Locating My Father’s Pilot!

(Posted: December 23, 2011)

It was in October, 2006, that I did what I had been doing every day since the date that my Father passed away, May 4, 2004.  I was entering different combinations of information and facts that I had obtained from my Father’s war records into the computer.  I remember that it was a Friday evening and it was quite late.  My husband and I  had been out to dinner and as always, before the days ended, I made the effort to try to locate a crew member or a room mate of my Father’s, someone who could share their memories of Dad during his wartime years by searching on the internet. 

I had the amazing good fortune of finding a guest book entry on the ‘merkki’ web site.  This web site has a wealth of information on Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany, the last camp that my Father was interned in.  And this web site was one of the first places that I located early on in my research.  I, had signed the guest book shortly after Dad died entering  facts that I had gathered.  Ironically, Laurel Youde, Lawrence Cook’s daughter, wrote the following message about her Dad . . . . . . . . .

“Name:  Laurel Youde (Lawrence Cook)
Sent: 10.42 – 12/26 2000
My father is Lawrence H. Cook a B-17 pilot, 92nd Bomb Group, 407 Air Force. He was shot down Feb 4, 1944, hidden by the underground in Belgium, and later captured. He spent 14 months in Stalag 1 North Compound. Does anyone remember him? He lives in California and is well.”

I could hardly believe my eyes absorbing intently the words that I was reading.  Laurel signed this guest book with the information that matched my Father’s pilot perfectly.  It had to be him!  I was  sure of it!  What a find!  It was too late to do anything about it at the moment but I knew the next morning that I would try to contact “our” pilot’s daughter.  Needless to say, I spent a sleepless night because I was so excited.  There was about 6 years difference between the time that Laurel had visited the “merkki” web site and my discovery of her entry and I hoped beyond all hope that I could find her and ultimately her Dad.

7 responses to “Locating My Father’s Pilot!”

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