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CRA476 -- Irwin Fann Papers



1.50 Linear Feet
March 2011


Dr. Richard Binggeli of Marina del Rey, California donated the Irwin Fann Collection to the Calumet Regional Archives on Jan. 4, 2010.

Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Linear feet of shelf space: ­1.5 linear feet.
Number of containers: 4 boxes.
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 476
Processed by: William Komanecki
Date: March 21, 2011

Scope and Content

The collection contains 145 hand written letters, postcards and Western Union telegrams along with 26 pictures of Irwin’s parents, his sister Bernice, extended family and friends.  A black booklet commemorates Irwin’s graduation from Air Force Flight Navigation School on Feb. 27, 1943 in Monroe, La. and includes an accompanying newspaper clipping from the Post-Tribune. The letters describe personal messages to his family, adjustment to military service, his Orthodox Jewish faith, training to become a flight navigator, and travels throughout the South, Arizona, and California.  The collection includes a genealogical chart of the Fann family dating back to father Harry immigration from the Ukraine.  The family is also listed in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. census living in Gary.

Historical Sketch

Irwin Fann (1920 -1943) was a graduate of Gary’s Froebel High School and a violinist with the school’s orchestra.   His studies for a law degree at the University of Chicago were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II.  He enlisted in the Army Air Force on Feb. 7, 1942, rising to rank of second lieutenant with the 68th Squadron.  Irwin was stationed in the U.S. for 19 months before being deployed to Norwich, England on Sept 4. 1943.   In his third mission, Irwin was part of a 10 man crew sent to destroy a German H-bomb plant when the plane went down over the North Sea in Oslo-Kjeller, Norway.   Irwin and the other crew members were declared killed in action and their remains were never recovered.   The mission was chronicled in the 1965 film “Heroes of Telemark” starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris.  After the war, the family moved to the Los Angeles area where father Harry died in 1952, followed by Irwin’s sister Bernice (age 40) in 1965, and mother Rebecca in 1977.

Please see the account below on how this collection was rescued from loss by some very talented people.


A Search
by Judy Crane

Early August, 2009. My husband, Elie, is turning the pages ofthe large, brown album that our neighbor, Richard Binggeli, has brought to show us. "It looks like a collection of letters from someone in the Army to his family," Elie comments.

"Yes," Richard says. "Irwin Fann was a Lieutenant. in the Army Air Force during World War II, and his parents apparently saved every letter he wrote. I knew you would be interested, Elie, because he ended up as a navigator on a B-24. Is that what you flew?"

"Yes, I was a pilot on the Navy version ofthe B-24. We did anti-submarine patrol and convoy coverage. How did you get this album? Did you know this Irwin?"

"No I did not, but the way I got the album is quite a funny story," Richard answers. "My father, after his retirement back in the '80s, used to cruise through alleys looking into trash bins. He found some amazing things -including a piggy bank full of coins, and even unopened wedding presents."

"Fascinating! You mean to tell us that he found it in a trash can?" I interrupt Richard -my eyes open wide in amazement. "Where was the trash can? Who would throw it away?" I'm full of questions.

"It could have been Culver City, West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills anywhere. I don't really know. I kept it for a while, then gave it to my son-in-law who wanted to make a film about World War II. He eventually returned it." Richard goes on, "These letters are really a documentation ofthe serviceman's training here in the US right up to when he is finally sent to England. I can't see just throwing it out."

Richard tells us that Irwin's plane went down on his first mission somewhere over Norway in the Fall of 1943. He was reported 'missing in action' and wasn't confirmed as 'killed in action' for two years. We are both sad to hear this.

Each envelope is addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Harry Fann, in Gary, Indiana, or just The Fann Family, and some are addressed to Bernice Fann. I wonder who that is. The first envelope is postmarked February 1942. I turn the pages. I carefully remove one of the letters. It starts, "My Dear Family." Irwin describes some training exercises. In the back ofthe album we see Western Union telegrams from the War Department as well as many condolence letters.

Perhaps there are family members still living in Gary. I suggest that I contact my friend Barbara Algaze who is a genealogist. She could help with a search on the Internet.

