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George William Blancard

George W. Blancard 1917-1944

Louis George Newman was named by his aunt Gloria after his two most recently deceased close relatives. Louis came from his grandfather, Louis Newman, who was mayor of Havre and Great Falls, Montana. George came from his cousin George Blancard, who was a pilot who died in an airplane crash during World War II. That is all the facts that I knew until one day in 2007 when I decided to look up his name on the Internet. A Google search of the name gave me a list of names on another web site which offered to send an accident report back to for a fee.  I received a response offering the accident report for a B-26G that crashed three miles north of the Nashville airport on 18 August 1944 at 0958 CWT, six pictures of the accident site as well as the 100 page accident report.

First Lieutenant George Blancard was born on 4 Dec 1917. He enlisted in the Army Air Force on 27 Jan 1942 and was qualified in these aircraft: BT-13, AT-8, PT-17, L-3, P-38, A-20, B-24, B-25, and B-26. He flew B-26 in Europe for 14 months and received the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters. He had 900 hours of flying time and his flight records from 1944 were included in the package. After completing his overseas tour of duty, he was reassigned first in Wilmington, Delaware in January 1944, and then as an instructor/ferry pilot based in Nashville, Tennessee from 18 May 1944. The B-26G that he flew that day was made in the Martin plant at Offutt Field in Omaha, Nebraska, as were B-29s used against Japan including the Enola Gay and Bockscar. It was painted with British markings and was being delivered to Europe. It was headed to West Palm Beach, Florida. That seemed strange until I realized that the southern ferry route went through Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Guyana, Brazil, Ascension Island and Africa.

It was a clear day in Nashville; George and his co-pilot, Harold Strickland (a commercial pilot who had only enlisted 15 days earlier), had a long taxi to the end of the runway at Berry Field. They waited for traffic to clear, and then were told that their bomb bay door was open. This was closed and they proceeded down the runway. There was some smoke coming from the left engine and the aircraft took the entire 5500 foot runway on takeoff. It gained about 200 feet in altitude before it banked left into the ground. The cause of the accident was left engine failure. His mother, Viola L. Blancard, was notified.

What happened? The B-26 #43-34484 was powered by two Pratt&Whitney Double Wasp 18-cylinder engines with 2000 horsepower each. This engine was successfully used on a large variety of aircraft including Navy carrier fighters and later on the DC-6. On a hot day, the air-cooled engine would overheat on a long taxi or flight delay and then fail on takeoff. The B-26 was unstable at low speed with one engine powered. There were many fatal training accidents in this aircraft due to unstable flight; hence the undesirable nickname, Widowmaker. The final accident report recommendation was to increase the idle speed of the engine from 1000 revolutions per minute (rpm) to 1400 rpm to decrease the engine loading. This aircraft type (B-26) was withdrawn from service right after the war and only one flying version exists today.

Mother and Aviator Happy

Lieutenant George William Blancard co-piloted an American bomber over Bizerte. His mother, shown with him before he left for England, heard of his assignment in Africa through The New York Sun.

My grandmother, Jennie Newman, had a younger sister, Frances. She married Al Lubin, a theatrical producer in New York. She said she had a wonderful life with Al. They had one daughter, Viola. Viola had one child, George. She had said that George was the perfect child and was quite distraught by his death. I was warned never to mention George to her when I was growing up, so I never knew anything about him. She subsequently married Max Mioduser. He owned Falcon Truck Renting on Long Island before he sold out to Hertz and retired to a house with a boat on a canal near Miami, Florida. After he passed, Viola moved to a condo near the beach in North Miami where I finally met her in 1978. They had invited me to visit them several times over the years, but I had not had permission from my parents, the money, or the opportunity. Viola then moved in with her old friend from New York, Hy Fishman, and disappeared. I never got the chance to learn anything about George or even see a picture.

I wish I had seen this accident report years ago, when I could have told my family, but they are all gone now. Perhaps someone at would be interested or knew George.


