Woman's family saw 'A Flier Go Home'

May 08, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Ethel Bovey remembers her husband, Max, as a news junkie.

"My husband just lived and breathed the news," she recalled this week.

And so it was no surprise that they were at their Martinsburg home and listening to the radio on May 8, 1945, when they heard the official news that the Nazis had surrendered to the Allies.

"Oh, what a joy that was there's no way to express it except we were very happy about it and relieved," said Bovey, 89.

"Everybody was excited about it and talking about it excited and relieved. And then waiting for everybody to get home."

But the family didn't do anything special to celebrate that she could remember.

And maybe there was a good reason for that.

Max was serving the war effort by building planes at Fairchild in Hagerstown, but three of his brothers had left for the war theaters in Europe and the Pacific. Two already had been discharged and come home.


But just months before the war ended in Europe, Max's other brother, Delmar, was in a plane that crashed in England while returning from a training mission.

"First had come a letter from Del," Bovey recalled. "It was a letter they had written before they took their first flight, telling the family what to do if anything happened. It upset his mother a little bit.

"Next day came the telegram that the plane had crashed."

It was two years before Delmar's body was returned to the United States, she said. Though he initially was buried in Britain, the military returned bodies at the request of families.

"He was such a lively kid," Bovey said. "He always wanted to fly; he couldn't wait to get into the air corps, but he was underweight. So he ate and ate and ate" until he qualified.

Bovey reflected Delmar's love of flying in a poem called "A Flier Goes Home" that she wrote after his death.

"Just keep Heaven's door ajar a bit," she wrote in the closing stanza, "For whenever a plane goes by, He'll want to run out and see it pass - he always loved to fly."

Delmar was 19 when he joined the service, she said, and 21 when he was killed.

Max died five years ago on Christmas Eve, Bovey said. They had been married 62 years.

They finished the summer of 1945 with an adventure, taking a trip to New York.

"We were in Times Square," she said - the day after the big V-J Day party.

"But there were still a lot of people there."

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