"Yes, if there are family members anywhere, they might be interested in seeing this album," Richard agrees. "However, I think it should eventually end up in some kind ofmuseum of World War II. I'd hate to think of it ending up in another trash bin."

Two days later I call Barbara and relate to her the tale of the trash-picking retired gentleman, his son Richard, and the album.

"Wow. That's quite a story. Have you done any searching on the Internet?" she asks.

"Yes, you'll be proud of me," I answer. I found out that Irwin Fann, was born in 1920; his father, Harry, was born in the Ukraine; his mother's name was Rebecca; and his sister's name was Bernice. The letters are all addressed to his parents, Harry and Rebecca Fann and his sister, Bernice, in Gary, Indiana."

"Hey, you're getting to be quite a genealogist," she laughs. "Now there is a lot more that you can get on the Internet from different sites. There is the Death Index for each State, and a site for servicemen of WWII and lots more. Would you like me to do a little searching for you?"
"I'd love it," I say. "I think it will be a fun project."

August 17. Barbara and I get together so I can show her the album and she can share what she has found out.

We open the first two letters, being careful not to tear the fragile pages. The envelope is stationery from the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad. Irwin Fann writes about being on the train but hasn't been told their destination. The postmark on the envelope is February 1942.
"I found out in reading a few of the letters that Irwin had a younger sister, Bernice," I say. "I wonder if she is still living."

We tum the pages carefully and see an occasional postcard. Then toward the end the letters stop, and there are several loose pages.

One is a familiar yellow page with large typewritten letters--a Western Union telegram. Even though I had already read the message with its tragic news, I feel my heart race.
"Does this say what I think ....?" Barbara whispers. We unfold the page. I hold my breath.
"The Secretary ofWar desires me to express his regret that your son Lieutenant Irwin Fann has been reported missing in action eighteen November 1943 ... " We stare at
each other. I see Barbara's tears through my own. I try to imagine how his mother felt on seeing the yellow envelope.

August 20. As I try to access information on the Internet, I receive an e-mail from Barbara, "Great news! I've found a first cousin, once removed, of Irwin Fann. Her name is Laura Medin. She and her husband, who is actually the relative of the Fann family, live in Minnesota. His mother, Laura's mother-in-law, is first cousin to Irwin. Laura became interested in the family's history a year ago, and had posted the family names on the Internet genealogy sites."

"Barbara, that's incredible," I say. "Did she have any information about Irwin's family?"

"'Not much, but she did say that the sister, Bernice, married and moved to California and had a son named Howard." We agree that Barbara will continue to search the genealogy sites, and I will start reading the letters one by one.

There are 145 letters and postcards. As I read them I note that Irwin writes of meeting "other Jewish guys," and occasionally going to Orthodox and well as Conservative services. He also has much brotherly advice for his sister, telling her "It's OK for you to visit in Tucson, but don't go to school there. You should look into a college at home."

I take out a letter postmarked May, 1943 from El Paso, Texas. "My Dear Family," it begins. Irwin tells of a two-day visit to L.A. where, as he writes, "most of the relatives just wanted to talk. Anita Bear and I were the only ones who wanted to go out," Irwin writes, "but we couldn't get a car." Who is Anita Bear, I wonder?

September 1. I receive a phone call from Barbara. "Paydirt!" she exclaims. "Laura e-mailed me the name of a Fann family member, Jeffrey, who is an attorney on Wilshire Blvd. here in Los Angeles. He referred me to his brother, Michael, who referred me to an aunt named Anita."

"I'll bet that's Anita Bear. Irwin wrote about visiting her family," I explain.

"Really? Well, guess where she livesT' Barbara continues. "Right here in California, in the San Fernando Valley.

I am astounded. She lives just 45 minutes away. I am also getting confused by all these names. I think I'll start making a family tree so I can see who is related to whom.

"There's more," Barbara says. I can hear the excitement in her voice. "The Bernice who moved to California and has a son named Howard is not Irwin's sister, Bernice, but a first cousin. She also lives in the Valley near Anita. Michael gave me his Aunt Anita's phone number and I spoke with her yesterday."

