Excerpt from “Preface”

The Jolly Roger: An Airman’s Tale of Survival in World War II by William C. Atkinson

Excerpt from “Preface”:

When I was about nine years old, I came home from school to find that my mother had baked a very unusual cake. It was dark green and had the shape of a four-engine airplane. In the center of the cake, a toy soldier parachutist was landing. I immediately asked her about the cake, and she told me that it was April 5th, the anniversary of my dad’s plane having been shot down in World War II. She was planning to surprise him with a little celebration.

We celebrated Dad’s war service upon his arrival home from work that evening. I listened intently as he told me and my brother and sister about how, while serving as a radio operator/gunner, he had bailed out of a burning B-24 bomber over Ploesti, Romania. The story was burned into my mind, and as I got older, I endeavored to learn all I could about Dad’s wartime experiences. To this day, the events of April 5, 1944 fascinate me, and I apologize to my friends and family who have heard me tell the tale over and over.