Home at Last


Bertha Alice (Ratcliffe) Bence and her son Staff Sergeant Raymond Everett Bence Jr.

In World War II Raymond served in the 445th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force as a nose-gunner in a B-24 Liberator. He was shot down over Germany on September 27, 1944 during the infamous “Kassel Mission”. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner-of-war, first in Stalag Luft IV and then on “The Black March”.

This photograph accompanied an article in the Quincy Patriot Ledger on Raymond’s first visit home to Braintree, Massachusetts. At the time of his liberation in May of 1945 he weighed less than 100 pounds. A few months later he still appears to be very gaunt.

Mariner’s Museum – Norfolk, Virginia


This morning was market day. After a prolonged perusal of wares at Williamsburg, I took a trip to the Knitting Sisters and acquired a (ahem) modicum of fiber.

In the afternoon I drove to the Mariner’s Museum which houses the remains of the Civil War battleship USS Monitor. If your remember your Civil War history, this was the ironclad ship dubbed cheesebox on a raft.

Turret Replica
Replica of the Monitor’s gun turret. The original is on site in a massive desalinization tank.

Carved Figurehead
Carved Figurehead