"You did? Oh, this is so exciting," I say. "Irwin mentions receiving letters from Bernice and Anita. Now we know who they are." I feel little chills on my arms as Barbara tells me ofher conversation with the 90-year old cousin and at the same time I am looking at the 66-year old album on the sofa next to my desk. We've made a connection.

"Anita was flabbergasted to hear about the album, and couldn't believe that two strangers have taken the trouble to track down family members," Barbara continues. "She told me that Irwin's sister, Bernice, did indeed move to California with her parents after the War and was married, had no children, and predeceased her parents," Barbara continues.

Barbara conveys this new information to Laura in Minnesota, who responds with more Fann family names. I forward Barbara's and Laura's e-mails to my neighbor, Richard, to keep him up-to-date with our research.

September 8. I am looking at newspaper clippings in the back ofthe album. "Look at this," I say to Elie. "This article describes the naming of the six-month old Jewish War Veterans Post after Lt. Irwin Fann who was killed in action. If that Post still exists, they might be interested in the album."

"Great idea," he says. "I'll see if there is a Post here in Los Angeles."

September 22. After numerous phone calls Elie has had no luck in finding a Gary, Indiana Jewish War Veterans Post.

Barbara and I e-mail almost daily, sharing little nuggets of information we have gleaned in our research. "It's like a treasure hunt," I tell her.

"Genealogy is said to be the most fun you can have sitting down," she laughs.

September 27. Barbara has arranged for us to meet Anita and Bernice at a restaurant in the Valley. We arrive early and eagerly look at each person as they enter the restaurant. In walks a tall slender lady with a silver bouffant hairdo, followed by a lady in a wheelchair being pushed by a young man and a gentleman using a cane. I am holding the album wrapped in a white bag.

"Barbara?" the tall lady immediately says and walks over to us. It's Anita. She introduces us to her cousin, Bernice, Bernice's husband, Phil, and their son, Howard, a man in his fifties. I can't believe this is really happening. We are shown to a table in the back room where we can spread out and show the album to Irwin's cousins.

"I told my brother about your surprising phone call, Barbara," says Anita. "He said, 'Don't let those people come to your home! You don't know what kind of a scam it might be! '" She laughs.

We spend the next two hours exchanging information, filling in gaps. Bernice and Anita explain that Irwin Fann's parents, Harry and Rebecca, and his sister, Bernice, moved to Los Angeles after the War. That explains how the album got from Gary, Indiana to Los Angeles, California. They lived in an apartment building which they purchased on Mariposa Avenue.

We learn that Harry was seriously ill and Bernice was married in his hospital room. He died in 1952. Bernice died in 1965 at the age of40.

"She died so young," I remark.
"Bernice was always somewhat frail," Bernice says. "After Irwin was missing in action, she kept contacting the War Department asking what they were doing to find Irwin's plane. She never really accepted the loss."

"I remember that she had this fantasy about Irwin," Anita adds. "She was convinced that he was still alive, that he had amnesia and was wandering around London."

"How sad," Barbara says. "So his mother, Rebecca was left alone."

Anita and Bernice explain that toward the end of Rebecca's life she was in a nursing home. They were the only relatives and did visit her often, but they never saw the album among Rebecca's possessions.

"Apparently, Irwin's plane went down in the sea somewhere offthe coast of Norway," I say, reading from a newspaper clipping toward the back of the album.

'''That's what the family was told," Bernice replies. "The squadron was on a mission to bomb a plant in Norway where the Germans were working on producing 'heavy water.' They were trying to develop an atomic bomb."

Barbara writes furiously to make corrections in the family tree she is compiling. The cousins are fascinated with the collection of letters, and help identify some of the people in the few photographs in the back of the album. I explain that Richard, the current owner ofthe album, feels strongly that it should be in some kind of museum perhaps of World War II history. I also point out that the album itself and the contents are deteriorating and would not survive being shipped back and forth among various cousins with constant opening and closing.
Barbara and I offer to make copies of all the letters so they all could enjoy sharing them with their families. They agree with that idea.

"Please, let's get together again," Anita says as we gather up our purses and I wrap the album in its white bag. "Yes," Barbara and I agree as we exchange hugs with the cousins. I feel as though I've known these people for years.

