Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hell's Kitten Crewman Reunited with Son of Crewmate

The crew photo that started David Hughes on the mission to reconnect with his late father's crewmate, Dan Culler.

In one of the most amazing series of events covered on this blog, the son of a former B-24 bomber crewman was united with one of his father's former crewmates after 65 years. Dan Culler flew as a flight engineer on the B-24 heavy bomber Hell's Kitten over Europe in World War Two, and John Hughes flew as a waist gunner on the same plane. The plane was heavily damaged in aerial combat over Germany and made a forced landing in Switzerland. Both men eventually escaped.

About two weeks ago, David Hughes returned from his mother's house with a small box full of his late father's WWII possessions. In this box, he found an old photograph of an air crew in front of a B-24 named Hell's Kitten. He got on the internet and Googled Hell's Kitten and was directed to this blog. To his great surprise, he saw on this site the very same photograph that he held in his hands. My friend and sometime contributor to this blog, Les Poitras, had written an article about Dan and another bomber crewman, Maurice Rockett, and had included the photo.

David left a message on the blog for me; however, the posting was from September of last year, and I rarely go back and look at blog entries from that far back. More than likely, David's post would never have been discovered and the story would have ended there. The very same day that David posted the response requesting more information on the blog, another friend of mine, Richard Havers, who lives in Scotland, noticed it and brought the post to my attention. I then got in touch with David.

David was unaware that any members of his father's crew were still alive. His father had passed away and had never really discussed his war years much with the family. His knowledge of that era of his dad's life was a void. I made contact with my good friend Dan Culler, making sure it was okay to give David his contact information. Dan generously agreed, and so, after 65 years, a reunion of sorts took place between Dan and the son of his friend and former crewmate John Hughes.
Another photo that belonged to John Hughes, showing the crew of Hell's Kitten.

It's a series of coincidences and 'almost-never-happened' events that convinced Richard Havers to admit that some things are just meant to be. This is one of them.


Hughes2 said...

Rob.. Thnnk you and everyone involved for helping my btother get in touch with Dan. This has been one of the most amazing sets of circumstances ( FATE ) that I have ever experienced. Reading Dan's book has really brought back memories of my Dad ( John ). Not only is Dan's book, Black Hole of Wauwilermoos, a tremendous read, but it has enlightened me of what these brave men did and the pains and suffering they had to go through to save our freedom. I was always proud of my Dad, but after reading what he and his crew went through, he is my hero... along with all the other military men that fought in that terrible war.
John Hughes' number 3 son.
Mark Hughes

r morris said...

Great to hear from you, Mark.
I agree, fate brought all these circumstances together so you could learn mor about your dad.
I salute him in Air Force Heaven.