Category Archives: History World War II

Remembering My “Uncle Bob” who was killed in action on March 6, 1944

Robert Perkins standing on the far left and DG Zahler standing on far right were killed in action on March 6, 1944
Crew members of “Hell and High Water,” on March 6, 1944

Summary of My Uncle Bob’s Mission over Berlin, Germany on March 6, 1944

PERKINS, ROBERT FRANCIS

Technical Sergeant:  Serial Number 42-31869

#401 Hell and High Water (B-17 Bomber)

Mission on 06-March-1944

(2 KIA)

Target, Berlin (Erkner)

GERMANY. Ball Bearing Plant (The 91st Bomb Group  lost 6 B-17s 8th Air Force lost 69 Heavy Bombers on March 6, also called “Black Tuesday.”

Robert Francis Perkins was my Dad’s brother. (Francis Joseph Perkins, Jr)

The remaining fliers on “Hell and High Water,” bailed out of the aircraft safely and landed on German soil where they were held in a prison until the end of World War II.  Top Turret Gunner and Assistant Flight Engineer Perkins and Tail Gunner EG Zahler were killed in action on the mission.

Sergeants Perkins and Zahler are buried in the American Cemetery in the Ardennes, Belgium along with thousands of their Mighty Eighth Air Force buddies.

Today, soldiers from the Army of Belgium take meticulous care of the Perkins and Zahler grave sites.

“Lest we forget…”

 

 

They were assigned to the 91st Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force

 

Close up of my Uncle Bob at his base in England in 1944. I was born four years after Uncle Bob, died, but he still is my “favorite Uncle.”

 

Sergeants Perkins and Zahler are resting with their buddies from the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Belgium

“Lest We Forget.”

 

 

 

Allied Veterans Receive Thanks from Andre Rieu

In Chapter 17 of the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae: A Story of Heroism and Hope at 17,000 Feet, I tell the story of two Dutch airmen, who were trained by my Dad, Francis J. Perkins Jr. after he was wounded on his last mission in the Central Pacific in 1943.

Dutch airmen were sent to gunnery school in Jackson and Fran Perkins took young Ferdi and Van Geehm under his wing.

I wish Ferdi and Van Geehm were still alive to have participated in Andre’s concert for the Allied Veterans.

Also, I hope you enjoy the short series of videos, by Andre Rieu. Andre  hosting 3000 Veterans in the Netherlands to celebrate the liberation by allied forces in 1944. Little is told in America about the appreciation held by many who were not even born yet in the German occupied, Netherlands from 1940 to 1945.

 

Next Andre features an American who helped liberate his city from the Germans in 1944. Also you will view a collection of restored World War II vehicles that Andre’s son is working on. “Lest We Forget.”

 

 
Clip 3 by Andre Rieu includes a tribute of the Andrews Sisters Music that helped inspire Allied troops during World War II. Andre’ orchestra plays by Dad’s favorite, “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”

Clip 4
Andre meets with 99 year old Dame Vera Lynn at her home in England. Her music inspired so many Allied troops during World War II. Also is a tribute to Glenn Miller who lost his life during World War II while flying to entertain the troops.

Clip 5
Andre Rieu caps his dedication for the Allied Veterans with “Amazing Grace.”

Book recommended in the November-December Issue of VFW Magazine

The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae: A Story of Heroism and Hope at 17,000 Feet is recommended in the Book Corner Section of the November-December Issue 2017 of  VFW Magazine

“It is an honor and I know my Dad and the other ten crewman that gave everything that had under impossible odds to fight for each other and trade their lives so that their buddies could live, would appreciate the recognition.” Wayne F. Perkins Author/Narrator/Producer

The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae: A Story of Heroism and Hope at 17,000 Feet

“Never underestimate the power of hope.”–Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss, Navigator, Daisy Mae, on July 24, 1943 in the air battle over Wake Island.

Story 14: Camp Grant Near Rockford, Illinois 1001 Bedtime Stories of World War 2 by Wayne Perkins

Farmer

Listen to the author, Wayne Perkins read every word of the book in the way the book was intended to be read!

Order today at: http://tinyurl.com/y7hthh7y

This is the true story of the actions and bravery of 11 heroes flying the B-24 Bomber, The Daisy Mae in the Central Pacific and South Pacific during World War II in the Pacific.

1001 Bed Time Stories of World War II


Click on the video above and enjoy the first of a series of

1001 Bed Time Stories of World War II
By Wayne Perkins Author/Voice Actor

“Never underestimate the power of hope.” Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss Navigator the Daisy Mae on July 24, 1943

Gunnery School for B-24 Liberators

"Look at the Ducks!"
Top Turret Training at Flexible Gunnery School

Top Turret Training during World War II. Fran and the other gunners who ended up on the Daisy Mae began their gunnery training in Las Vegas. They learned how to shoot with ground training and then graduated to shooting drills at drones while flying high over the Nevada desert.