September 28. The next day I take the article about the naming of the Jewish War Veterans Post out of the album to read again. Maybe there is a piece of information that I missed. It has been torn rather than cut out of the paper. I turn it over and see part of the name of the newspaper Gary Post Tribune -and the date -September 25, 1946. That's it! I'll contact the newspaper and see if anyone can help me find the Gary Jewish War Veterans Post. I find the Post Tribune's website which lists the various departments of the paper. I scroll down to the Metro Section where I see the name, Jerry Davich. I send off an e-mail describing the album and my search for the Jewish War Veterans Post. I get an answer from him saying that he is forwarding my message to two historians who might be interested in the album.

September 29. An e-mail arrives from Steve McShane. "Who could this be?" I wonder. It is addressed to Jerry Davich (of the Post Tribune), and to Barbara and me.

It starts out: "1 would like to thank you all for bringing these historical materials to our attention. They sound like very significant items indeed. Most importantly, thank you for saving them! By way of introduction, I am Steve McShane, the archivist and curator o fthe Calumet Regional Archives here at Indiana University Northwest." Reading on, I see that he asks that we consider donating the album to the Calumet Archives.

October 1. Barbara e-mails me that she has found another possible location for the album -the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. A friend of hers is in communication with one of the Board members, Trent Pendley, who expressed an interest in having the album in their collection. Wow! We have gone in just six weeks from knowing nothing about the writer of the letters, his family or their whereabouts to locating three first cousins, and actually meeting two of them in person. And now two historical institutions want the album!

I forward the e-mails to Richard who is out of the country at present. When he returns, Barbara, Elie and I will sit down with him, and relate to him in greater detail the saga of the album and Lt. Irwin Fann. It will be his decision as to where the album will be donated.
Meanwhile, Barbara and I will get together at a copy center and carefully remove the fragile letters from the envelopes, make copies and return them to the album.

For now, it sits on the sofa next to my desk. From time to time, I continue my task o freading each letter. 1 handle them carefully and lovingly, and sometimes tearfully, as 1 think of Irwin's parents saving every letter their only son wrote to "My Dear Family."

Home In Indiana

November 6. "This is fantastic," Richard says as he looks at the three-page family tree that I have drawn with information gathered by my genealogist friend, Barbara, and given to us by Laura Medin and Irwin Fann's cousins, Anita and Bernice. Richard has returned from his overseas trip and is meeting with Barbara, my husband, Elie, and me. We are seated at a large table and have so much to share with Richard.

"Here are communications from the two historians who are interested in having this album for their collections," I say. "Of course, as the owner of the album, it will be your decision about the final home for this important piece of history."

We tell Richard the information that Anita and Bernice had been given about Irwin Fann's first and only mission as a Navigator on a B-24 -the plane was to bomb a plant in Norway that the Germans were using to produce 'heavy water.'

"Oh yes," he exclaims, "I've heard about that plant. They were making deuterium oxide, which could be used to produce nuclear weapons."

"I was telling two of my friends about the mission and the 'heavy water' plant," I say, "and they both said they had seen the site on a trip to Norway. They were told that the Norwegians had an active underground and sabotaged many of the Germans' operations. "

"There was a special about that on TV, as I recall," says Richard. "And a movie was made about the efforts against the 'heavy water' plant. It was "The Heroes of Telemark."

We leave Richard with the album and the choices he has of two historical institutions who are interested in having it for their archives.

Barbara and I apparently had the same thoughts -get back on the Internet to research the 'heavy water' plant and the mission that Irwin Fann's crew were given.

November 7. This is a whole new direction in our search for the album's roots, I think, as I scroll down on a site of the 44th Bomber Group. Laura had forwarded a list of the crew of Irwin Fann's plane that she found on the site. I finally find the 67th Squadron and a three-page description of that fateful day.

In the early dawn of18 November, eight aircraft winged their way over the dreaded, cold waters of the North Sea, topped off with maximum gas loads, swinging the ships to the North away from Germany, roared in uncontested to attack the unscathed airdrome at Oslo-Kjeller, Norway. Leaving behind them billowing smoke and flames, the craft swing out once again over the North Sea and with rapidly diminishing fuel supplies were gently nursed over the long, grueling course back to the British Isles. Was their mission to attack the airdrome, I wonder, or the top-secret heavy water plant?

