Hickman Mills, MO
Dec, 28th - 1944
|Dear Chaplain John Eastwood: -
I am Sgt. Shelby John Sturgeon's mother, sometime back you sent me a latter and a complete list of names of the names of the crew that my boy was with on Oct. 16th the day they failed to return on a mission over Austria, four of the boys names were strange to me, the other four I knew were with my son's regular crew. You said that they were without a bombardier on that mission and that there were only nine in the crew that day.
I cannot put into words how much I appreciated that complete list of names. I was able to get in touch with the other boy's families and found out what happened to their sons, five families received the same message we did, the worst we could get, the letter that follows the telegraph said Shelby was killed the same day he was reported missing in action, two of the boys are prisoners of war, the ninth boy I don't know about as I wrote twice to his family but never received any reply. So that accounts for the nine boys that made up the crew that day.
I have wrote the two families whose boys are prisoners of war and they have promised to keep in touch with me so that when their sons come back, maybe they can tell me something more about my boy.
The list you sent was what I was hoping I could get someway. I didn't know where or how I would be able to get it. If I could only tell you how thankful everyone was in their letters about your thoughtfulness in sending us the other boys names that were with out boys. It meant a lot to all of us.
I wrote to the commanding officer of the 776th B. S. and 464th B.G. and told him to give Shelby's Xmas boxes to the remaining boys in Shelby's crew. There are 22 boxes, in them are things along the food line. See that Lt. Stanley Fowler, Lt. Gene Dulaney, Sgt. Wm Charles, -- Lt. James O'Connor, see that any one of these boys get the boxes and they will share them with the others. It would hurt too much for them to be returned, and it's the way Shelby would want it.
You're doing a wonderful job over there, and please keep on sending those complete lists to the folks back home. It meant everything to me and I know it will mean a lot to other families too.
Mrs. S. J. Sturgeon