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Edward C. Ennis (1914-2005)"Gen Bob Knapp's 321st Lives On"
1943 | Italy
Edward was born in 1914, the last of 8 children, in Lambertville, NJ to Eugene and Helen (Carswell) Ennis. His parents passed while he was young, he lived with family and to help to support the family, he worked & also graduated Little Flower, Germantown, Phila. PA. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 was on his 15th Birthday. By then he was working full time, 66 hrs. a week for $5.00. He married Alta Holmes Ennis 21 Mar '42, at "Old St. Mary's Catholic Church" in Chicago, where she was working at Michael Reese Hospital. (although he met her near her hometown, Doylestown, PA.....a blind-date :) He then entered the AAC as a Radio/Gunner, then learned the1st Application of the Top-Secret Airborne RADAR. He flew across Atlantic Feb.'43 with Gen. Bob Knapp's 321st Bomb Group in the Med. Bomber B 25 Mitchell. The "now-famous 1st crossing of the Atlantic", an entire Group, without loss of a single ship.
He spent 13 months in Africa/Italy flying Combat Missions, surviving a crash after takeoff, complete loss (1 man died) 4 Oct.'43. (The 1st Group on the mainland of Italy, the 1st day). After returning from the MTO, he first met his 1st daughter, Lynette already over 4 months old......went to several bases then settled down to run the Field and Tower at Bradley Field, Conn. with his new friend, Lt Howard Roedl, untill the war ended. Barbi (321stBG Historian) was born there, 4 July, 1945 and Howie and his wife Tess are her Godparents.
After the war, he returned to Alta's Home-town of Doylestown PA with his 2 daughters, then their family grew with 2 more daughters and 1 son. He built a beautiful home for his family and opened a floor covering business, Barb-Lin Floor Covering... successful owner/operator until retirement, mid-1970's, to retire to Fla. and Golf ! He was very patriotic and civic minded, Lions Club, 14 years on the Doylestown Borough Council, Loyal Order of the Moose and Bowling League. As an avid golfer, Ed was a co-founder of the Montgomeryville Golf and CC and a long time member of the Doylestown Country Club. Ed, Alta and his family also enjoyed their summer home on the N.J. side of the Delaware River, Byram, for water-skiing and family fun in the '60 and 70's. They then had over 20 years of fun in the sun, ocean and sand .... boating, fishing and golfing in Florida !
Edward and Alta moved back to Bucks County, PA in the 1990's and Edward lived to be over 90, passing quietly on 25 Jan. 2005. They would have been married 63 years....This date of their Anniversary (21 March) was chosen for his Military Funeral with the USAF Honor Guard from McGuire AFB and a 21 Gun Salute.
On this date as I write this story, Ed's wife, Alta is 90 and 4 mo. and daughter, Barbi is now a Researcher for the 57th Bomb Wing, and the Historian for his Group, the 321st Bomb Group. The B 25 Mitchells of the 12th Air Force.
(Now May of 2011, Alta passed on 9 Jan. 2009 at the age of 90 and one half).
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher and Historian for Ed's 321st Bomb Group as well as the 319th Bomb Group, MTO, B-25's ...North Africa, Italy, Corsica. WWII ... PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com
CONTINUED; http://www.footnote.com/page/86867806_edward_c_ennis/ Page 2
T/Sgt Ed Ennis - Boca Raton, Florida, 1942
1942 | Boca Raton, Florida
T/Sgt Edward C Ennis, after returning for Combat in the Mediterranean Theatre.....
After a few short assignments, Combat Air Crew Tech/Sergeant Edward Ennis (321st Bomb Group, 447th Bomb Squad/B-25 in the MTO) arrived at Bradley Field, Conn. in the Fall of 1944. His Combat was served in N. Africa/Italy as an Airborne RADAR/Radio/Aerial Gunner)Although only a T/Sgt, Ed was highly qualified to run the Tower and Field at Bradley Field Army Air Base in Conn. He did an efficent job and soon enough (Winter of 44-45) a 2nd Lt. from Washington DC, Lt Howard Roedl, a Communications Professional, and paper-work extra-ordinaire (his own words) :) arrived to be "in Charge". Not knowing a lot about airplanes, he and his (would be- lifetime friend) Ed made quite a team. As he would later be my Godfather, I asked Howie what some of the FBI certifications were for and he said "One was the "Cryptograph! I couldn't learn it and Ed was already certified so I would just go and get him out of bed to unlock it and then translate the messages."
I asked what kind of messages and he said "Usually the news of an incoming important person"... until VE Day...then the whole ball-game changed!"
