Brunson “Bunnie” Bolin was born on February 15, 1924 and was from Greenville, South Carolina.. He served as the Co-Pilot on B-17 “Lazy Baby” (42-308410) of the 364th Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group “Can Do” based out of Chelveston, (Station 105), England
On October 14, 1943, “Lazy Baby” was on a mission to bomb ball bearing factories in Schweinfurt, Germany (Mission 115) with another 320 bombers on a day now called “Black Thursday” due to the heavy losses. “Lazy Baby was severely damaged but Pilot Dienhart was able to avoid enemy fighters and crashed landed in Switzerland. Enroute to Switzerland Crewmembers Bolin and Blalock bailed out and became German POWs. Navigator Rowley died from the day after landing from wounds received while flying; Crew members Johnson and Smith recovered form wounds and joined the rest of the crew at the Adelboden internment camp in Switzerland. All crew members except for Rowley returned back to the US at the end of the war.
FROM FIND A GRAVE: Brunson W. "Bunny" Bolin, 87, husband of Hazel Stroud Bolin of Tyrone, Georgia, passed away on August 3, 2011 at his residence. Mr. Bolin was born in Greenville, South Carolina on February 15, 1924. Like so many of America's Greatest Generation, Mr. Bolin rarely spoke of his participation in World War II. He felt his war experiences were unremarkable and no more or less than many others in similar circumstances. His humility was a constant, but family and friends marveled at the hardships he endured and the courage he displayed. Mr. Bolin enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the age of eighteen and received his officer's commission and pilot's wings on May 23, 1943, at the Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Lubbock, TX. He was assigned to the 364th Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force, based in Chelveston, England. On October 14, 1943, he took off on his eighth and final mission, a daylight bombing raid over Schweinfurt, Germany, later referred to as "Black Thursday" due to the heavy losses sustained by the Allied forces. His B-17 "Flying Fortress", (the "Lazy Baby") was heavily damaged by German anti-aircraft artillery, ("flak"), and a direct hit to the bombardier's compartment from a Focke-Wulf fighter plane. The crew was ordered to bail out. While making his way to the escape hatch, his parachute D-ring snagged and his chute opened while still inside the plane. His only option was to gather the parachute canopy in his arms, jump from the plane and hope for the best. He landed roughly, but in one piece and was quickly captured by German forces. He was held as a prisoner-of-war at Stalag Luft III, made famous as the site of The Great Escape, conducted by British airmen. While there, he participated in many escape activities such as surreptitiously spreading dirt from tunnel excavations by walking around the camp and dropping the dirt from long cloth bags concealed beneath his long coat. During his captivity the Germans moved the location of the POW camp several times in response to the advancing Russian Army, including a forced march in brutal winter conditions. He was held captive as a POW for more than eighteen months before being liberated by Gen. George Patton's Third Army as they swept across Germany on their way to Berlin. For his air combat activities Mr. Bolin was awarded the Bronze Air Medal and a Purple Heart