From Slovenia with Love • Saturday, June 18, 2005
The crew of the downed B-24
Left to right standing: S/Sgt
Luther F. Shipley, Engineer-Top Gunner, KIA; 2nd Lt. James R. Peters,
Pilot, KIA; 2nd Lt. Donald S. Morrison, Co-pilot, KIA; 2nd Lt. George A. Wade, Navigator, KIA;
2nd Lt. Homer F. Roland, Bombardier, POW. Left to right kneeling: S/Sgt Lynn M. Ripley, Waist
Gunner-Armorer, POW; S/Sgt Harry G. Squires, Tail Gunner-Armorer, POW; S/Sgt Melbourne M.
Spencer, Ball Gunner,KIA; S/Sgt Thomas A. Inman, Radioman-Nose Gunner, POW, still living;
and Joseph Hanke, Waist Gunner-Armorer. According to Harry Squires, "Joe (Hanke) was lost
on a day he volunteered to fly as waist gunner on another plane that was short a man. A day our
plane was grounded for some reason. S/Sgt Guss Bryan [KIA] was his replacement on our crew.”)
Doni Morrison Troglio was contacted by a history teacher in Slovenia who relayed that there was a group of people in his village who wanted to build a memorial to the six men in the crew of a B-24, including her Father, 2LT Donald S. Morrison, who died when their plane crashed in a Slovenian vineyard on 19 March 1944.
The crash site in the Vanetinan vineyard.
He sent Doni photographs of the place where the bomber went down. The wing of the bomber collapsed after a direct hit to an engine and, therefore, the monument is in the shape of a broken wing.
The memorial was dedicated on June 18, 2005, which was Doni's Mother's 82nd birthday. The names of the men, including 2nd Lt. Donald S. Morrison, are listed on the memorial. The town rests in beautiful countryside. Two of the four men who bailed out and survived the crash told Doni about the landing in this gorgeous spot and immediately being taken prisoner.
They spent the next 14 months in one of the stalag luft prisoner camps. One said that he tried to give his parachute to a young girl nearby. One of the two men, Harry Squires, died on May 26, 2005.
His wife sent Doni a short letter on July 3 in which she said, "You will never know how thrilled he was when you contacted him about your dad and exchanged some pictures. He has a bracelet that he has worn on March 19th in memory of those who did not make it and asked that I continue to do this for him."
The town of Vanetina.
Marjan Zmavc and Mrs. Kurnik with The Star and Doni's article.
Mrs. Kurnik with the pot lid made from the wreckage of the B-24.
She was a 15 year old girl living in the nearby house on the day of the crash.
Marjan Zmavc was one of several speakers at the dedication ceremony.
Wreaths laid at the Memorial.
Photo of the cemetery in Cerkvenjak, Slovenia taken in 1999
2nd Lt. Donald S. Morrison. Photograph from the classbook of the training class, Wings Aloft.
To see a tribute to Lt. Morrison, Click Here!
The Slovanian photos were provided by Marjan Zmavc and submitted by Doni Troglio, with thanks!