Ed was also FBI certified on 3 other things, 2 of which were the "Swearing-in of keeping total silence on the new *Airborne RADAR* he was to learn (an imm. and automatic Court Martial if the word RADAR was spoken outside of the classroom)
RADAR is an acronym; " radio detection and ranging " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar
SO... (of course) it is said that they (in the classroom) kidded around about if one ever had to say it, it was to be said BACKWARDS! . . . . . RADAR :)
ON Edward's Honorary Discharge, it says "Radar Observer 1942" Prior to the field being open, the famed BOCA RATON CLUB was pressed into service as a RADAR and Officer training facility. While most of its furnishings were put into storage or covered for protection, still it was luxurious wartime housing for soldiers and Cadets." quote from the BRAAF historical society.... Edward Ennis trained there, at The Club, an existing postcard shows date of Sept. 23rd, 1942 The field had not opened yet, and he graduated (from the famous Mizner's the CLUB !) about 22 Dec. 1942 What an honor, Barbara Ennis Connolly (Ed's 2nd Daughter) ***** Boca Raton, Small Town, Big Secrets" by Sally Ling
(More to come. . . )
. Barbara Ennis Connolly 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher, 319th and 321st Bomb Group Historian (2007-____) PRINCESSBARBI
Bradley Field, AAB (Conn.) 1944-45
1945 | Bradley Field, Conn.
WWII after VE Day; May, 1945
In the Fall of 1944, Tech/Sergeant Edward C Ennis, 321st BG, 447th BS was running the AAB at Bradley Field, Conn. Winter of 1944 or early 1945, Lt. Howard Roedl, arrived at Bradley Field, Conn....a seasoned professional in Communications (Wash. D.C.) to assume command of the Tower. It was thought that the Commander should at least be a Lt. Ed was a T/Sgt. but 2nd Lt Howard Roedl did not know anything about WWII airplanes. Edward Ennis had been in control since the Fall.... after returning from his B-25 Combat unit in the EAME Theatre in March,'44. However, Ed and Howard recognized their different talents and knowledge and thus, they teamed-up ! .."To Run The Show" VE Day was 8th May '45 and in an extremely short period of time, all of the B 24's from England and Africa were returned to the States. To Bradley Field! For many-many weeks there was a constant roar as the B 24's circled and landed...unloading their war-weary men and then being taxi-ied to the farthest point of the runway ....worked on, and then readied for take off the next day. The B-24 ships were stripped as completely and as quickly as possible.....the Officers and Crew were logged in, fed, and given sleeping quarters.
From a lazy-days airfield to a strategic processing center for over 300 men a day, and countless B 24's. In the morning, the stripped down B-24's with their own now rested and fed skeleton Crew flew them out to the mid-west and the other Combat Crew on their way by train to re-assignment centers. Days blended into weeks. ALL that was left was Army Air Force equipment....undocumented and unofficial....radio's, binoculars, rifles, weapons, ammo.....Food, cheese and bacon. Cigarettes ! ALL now an expendable surplus ! ALL dispensable...in fact, "not possible" to pick back up on paper for a fair distribution. As the ROAR of the ships faded, the ROAR of the bulldozers arrived and all of it was buried in the fields and under the runways of Bradley Field... . . . (Now Bradley International) Ed and Howie had become fast friends, Ed being Howie's best man at his wedding, and Howie and Tess became Barbi's Godparents. born on the 4th of July,'45 there. Ed was honorably discharged 20 Sept. '45...Howie went on to 2 more assignments. Howard and Ed each received a special commendation for the unique plan that they devised for the correct distribution of Men and Ships.
Barbara Ennis Connolly 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher, 319th and 321st Bomb Group Historian (2007-____) PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com (As told to Barbi by her Mother/Alta Ennis and her Godfather/Howie Roedl in 2008) PRINCESSBARBI Barbara Ennis Connolly
Dad/Ed Ennis http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/ennis.html
57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher,319th & 321st BG Historian, http://57thbombwing.com
Men of the 57th Gallery/Albums, http://57thbombwing.com/gallery2/main.php
Edward C Ennis, his "War-Buddies" :)
2006 | Arizona
Most of the men did not speak much of the war, and most of us "kids" did not ask.
Ed's War-Buddies; Walter Cantrell became friends with Carl Hannaman in Radio School....then became tent mates when they trained in Columbia, SC in the after being assigned to the 447th BS. Then on to De Ridder in Louisianna for Aerial Gunnery.
