartier
68
16 Peenemiinde
116
17 Berlin II
123
18 Goodbye Elizabeth
126
19 Ludwigshafen
129
20 Ludwigshafen Again
138
21 Groesbeek
142
22 Forgotten Missions
147
23 Munster
149

8 Leipzig I
73
9 Munich I and II
76
10 Leipzig II
82
11 Marlene Dietrich
86
12 SaintLo
89
13 Merseburg
92
14 Lead Team
102
15 Nienburg and Kettering
106
24 Nurnberg
155
25 After the Last Bomb Run
163
26 Back in the USA
167
American Strategic Bombing
175
Missions
181
Robert Grilleys Military Decorations
183
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Robert Grilley is professor emeritus of art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A respected figure painter and teacher, he has shown his work at museums and galleries throughout the United States, including a large retrospective at the Wichita Museum.

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