September 25, 1962 — Oshkosh, Wisconsin Daily Northwesterner news:
“Oshkosh Man on Airliner is Safe”
“A long and dreary day ended in joyous relief about 5 pm. Monday for Mr. And Mrs. George Brown when they got the news. Their son, George C. Brown Jr., 19, was among those rescued from the North Atlantic after the ditching of Flying Tiger Lines Flight 923, Sunday night.”
The Browns had given up hope. A policeman brought a telegram early in the morning notifying them that their son was missing, but no other information. Later that day, at about 5 p.m., a news wire reporter called them by phone to say George had been confirm as a survivor.
At about 8 p.m. that same day the Browns’ relief was complete. They received a telegram from their son. It read:
“Safe on Canadian air craft carrier Bonaventure proceeding to Shannon, Ireland.”
Only two injured survivors were evacuated from the Swiss rescue ship Celerina to the Bonaventure while the storm continued to rage around them. The other injured passenger was Mrs. Lois Elander. Both were treated in the air craft carrier’s sick bay. The other survivors remained on the Celerina until the weather cleared.
The following day, senior Brown told the Oshkosh news that his son spoke to them by phone only a few days before the ditching. He was still in the states. He told them that he was going to Europe by ship. “It came as a surprise when we learned they had flown him over,” he said.
Pvt. Brown graduated from Manosha High School in June 1961. His pre-parachute training was in Army ordinance and he was assigned after recovery to an ordinance unit of the 8th Infantry Division in Gonsenheim, Germany. [This site editor has been able to locate Brown to get his history or his views on the experience. However, we were able to glean some information provided by other journalists.]
From the Saturday Evening Post
Stars and Stripes reporter Peter Foley captured a glimpse of Pvt. Brown in his story in the Saturday Evening Post in October 1962. His story spanned four pages of the magazine and included a number of comments on survivors.
“The water was full of people. One of these was Pvt. George V. Brown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who had been badly gashed on the head during the ditching. “A woman grabbed my shirt and my life preserver and started pulling me under,” he recalls. “I got free and shouted to her to take it easy. Suddenly there was a raft. When I got onto it I felt blood all over my face.” He didn’t quit, “I started hauling other people in.”
[Anyone having any information on George Brown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or any members of his family, please send an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org.]