S/Sgt. "C.O."-"Brownie" Charles O. Brown, Jr. and Ed Ennis showed up from Airborne RADAR School in Boca Raton and were assigned to the 321st in 1 Jan. 1943, Ed and his BEST-ever friend "Brownie"....were inseperable since meeting at the Radio Academy at the Scott Field AAC Radio Academy in Illinois. (Grad 12 Sept. 1942) They traveled and roomed together in Mizner's "The Club" in Boca Raton and recieved a "Crash Course" (pun intended) on learning to use, maintain, fix and generally be responsible for all of the functions of the RADAR set.... Qualified and FBI Certified before Graduation at Scott Field, and before Grad. at BRAAF. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boca_Raton_Airport
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boca_Raton_AAF_-_1943-1947-_Radar_School.png Boca Raton Army Air Field officially opened on October 12, 1942. ****Ed and Brownie and Jack Best would stay at Mizners The CLUB, postcard descriptions would be "appearing here soon" along with scan of them :) (Nov.2011) -B
They would stay in the CLUB (to sleep, eat and learn) and the BRAAF opened starting 12 Oct. 1942, they went there only ONCE.... to fly in Hudson Bombers out over the Atlantic to "see" boats and QUALIFY for Graduation on 22 Dec.'42. ED said "We learned it so fast they did NOT have time to explain HOW it worked, they would figure that out on their own later!" The 3rd mamber that went with them was John "Jack" Best from Pittsburg PA but he was assigned to something completely different and went in another direction after graduation.
Ed and Brownie's FRIENDS; Walter Cantrell went with Lt. R. Richardson in the HARP, #41-31007 Carl Hannaman went by boat, but having all 50 missions in the HARP, #41-31007 Dan O'Connell went with Lt. R. Richardson in the HARP #41-31007 Edward Ennis went with Lt. A. Duke in the TRIGGER, #41-13171 "Brownie" Charles O.Brown, Jr (1914-1943) went with Lt. C. Grantham in the HUCKELBERRY DUCK #41-12925 Walter was the most likable guy, and seems to have made friends with so very many. In Georgia, he hung out with Jim Stanton, and Lawrence Rider, turret gunner/KIA. Rider was from Chicago and always said "When he got home, he was gonna' put a turret on top of his ole' Buick and become a Gangster !" He remembered Clyde Morganti whose ship was lost in NC...he still had the rip-cord ring firmly gripped in his hand when he got back to base ! Besides Ennis and CO-Brownie and "The Bike" (In North Africa) .......he talks about how funny Vaughn Jones (Johnsey) was, and Lieberman...and Tate, and ...... Waldrip, Garret, the Navigator from Tucson... Oscar Daume from St. Louis, Francis Noble from NY... Bernie Quilty, Bombardier ! The dogs, and puppies ! In fact, Walter and the original crew attended Lt. Albert Duke's wedding ! Walter called everyone friend. Athough most of his pictures and mementos got "lost in the move" somewhere....OH, the STORIES ! On a personal note from Barbi Ennis Connolly ... I "found" the "Men of the 57th" from Don Kaiser at WarWingsArt, just one month after Walter "found" the "Men of the 57th". My first issue had Walter's story, and it rang a bell. It turns out that he not only lives 9 miles from me, he was Ed Ennis's great friend ! The men on the bike, Walter, Brownie and Ed ! The one photo I treasured most, was there above Walter's desk ! It feels as if Heaven has given me back part of my Dad/Ed as Walter's stories ARE Ed's and Brownie's....and everyone else's too ! He has cleared up so many details, names of the men, ships, places and events. Walter and Jeanne Cantrell are the most precious, giving and lovable people, it is my pleasure entirely to know tham :) PRINCESSBARBI PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com
Edward C Ennis, RADAR/Radio/Gunner, B-25's WW II
1929 | New York
The Stock Market Crash of 29 Oct. 1929 was on Ed's 15th Birthday. One of 2 dates that will never be forgotten. "Black Thursday", 24 Oct. and "Black Tuesday" the 29th Oct. 1929.
The 1929 stock market crash is conventionally said to have occurred on Thursday the 24th and Tuesday the 29th of October. These two dates have been dubbed "Black Thursday" and "Black Tuesday," respectively. On September 3, 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high of 381.2. At the end of the market day on Thursday, October 24, the market was at 299.5 — a 21 percent decline from the high. On this day the market fell 33 points — a drop of 9 percent — on trading that was approximately three times the normal daily volume for the first nine months of the year. By all accounts, there was a selling panic. By November 13, 1929, the market had fallen to 199. By the time the crash was completed in 1932, following an unprecedentedly large economic depression, stocks had lost nearly 90 percent of their value.
http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Bierman.Crash The "Rest of the Story" Barbi E Connolly
Ed Ennis, 321stBG,447thBS, MTO
1943 | Africa
Wow ! See a B & W Real-time video of the 321st when it was 1st Over in Africa ! See 321stBG Pilots and Commanders at Briefing ! SEE Ed's Pilot when the Huckelberry Duck Crashed, Lt Hamilton Brinkley !
