Sometimes a small bit of information can open up lead to a bonanza of research potential. In this case, I was able to find a name associated with a recently acquired set of WWII 35mm color slides I won on eBay. I was able to deduce from the collection that the original owner was a pilot with the VP-209, a patrol squadron that went on search and rescue and sub-finding missions in the Panama Zone. Google led me to a website where old members of the unit have been posting reunion information with little snippits of their service history included. With this in hand, I contacted the seller and discovered that a name on some of the other personal material from the estate is F. Tyler. Low and behold, Mr. Tyler posted to the site back in 2003.
Here’s what Mr. Tyler had to say:
TYLER, Francis D. Jr. http://world.std.com/~shermie/vets/vets009.html “…Francis D. Tyler, Jr. PE, PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner (PBM) US Navy Pilot. First, I think I should tell you how I got in the Navy. Some of you also registered for that first draft, back in October of 1940. I have a brother, two years younger; his number was in the first 100, while mine was 8809. He was called up in February of 1941. Then by the time I was classified 1A, I had seen a friend home on leave in a sparkling white uniform with beautiful Gold Wings on his chest. I decided that was the part of the service that I wanted to serve in, so I enlisted. I finally got sworn in, on December 30, 1941, twenty-three days after Pearl Harbor. In March of 1942, I received orders to report to the Naval Air Station at Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, Louisiana. I had become a Naval Aviation Cadet. In June I was transferred to the NAS Pensacola, Florida. Six months later I was designated an Ensign and Naval Aviator. I was then assigned to the Transitional Training Facility at NAS Banana River, Florida. Here we were introduced to the plane we would fly, the PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner, as designated by the Navy. The Squadron in which I flew was VPB-209 was commissioned on January 1, 1943 and a full compliment of 15 planes was reached in June of the same year….
With this in hand, I was able to track down an obituary for Mr. Tyler:
FRANCIS D. TYLER JR.
Monday, December 31, 2007
FRANCIS D. TYLER JR., 90, of Lancaster, Mass., formerly of the RED BANK area, a professional engineer and World War II veteran, died Monday, Dec. 31, at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester, Mass. Francis was born in Bellevue, Pa., to the late Dr. Francis D. Tyler and Marie Trimble Tyler.
He was raised in Jamestown, N.Y., and Jesuit-educated. Mr. Tyler graduated from Campion in Praire du Chein, Wis., and Marquette University. He served in the U.S. Navy as a PBM pilot during World War II, after which he returned to graduate school at Carolina State University, earning a degree in civil engineering.
He retired from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1984. He was a member of the National, New Jersey and Monmouth Societies of Professional Engineers. Francis believed in public service and served each community in which he lived. Some of his community activities were as a board member of Monmouth Day Care Center, Brookdale Community College Foundation, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra League, member of the English Speaking Union, member of the Newcomon Society, district governor of Division Six of Kiwanis International, president of the Lions Club of Clinton, Mass., board member of Fruitlands Museums, and adjunct member of the Conservation Commission of Lancaster, Mass. Francis was an avid gardener, photographer, stamp and coin collector, and a world traveler. His outgoing interest in other people will be missed by many.
He was predeceased by his wife Johanna Beker Tyler. He is survived by his wife Ara Nugent Tyler of Lancaster, Mass.; three daughters, Joan Stewart Wood and her husband Gorton of Little Silver, Paula Paiewonsky of Los Angeles, and Martha Tyler Hoagland and her husband Jim of Kenmore, Wash.; and their mother, Barbara Wright Tyler of Stamford, Conn. He leaves a brother, Samuel Tyler and his wife Janice; and a sister, Marianne Panebianco, all of Jamestown, N.Y.; two step-daughters, Pamela Czekanski and her husband Robert of Bolton, Mass., and Elizabeth Plattenburg and her husband George of Atlanta; several nieces; nephews; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception Church, Main Street, Lancaster, Mass. A celebration of life reception is to follow services immediately at the First Church of Christ Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 725 Main St., Lancaster. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Philbin-Comeau Funeral Home, 176 Water St., Clinton, Mass. Contributions may be made in Francis’s memory to either the Xavier Jesuit Community, P.O. Box 7300 Kanpala, Uganda, or to the First Church of Christ Unitarian, c/o Heritage Fund, P.O. Box 66 Lancaster, MA 01523.
All of this info jives with what I found in the slide collection! Now for some of the slide collection……….