M.234 *  First Officer Martin Joseph 'Marty' Wetzel 

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 b. 1913, New York, NY  c. 26 Sep 1940 to 14 Aug 1941 

 ata martin wetzel 1940 1940  ata martin wetzel  ata martin wetzel feb 41 Feb 1941  

 

both parents German

Moved to Jamesburg, NJ at age 5

prev. a bricklayer, prize fighter (professional welterweight then light-heavyweight, apparently), cabaret dancer, organiser of a dance orchestra, and political work (Member of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee)

He also owned a night club (The Paddock) and was the owner and founder of Jamesburg Airport.

He had been flying for about 6 years, and owned a "5-passenger Fleet biplane." 

m. (separated)

Address in 1940: Monroe, NJ


Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, Howard Mussey, Edward Vencill, William Cummings and Constant Wilson.

 He and Franklyn Mershon were recruited together by Erroll Boyd. "He checked everything in a big file. My German name probably made him suspicious."

Once in the ATA, he said his only worry was "the Brooklyn Dodger baseball team."

 "On her last fatal flight Amy Johnson and Wetzel were on the same 'run'. Martin wrote that he was forced down because of the weather but Amy Johnson went on to her death.

Wetzel has been through several air raids but still is unable to sleep through one undisturbed. That is not the case with Franklyn Mershon of Robinsville, who went abroad with Wetzel. "Mershon doesn't wake up even in the worst of it. One night the explosions shook me out of bed so often I decided to stay up. I went to Mershon's room but he was still snoring away as if nothing was happening." Central New Jersey Home News

Seconded to AtFero, Apr 1941


B 24 Liberator RAF Bomber

d. 14 Aug 1941 - one of four ATA pilots, travelling as passengers, among the 22 killed in the crash of Liberator AM260 when taking off from Ayr.

The others were Philip Lee (M.228), Buster Trimble and Elbert Anding.

 The cause of the crash was that "the pilot in command [Cpt Richard Charles Stafford of BOAC] started the take off procedure from runway 06 which was not suitable for the takeoff as it was too short for such aircraft."

buried Cambridge American Cemetery

ata martin wetzel grave

 

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