Ogdensburg Journal - Friday January 7, 1944 A personal letter from Major General Jatmes H. Doolittle commander of the American Air Forces operating in the Mediterranean area, to John Carruthers, RFD 1, Madrid, gives little additional information on the possible fate of Mr. Carruthers' son, John, who has been reported missing in action since Oct. 14.
General Doolittle points out that the plane on which John Carruthers was serving as assistant radio man and gunner, was unreported since it was seen to enter dense clouds at a point not far off the African coast, near Cap Bon Peninsula.
The letter, however, points out that there is a chance the plane made a landing either on land or sea and that the crew has been unable to communicate with headquarters.
Mr. Carruthers who has the names of other members of the crew but not their addresses, said he hoped more information may he eventually obtained from some of the other pilots in the squadron and added that one of the young men lost was a resident of Syracuse. Having contacted the father of the Syracuse flier, Mr. Carruthers said he learned the plane was last reported at about 11 a.m. which might indicate that It was returning from a bombing trip over Italy or Germany as American bombers customarily make daylight raids.
The plane, a Flying Fortress, carried a crew of ten and was attached to the 9th Bombing Group, 15th Air Force, based at the time in North Africa. The last letter he received from his son, Mr. Carruthers said, was dated on Oct. 6 and stated he had made at that time 11 missions. It is believed the plane was on its 13th raid when it disappeared.
The missing airmian is the third John Carruthers to wear the uniform of his country, his grandfather having joined the army in the Civil War while his father served in France during the first World War.
Notification came from the War Department Nov. 4, Mr. Carruthers said and wtiille he expects more information may be obtained from comrades in the bombing group, he plans to ask the Red Cross to determine, if possible, whether his son may have been taken prisoner by the Germans. Although it is not known here whether the bombing group to which Carruthers was attached took part in the sensational raid on Schweinfurt, Germany, Oct. 14, dispatches at the time stated that from that raid 60 American Flying Fortresses and two Thunderbolt P-47 fighters were shot down, the greatest Allied aerial loss of the war. Schweinfurt is located in Bavaria, northeast of the Alps and almost at the border of Czechoslovakia, and could presumably be reached from England, Sicily and Africa. A ball bearing plant is located there.
The letter from General Doolittle, dated Dec. 3, follows:
Mr. John Carmthers, R.D. 1, Madrid:
Dear Mr. Carruthers: You have received official notification, that your son, John, has been missing in action since Oct. 14. There is little information that can be added to the facts you already know. His Group encountered bad weather and John's ship has been unreported since it was seen to enter dense clouds at a point not far off the African coast, near the Cap Bon Peninsula.
There is a chance the plane made a landing either on land or sea and that the crew has been unable to communicate with us. You may be sure any news will be passed on to you at once as and when received.
John has played a splendid part in our fight against the Hun and his record should be a source of much pride to you. Very sincerely yours, J. H. Doolittle Major General, USA . Commanding