My name is Erwin de Mooij and when I was 23 years old I started researching the crash of an American B-17 bomber in Holland on September 26th 1944.
For 11 long years I have been researching this crew, finding almost all families of the crew with whom I am still in contact with today. It gets better...this September 15th a monument is being unveiled near the crash site and a book will be presented with 30 American family members attending this ceremony.
The American Ambassador is also coming and members of the Dutch and American Air Force and members of the vet organisation of their WWII bomb group. The story has been in several newspapers in America (just search on Google for "Donald Reilly" and "Santa Clara newspaper" or "Carl Gooch" and "Independence").
We only have two problems. One, we have no photos of one of the crewmembers, which is very sad. Two, we still haven't found one crewmember's family and that is why I am writing you! You can understand how desperate I am right now. I really want to give this crewmember's family the oportunaty to come to Holland or just know what we are doing here for her dad or grandfather. Plus it will be a beautiful story.
The man we are looking for was from Brooklyn, NY (Kings County). His name is Alexander P. McDermott. Alexander was born in 1902 and he was married with Mary E. McDermott who was born in 1905. In 1929 or 1930 they had a baby girl named Joan. Alexander was with the USAAF stationed in England. He usually flew with another crew but when three men ended up in a hospital, he was asked to replace them.
The B-17 was struck by FLAK when the formation was returning to England after they bombed a target in Germany. Alexander bailed out but broke his back. The Dutch resistance picked him up and brought him to a doctor but the Germans found out and he was arrested. He was brought to a small hospital in the Dutch town of Heemstede before being transferred to a POW camp in Germany.
According to our information he last lived in Port Washington.
We really really hope to find his daughter or her children!
Can and will you help us because time is running out!
Hope to hear from you soon.
Erwin de Mooij
Editor's Note: Erwin de Mooij can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this letter are solely those of the author.