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    [Enola Gay]. George R. Caron Archive of Seven Letters and One Signed Photograph. Technical Sergeant George Robert "Bob" Caron (1919-1955) was the tail gunner for the Enola Gay when they made their historic flight over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Caron, known as Bob, was the only photographer on the plane that day and snapped several well-known photos of the bombing.

    This collection of letters and one signed photograph, spanning the dates September 1978 through November 1980, were all sent to a man simply known as "Bill." Caron was living in Denver at the time and was very active in the Confederate Air Force, now known as the Commemorative Air Force, and each of his letters (with the exception of one) is signed twice; once as "Bob" and again using his full name and, occasionally, his CAF rank of colonel. Of the rank he states, "We're all Colonels in the CAF. The only Air Force in the world where Colonels pull thru props & wipe cowlings [letter dated October 6, 1979]."

    Throughout his letters he discusses the restoration of several World War II-era planes including a Beech D-18 Executive being restored to a C-45 transport plane, which encountered a problem in late 1980: "Our C-45 was all done and having a gear retraction test when she came off the jacks. Did a lot of sheet metal damage to wing & tail . . . Back to the old drawing board"; several P-51 Mustang fighter planes, including a P-51D, "it's supposed to be the best restoration in the U.S It looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor"; a German Junkers JU-52 transport plane; and a Fairchild PT-23 trainer aircraft. He also mentions the pride of the CAF, a restored Boeing B-29 Superfortress (similar to the Enola Gay), named Fifi. On November 4, 1978, he wrote to Bill regarding a trip to the headquarters of the CAF, in part: "I made my first pilgrimage to CAF [Confederate Air Force] HQ down in Harlingen, Texas. . . . The highlight was a flight . . . on Fifi. We had a photo mission for a Japanese documentary film crew. What a thrill that flight was after 33 yrs. We made touch and go's and made high & low speed passes . . . I also presented my model of the Enola Gay to them for display in the museum alongside a . . . bombsight donated by Tennessee Ernie Ford."

    The following year, Caron spoke to a fellow crew member of the Enola Gay, its co-pilot, Robert A. Lewis (1917-1983), who was angry over a recent article regarding their old plane: "September 21, 1979 . . . Bob Lewis called me yesterday and was really teed off about that particular story . . . He had just returned from vacation & visited the Enola Gay. He said it's true that it's in storage and dismantled but not a junk pile. . . . It will probably never be put on display as the 'bleeding hearts' think it's not a good item of memorabilia." After sitting in storage at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the plane was finally reassembled and is currently (as of this writing) on display at the Smithsonian Institute's annex at Washington's Dulles International Airport.

    Also included is a 5" x 3.5" color photo of Caron, signed and dated November 1979 (the photograph) on the verso. Caron, now an elderly man, is seated in a lawn chair wearing a black cap with "B-29" embroidered on it. On the verso he writes: "Had just gotten back from a visit to the Arizona Wing B-17. they have the bell turret working and are now installing the chin turret. 6-17-80."

    Condition: All but one of the letters and the photograph has mounting remnants on the verso. All of the letters are toned in varying degrees and one of the letters has staple holes in the upper left corner.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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