Suddenly, from out of the sun, screamed a horde of enemy twin-engine fighters bent on retaliation. There follows a description of a vicious battle in which the German fighters inflict great damage to the bombers, with a loss of five American planes. Further down the page are lists of names of the crew of the three aircraft of the 67th Squadron declared missing in action -their planes and crew were never found. I close my eyes and try to imagine what it was like, but I only feel the icy cold of the North Sea.

November 18, 1943 -November 18, 2009. As this story comes to a close I realize it was 66 years ago today that Lt. Irwin Fann's plane was lost after a successful mission against German installations in Norway.

The album is on the way back to its original home in Indiana where Richard, Barbara and I hope that Lt. Irwin Fann's letters written to "My Dear Family" will be appreciated and preserved for future generations.

Judy Crane November 2009



Box File Description
1 1-13 Correspondence, Irwin Fann, (1942-1943)
2 1-12 Correspondence, Irwin Fann, (1942-1943)
3 1-3 Photographs and Correspondence, Irwin Fann, (1942-1943)

Various Scrapbook Pages, (1942-1944)



                 Correspondence, Irwin Fann (1937-1943) Highlights


                          Academic Records Inquiry 1937

July 2-- record request to Gary Public School System

                           Personal Letters 1942

 Feb. 4-- Irwin boards train from Chicago’s Dearborn Street station to report for military assignment at Maxwell Field Replacement Center in Montgomery Ala.  

March 14-- moves into barracks

March 15-- classification test for navigation bombardier

March 17--- writes father “not like the last war (World War I), nice and clean”

March 19-- claims boys (soldiers) angry about whole (military) setup; takes physical exam

 March 21-- flight training begins

March 30-- receives typhoid, tetanus, and small pox vaccinations

April 3-- starts classes on math, code, maps and charts; issued 1916 Winchester rifle

April 6-- cadet officer class

April 9-- describes fellow officers

April 15 -- hits 36 out of 50 targets on shooting range

April 21-- military intelligence class

April 22-- assigned to Squadron K, Group G

May 6--  discusses Gary primary election results;  explains military rank, wants to be a  sergeant;  comments on Bernice ‘s spelling and grammar

May 13-- flies up to 28,000 feet

May 24-- visits Ocala, Fla.

June 6-- Bernice may join WACS

June 10-- Jewish fellows wash out

June 12-- congratulates Bernice on graduation; submits Defense Saving Bond application for $25

June 26 --eliminated from pilot training, flight instructor upset with him

June 27-- washes out of flight school

July 19-- takes classification exams

July 24-- visits Nashville, Tenn.

July 28 --reports 50 % of class washes out

Aug 24-- take trip with soldier to Greenville, Miss and Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Western Union telegram on parents wedding anniversary

Sept 7-- attends Reform Jewish services, doesn’t like Rabbi

Sept 15-- reports $15 million spent by Air Force on navigation school; picture appears in a Chicago newspaper

Sept 14-- father visits doctor for undisclosed illness; reference to Gary steel mills on 7th Avenue; starts meteorology class

Sept 22-- flies to Tyler Texas and Hot Spring, Ark

Oct 6 -- Jewish New Year; $77,000 worth of war bonds sold; refers to nation’s coal shortage

Oct 7 -- Bernice lands job doing shift work; celebrates mother’s birthday

Oct 31 -- sends parents $50 for anniversary; receives newspaper from Binai B’rith

Nov 17-- scheduled to go to Texas on flight

Nov 27-- begins pilot training

Dec 5--calibrates flight speed meter

Dec 6-- receives navigation training in Selma, Alabama

Dec 21-- studies celestial navigation; going to Barksdale Field in Shreveport, La

Dec 24-- references fellow Gary resident Doug Greenwood; flies to Galveston, Texas


Jan. 1-- asks if father retained his job as “city sealer”

Jan 2--   receives highest score in class

Jan 6--   enjoys school work but does not like flying

Jan 15-- issued flight clothes and equipment

Jan 22-- writes to Post-Tribune publisher H.B. Snyder about father’s job; ranks third in his class

Feb. 3 -- participates in gas mask drills

Feb. 8-- flies to Chanute Air Field in Champaign, Ill.

