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World War II: 1939 ~ 1945
United States of America (All Branches)
Named Lots & Groupings

Selling Price: $985 - Postage in the U.S.A. is: $18
First, this is a very rare unit to have been in. I will cover a bit of the history after I describe the items. First, I do not have the Purple Heart. I was never offered that item. Here we go:

Probably the most heart rendering is always the documentation. Here we begin with the awards document. It is 14.75 inches by 12.25 inches wide, it is signed in facsimile by the President and is embossed with the National Seal. In this case, the signature is Franklin D. Roosevelt. It describes the death of one, "Don Manley Lyons, Jr." who was reported killed at, "Plymouth, England." Further he was listed as being, "Attached Bombing Squadron 110" and finally, killed upon, "23 December 1943".

This is particularly interesting, because the Squadron he was attached to, lists in it's Mission Logs the following: "28 Dec 1943: While returning to base on 28 December after looking for targets, Lieutenant Commander Reedy encountered four He-177 aircraft. In the resultant melee, Reedy's crew managed to damage one of the enemy, sending it back towards France trailing smoke from a fire in its starboard engine. On the same mission, Lieutenant Parrish and his crew were killed when their aircraft crashed into high ground near Okehampton, Devon." It is evident that Don Manley Lyons, Jr. was part of the crew. He was not the pilot, so was either a Navigator or Bomber. The document is numbered on the rear bottom edge as "18943", the same number as upon the mailing/shipping tube as addressed to the wife:

The next item is the mailing tube, addressed to the poor man's wife. Records on the web show the following: "LYONS, Don Manley, Jr., Ensign, USNR. Wife, Mrs. Barbara Obits Lyons, 125 Fair St., SE Grand Rapids." No idea on the discrepancy in address, but people move after being married. She could even have gone with the parents after the death of her man. The tube is of course addressed to the same woman, at Box 354 in Rockford. It has both end caps and is not crushed or damaged in any way, but is pristine and in Navy Gray color. The return Address is for the Department of the Navy in D.C.

The flag is of standard burial type, with the eyehooks on the leading edge sides. It is Government marked as, P.Q.B. 5' X 9"6" and is time capsule mint. These flags were typically kept in some safe place out of respect. This one is in such condition. Embroidered stripes and stars, it is hefty and well made. A fitting tribute.

Next is a Naval Office's Sword belt in leather, mint with the Officer's Gold Eagle buckle and all gilt accoutrement hardware. It is only size marked "33" inside, nothing more.

The bullion Officer navy flight wings are 3.25 across from felt base edge to felt base edge, although the wings themselves are 2.6 inches across the bullion part. They are pretty fine and intricate construction.

Along with the wings was a nice, double screw back Officers Cap Eagle and Anchor set, two piece as the Eagle and Anchors separate via the lower screw assembly. The top screw is tight, but the post threads are not stripped in any way, probably just age. I leave them as is. This is a fancy set of insignia, wire braided rope and gold plated anchors.

As to the unit, what a rare legacy, and deadly. This squadron lost nearly all it's original contingency of flight personnel before the war ended, as they were established as Bombing Squadron (VB-110) on 18 July 1943. This is the period when Don was killed, as the unit was re-designated Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB-110) on 1 October 1944, after his death. It was disbanded on 1 September 1945. They flew the PB4Y-1 Liberator under the operational control of FAW-5. VB-110 arrived and set up at RAF St. Eval, Cornwall, England, with only 12 aircraft on 15 October 1943.

The Squadron's first mission over the Bay of Biscay was on 20 October 1943. They then were stationed at RAF Dunkeswell, Devon, England, on October the 30th of 1943. Don would die flying out of this base less than 2 months later. Here, VB-110 flew with three other squadrons as part of Patrol Air Group One. In November, VB-110 strafed U-966, commanded by Oberleutenant Eckehard Wolf commanding, until beaten back by AA fire that damaged their aircraft. By war's end, VB-110 had lost the majority of its original flight crews and aircraft. These were, of course, replaced - but the toll of this type of patrolling was perilous.

Don was born on on 21 Sep 1921, as Don Manley II, LYONS. His parents were Don Manley LYONS (born on 22 Aug 1893. He died on 7 Sep 1967 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He married Hilda on 27 Sep 1920) & Hilda BUESING (born on 28 Feb 1902. She died on 17 Aug 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah). I'm sure young Don's death crushed them deeply.

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