Sergeant Masters, who taught Perkins, Conley and Calhoun, trained over 600 airman how to fly and fight during the summer of 1942.

You can learn more about “Flexible Gunnery School,” in my book, the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae.

 

Fran Perkins and Phil Stillings have lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943

Phil Stillings shown left and Fran Perkins shown right just before their meeting as guests of Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady in the Fall of 1943 on Oahu, HI

Phil Stillings and Fran Perkins getting ready to give War Bond speeches on Oahu. They are recovering from wounds and put on a detail to help Eleanor Roosevelt, our First Lady, raise money through the sale of War Bonds to civic groups around Oahu, Hawaii.

Fran is one of the eleven heroes from the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae.

Two Heroes and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943

Eleanor Roosevelt with two heroes from the Daisy Mae
First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, surprising wounded warriors Fran Perkins and Robert Patterson for their heroics aboard the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae

The First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt surprise Ball Turret Gunner Fran Perkins shown in dark glasses and Radio Man Robert Patterson, by congratulating them on their heroism during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae. The First Lady is autographing dollar bills along with the remarks, “Congratulations Sergeant Francis Perkins for shooting down four Jap Zeros, two confirmed and two probable,  on July 24, 1943. Sincerely, Eleanor Roosevelt”

This is just a few days after Fran Perkins received miraculous eye surgery from an Australian eye surgeon stationed at Hawaiian General Hospital. Fran’s buddy, Robert Patterson is also helping Fran walk, getting use to walking and moving about with only one good eye.

Robert Patterson, in spite of of being wounded with “hunks of metal sticking out of his legs,” was able to restore the damaged radio and transmit Morse Code to Midway Island, to alert the airfield that the Daisy Mae was still flying out there somewhere and preparing to land on Midway or ditch at sea. Patterson’s message said “Big Girl Coming Home. Big Girl Coming Home.” All personnel working in the control tower at Midway knew exactly what that message meant.

Midway Island prepared for the worst and had every able bodied soldier sailor and marine alert and ready to stand by the airfield to help extracting the wounded and dying aboard the severely damaged Daisy Mae

The Daisy Mae, herself had tricks up her sleeve to assist Pilot Joe Gall, and Co-pilot John Van Horn in a bizarre but safe landing. Over 800 bullet and cannon holes would be counted by the surviving crew and sailors the following day.

Sample the book right now!

 

 

 

 

Read Daisy Mae’s story Free on Kindle eBook today

It’s Write Now is featuring The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae today. You can read this book and other featured books today on the It’s Write Now Website, using your smart phone and a free Kindle app.

http://itswritenow.com/67138/the-last-flight-of-the-daisy-mae/

11 heroes stand up against overwhelming odds on July 24, 1943

Veteran’s Day Tribute for the Daisy Mae…

Tribute to SGT Francis Perkins and the crew of the Daisy Mae…

My friend, Jim Hawkins pays his respects to SGT Francis Perkins and the crew of the Daisy Mae on Veterans Day, 2016.  Jim is a Vietnam Veteran and Korea Defense Veteran.  Taking a trip to Bushnell National Cemetery in Florida, Jim  hoisted a glass of Mogen David Wine.

This tribute means so much to me because during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, when Fran Perkins lay blind and wounded aboard the Daisy Mae, and the ship’s odds of returning safely were nil, Navigator Benjamin I Weiss, ordered nineteen year old Fran Perkins to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner 10 years into the future.

"Never underestimate the power of hope." Now resting with his wife, is the brave, hero of the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae
“Never underestimate the power of hope.” Now resting with his wife, is the brave, hero of the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae

Ten years later, on Thanksgiving Day, Fran Perkins carried out the command of his superior officer, Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss.  Fran and Ben made it back from the War, alive. Ben brought a bottle of Mogen David wine and had a silent toast to the ship and crew of the Daisy Mae. Every year since, Mogen David Wine and Thanksgiving go hand in hand in the remaining Perkins family.

Jim Hawkins, in October 2016, sent me an email asking if it would be okay to salute my Dad and his shipmates.

What an honor for my Dad and an honor for me. Jim placed my book The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, and a bottle of Ben Weiss’s favorite wine, Mogen David, beside Fran’s marker at Bushnell Florida National Cemetery.

It took me three years to research and write the book about Fran, Ben and his buddies. Many times I would close my eyes at my keyboard and I could almost see the now deceased 11 heroes of the Daisy Mae as much younger versions of themselves,  talking, laughing, and trading “Joe Lewis,” jabs in jest.

Fran Perkins in Hawaii recovering from his wounds
Fran Perkins in Hawaii recovering from his wounds
July 25th 1943
SGT Evans and Lt Myron Jensen are flagged draped before their burial at sea

Right now I see these young men, standing by a younger version of Daisy Mae, saluting Jim Hawkins and his family.  Navigator Ben Weiss is pouring Mogen David wine for the brave, young crew in a return salute to my friend, Jim Hawkins.

Thank you, Buddy…