M.586 First Officer  Edwin Allan 'Eddie' Grundstrom 

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 b. 2 Nov 1915, Springfield, MA  5 Jun 1941 to 7 Oct 1942 

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His father, Maurice, who was a toolmaker, was a Swedish naturalised American.

Ed. Springfield Trade School

prev. a draftsman, commercial artist and aerial photographer for United American Bosch, Inc.

"Flying privately since 1936. Been in aviation since 1929. Experienced in flying for photography and survey work." Learnt to fly at Alsop Flying Service, Springfield. Approx 780 hrs total.

Address in 1941: 81 Savoy Ave, Springfield MA (parents)

Postings: 6FPP, 8FPP

He did well; "a capable pilot who has worked hard", but he was suspended and fined 2 days pay ($14) in Dec-41 as he "brought a Priority One machine into Ratcliffe when it was well out of his correct course and he had no excuse for doing so."

His original contract expired on the 10 Jun 1942, and he sailed to the US the next day with fellow US pilots Marshall Milton, William Byrd Lee Milton, Manley Fairbrother, Alexander Wilson, Eddie Ballard, and Harry Kindberg.

However, the following month he applied for, and received, another contract, which ran from the 28 Aug 1942.

d. 7 Dec 1942: on the 6 Dec at 6:30pm he fell from the staircase of the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast from the fourth floor to the ground floor.

Former Grand Central Hotel Belfast geograph.org.uk 628907

"He carried out the boyish prank of sliding down the banisters and I regret that on this occasion he overbalanced and fell down the well of the staircase." [In case you're wondering, Edwin was considered to be a man of very temperate habits - a non-smoker and "practically a non-drinker".]

He was taken to the 5th General US Hospital, Musgrave Park, Belfast, apparently suffering from concussion. By 6pm the following evening (7 Oct) a medical bulletin stated that he was expected to be absent from duty for "three or four weeks"; however, he died later that evening from intracerebral hemorrhage.

His friend Marshall Miton officiated at the funeral on the 12th October. Edwin was initially buried in the American Section of the Belfast City Cemetery, but later re-interred in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial.

ata edwin grundstrom grave

Which just left the issue of whether the £2,000 insurance would be paid. Apparently, Edwin had always made a practice of sliding down the banisters and had been repeatedly warned of this; one or two of his fellow pilots "ridiculed the whole question of the claim being submitted."

Things dragged on until December, when the underwriters decided they would give him the benefit of the doubt and pay the compensation. There was a clause in the agreement which excluded death of the Insured "deliberately caused by exposing himself to exceptional danger", but they reckoned that there was not enough evidence for this.

In a final sad footnote, a letter arrived from his friend Arthur (Lee) Bacon after Edwin's death. It reads:

"Hello Eddie (old boy)

Well bud I sure was glad to hear from you. As far as being slow on letters I guess we're both about the same.

You asked me to tell you the news (well there isn't any) so there. I'll just tell you anything, all right? Your brother Harry was home on leave from the Navy for a couple of weeks and does he look good (well fed). He said he likes it alot. Oh yes Harry Herman and some of the boys staged a daylight air raid with flour bags (Sept 20th about 2pm). More fun, I guess that is the most excitement in days, weeks. Al and the rest of the fellows are going to take their test sometime this mo.

You asked me to give you my views of Frances well ... I shouldn't even try, because you know all the luck I have with my girl-friends don't you. Don't you?

I will say this tho, if Frances likes you (just for you) and not for the money you have etc etc --, she would make one beautiful wife. (oboy oboy). In fact I think I'll be your ice man, milkman or something so I can call on her when you're not around.

As I told you before tho, nobody can make up your mind for you, if you like her and you want her, the only thing I would tell you to do is go get her.

By the way I'm sure glad to hear that you're flying the big ones now. The only thing that makes me mad is that I'm not there so I can fly with you.

Also can you give Ed B my congrats (I heard he was married). (poor boy).

This letter has taken me an hour to write so I'll stop now.

Boy do I wish you were home. The old town's quite dead without you so hurry back.

Love and kisses, Arthur

p.s. Emma and I aren't doing to bad, we still have our ups and downs just like anybody else you know up and down (oboy)"

 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):

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