The US Bombers Go to War DVD 7 Video's http://www.zenosflightshop.com/
* Bombers Over North Africa (1942 Black & White 22:00) This is a rare look at early war US Air Operations in North Africa. B-25 and B-17 bombers of the 321st and 97th Bomb Group help cut off Rommel's retreat from Tunisia. Part of the "North West African Strategic Air Force," these groups were initially tasked with preventing men and material from reaching the Afrika Korps, and later with preventing them from escaping. The missions for the day of this film were to strike from bases in Algeria at the junction at Manouba, near Tunis, and the air field at Sidi Ahmed, near Bizerte, where a large number of extremely valuable JU 52 transports were based, a key element in German evacuation plans. (Ironically, the 321st would soon occupy Sidi Ahmed as their new base for the Sicilian campaign.) The film features an introduction by the theater commander, then 4 star General, Dwight Eisenhower and an afterword by Air Operations Commanding General "Jimmy" Doolittle. Perhaps most memorably, this film is notable for it's extended "up close and personal" look at the men of the 97th & 321st BGs. You'll see real pre mission and after action debriefing sessions with the men who flew them, including a B-17 crew's account of an FW 190 shoot down and the water ditching of a heavily damaged B-25.
"Bombers Over N Africa" available at http://www.zenosflightshop.com/
Greatest Generation by Barbi Ennis Connolly
1941 | PA.
The “Greatest Generation” of men and women became GREAT because they were born into difficult circumstances……… because sense of leadership became apparent when needed and when needed, they stood up and were ready to learn.
Not all were natural leaders, some of our greatest Heroes of WWII just happened to be in the front row … … of an assembly … … of a platoon … … in the front row of complete emptiness where only seconds before their ‘friends’ … … their ‘buddies’ were the first element in a Mission gone bad. Courage born of Fear? No! Courage born of Honor.
Honor and determination brought forth leaders who would find their way to lead that rag-tag mess behind them to their “Home” … … a runway clawed out of a field on the front line of battle and in a foreign country.
Men, some who were merely boys, learned to shave their face while memorizing an instrument panel.
And women … … Oh, not only those who became “Rosie, the Riveter” but the ones who did triple duty, watching all of the children, fixing the plumbing and helping each other.
WWII nearly emptied our classrooms … … one, two or all of the sons who plowed the land next to their father “Joined Up”. The daughters picked up the reins and learned how to plow with their fathers.
Born into difficult circumstances made them a generation of steel. The Army made those boys into men and the steel made them Heroes. WWII coined the term “Everyday Heroes”. This was penned because there were some in every single situation.
Men became close friends of men they would have never have even spoken to under other circumstances … … Men bonded because they were tent mates or sat in the same fox-hole. In War you are either in Combat or you are not. When NOT, time drug along slowly so they told each other their stories and became friends … “buddies”. A few were there doing not much of anything while others became treasured friends and countless thousands deems themselves so worthy that they needed no thought to jump on a hand grenade or in front of an enemy gun.
More than a few Commanders sat with their men until they passed so they would not be alone. More than a few friends went home alone and still traveled far to tell the Mother or Wife how treasured their son or husband was … … how brave. How if they had the chance, they would have died instead. Why would anyone do that? It happened in the name of Patriotism but because of friendships made under unusual circumstances.
The American Flag had 48 Stars when Pearl Harbor happened, there are a lot of 48 star folded Flags that are kept, treasured and loved because they represent our Freedom and everyone’s sacrifice.
America embodies the Spirit of Freedom not regardless of the cost but because of cost.
Written by Barbara Ennis Connolly, in Honor of her Dad/321st Bomb Group, 447th Bomb Squad, T/Sgt Edward C Ennis, (1914-2005) Airborne RADAR/ Radio/ Aerial Gunner. (29 Oct. 2011, Ed would have been 97 today!))
We have one on our hearth, Paul's brother Cleatus Connolly, (1922-1944) arrived D-Day plus 6 and died in the Battle of St. LO. I found the Medic that would have attended to him. Barbi