The following information was donated by Mr. Harvey Kaufman, and his daughter Melinda. Mr. Kaufman was a 1st Lieutenant, B17 Bombardier, and flew fifty (50) missions from June '43- Nov. '43. He knew Mr. Blancard for four years before the start of WW2, and saved these news clippings about his friend.
U.S. Flyer in Africa Greets Her Through The Sun

Mrs. Viola Blancard is a very proud and happy mother these days and grateful to The New York Sun.

Just a few days ago The Sun's war correspondent in Africa, Gault MacGowan, cabled a story of how her son, Second Lieutenant George William Blancard, had celebrated his 25th birthday by co-piloting an American medium bomber on a raid over Bizerte.

“It was a wonderful birthday present when I was told I was selected for the job,” Lieutenant Blancard told The Sun correspondent, “I saw our bombs drop on the Bizerte docks and on ships in the harbor which had been bringing up Nazi reinforcements.”

The Lieutenant also sent greeting to his mother, “my very best girl.”

When The Sun's Bronx reporter, Bill Mason, called at Mrs. Blancard's apartment at 2160 Bronx Park East with the news' she was greatly surprised to learn that her boy was in Africa and was actually engaged in combat flying. He went to England only last September and she thought he was still there in training. She received a letter from him from England on November 16. Reassured that her son was well and happy, she actually beamed on Mason and said that the news called for a celebration.

“I am so glad that he is well,” she said, “and also glad that he can do his part in this war. I pray for his well being and for a quick victory.”

Lieutenant Blancard and five of his closed friends joined the Air Corps on January 13, 1941. It was, his mother said, George's own idea. At the time he was employed by the Falcon Truck Renting Company in West Farms Road in the Bronx. Previously he had bean graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School and had attended a business collage. He took most of his flight training at Cal-Aero Flying School at Ontario, California. He made such excellent marks that he received the school’s gold star merit award and because he completed the course without a single accident he was also presented with a plaque and a wallet by his commanding officer. His mother said that Lieutenant Blancard is nearly 6 feet tall and weighed 182 pounds when he left for England.

“He was not interested in any particular girl here,” she said smiling.

Decorations Set Record
Special to The New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 27 - In the largest list of awards for heroism yet issued at one time, the War Department announced today 579 decorations to officers and enlistedmen of the Army Air Forces “for outstanding aerial actions” in the European and North African theater of operations.

Men from forty-five States and the District of Columbia were included. The decorations included forty-five (45) Distinguished flying Crosses, four (4) Silver Stars, thirty-one (31) awards of three Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Metal, 111 awards of two Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal, 166 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal and 225 Air Medals.

Most of the actions took place since American troops moved into North Africa. Some of the awards were for combat destruction of German fighter planes and some for successful bombing missions. One feat recognized was the longest troop-carrier flight on record - that from the United Kingdom to North Africa Nov. 7-8.

Sharing in the awards were twenty-three residents of New York State. Among those from the New York metropolitan area were:

First Lieutenant Edwin M Boughton, 87-28 248th Street, Bellerose Manor, Queens, two received three Oak Leaf Clusters for the Air Medal he had previously won. The three Oak Leaf Clusters were for making twenty sorties and destroying one enemy aircraft.

First Lieutenant Jerome C. Simpson, 97 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, who received three Oak Leaf Cluster for thirty sorties.

First Lieutenant Kenneth W. Holbert, 69 Vollard Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, who received the Air Medal for “meritorious achievement while participating in the longest massed, unescorted, non-stop troop carrier flight ever successfully carried out.”

Sergeant George J. Manger, [unreadable]

Lists for Two States
WASHINGTON, March 27 – Members of the Army Air Force from New York and New Jersey named today in the list of 579 men receiving decorations included:

[List of names]

BLANCHARD, GEORGE W., second lieutenant, 2160 Bronx Park East, five (5) sorties.



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