Photo above is of Lt. Thomas Jeffers, B-24 bombardier, Rhapsody in Junk. Mr. Jeffers passed away in June of 2004 at the age of 83 after a series of debilitating strokes.
The B-24 Liberator 'Rhapsody in Junk'. Thomas Jeffers served as the bombardier on this aircraft when it was shot down over Germany in 1944. Nine of the ten-man crew survived by parachuting from the stricken plane. The tenth was found dead on the ground, after either striking the tail section on bail-out or from being killed by German civilians.
Above, the field where Jeffers landed after bailing out.The farmhouse, built in the seventeenth century, that was almost hit by Rhapsody in Junk before it crashed into a nearby wood.
A few years ago, Marilyn and her husband John returned to the town and interviewed witnesses of the crash. Here, one witness motions to a point in the woods where the plane impacted. There are still four craters created from the plane's massive engines, and one tree still bears the scars of impact. Though most of the plane was removed by the German government within a day or two of the crash, locals kept some pieces and used them to make everyday household objects, including coat hooks and a tea strainer. Marilyn was given these pieces on her visit.
A write-up in a German newspaper about the visit, which generated great interest in that area of Germany. The Waltons found the Germans to be helpful, and learned how the German civilians had endured during the war. Much of the translating was done by the young man in the above picture, Matthias Martensen, seen wearing the jean jacket.
A tea strainer and a coat hook, made by local German civilians from the wreckage of Rhapsody in Junk. Also shown is a piece of the aircraft's rubber tire, found in the woods.
Some of the articles found at the crash site later, using a metal detector and other techniques
My thanks to Marilyn Walton for sharing these photos. The photos are to be found in the book, but are shown here in color.