Feb. 13-- flies B-19 to Hondo, Texas and Oklahoma City; references Kennedy boy; listens to President Roosevelt on radio

Feb. 18-- has difficulty identifying navigation landmarks

Feb. 20-- takes final exam; measured for oxygen mask; unhappy to become navigation bombardier

Feb. 22-- does not understand why his father cannot work as weight inspector; declares “hell with the Republican Party”; writes to manpower commission; complains that his unit lacks money and manpower;

Feb. 24-- invites family to graduation exercises at Army Air Force Navigation School in Monroe, La. on Feb. 27

Feb 27-- awarded commission as second lieutenant

March 3-- flies B-24 to Fort Worth and El Paso Texas; crosses border into Juarez, Mexico, assigned to 39th bomb group of 61st Squadron

March 13-- travels to Tucson, Ariz.

March 22 -- flies high altitude mission at midnight, complains that his plane is not in good working condition

March 27-- writes “Hitler wants 4 million Jews killed by Christmas… have to put an end to him”

April 5-- hospitalized for hand injury

April 11-- Irwin undergoes surgery; references 250 Gary soldiers in Presidio, California

April 25-- sees bullfight in Juarez, Mexico

May 3-- visits Aunt Bea in Los Angeles

May 4-- says family not truthful about their financial situation; “not worth it to argue about petty things, life is short”, “soldiers need to cheer up civilians”

May 9-- celebrates birthday

May 26-- complains that 18 months of training is a waste of time and money; references Gary soldier at Fort Bliss, concerned about mother’s illness

June 1-- contacts Red Cross Gary Chapter to find out about mom’s illness

Aug. 5-- crew flies eight hours to Topeka, Kansas

Sept. 3-- studies meteorology at Air Force pre-flight school; move into new barracks; attends Jewish Orthodox services, dislikes Rabbi; Gary profiled in movie newsreels

Sept. 10-- flies over Chicago, sees steel mills

Sept. 22-- War Department telegram: Irwin deployed to Norwich, England; London experiences blackout; expects Axis to surrender by next fall; sees bombed homes and churches

Sept. 28-- describes Battle of Britain; stationed 20 miles northeast of London; sister Bernice enrolled at Gary Business College, she plans to attend IU- Bloomington when war ends; refers to food shortage in London

Sept. 30-- sent to Iceland, describes people as anti-American

Oct. 5-- visits London Red Cross; says Jews live in east London; enjoys tea time tradition; adjusts to British monetary system; given a 48 hour pass every two weeks

Oct.9-- reunites with soldiers from Nashville, Tenn. unit

Oct. 10-- assigned to 392nd squadron; visits London pub; sees underground air raid shelter

Oct. 12-- attends services at London Synagogue

Oct. 16-- first flight overseas; tells parents not to worry about him, says “soldiers have something to fight for”

Oct. 20-- complains that food is horrible, eating spam, says “American soldiers liven up England”

Oct. 26-- warns of “all hell breaking lose” by next month, Air Force short of navigators, can be called up anytime;  “boys coming back from Africa”

Oct. 30-- Bernice quits job in Chicago, Irwin urges her to save money while attending college; refers to letters being censored

Nov. 2-- sending family his Air Force sleeve insignia; complains his teeth are hurting

Nov. 14-- Irwin wants family to send food and candy; Bernice working at Milgrims Department Store

Nov. 16-- Irwin’s last letter; meets soldiers from University of Chicago; advises Bernice not to go to school in Arizona

Nov. 18--   Irwin declared MIA over North Sea

                                     Military Correspondence

Nov. 29, 1943-- Western Union Telegram: declared MIA by Secretary of War

Dec. 2 -- J.A. Ulio, Major Adjutant General update

Dec. 14 -- Abe Hyman, Field Artillery Replacement Training Center

Jan. 1944 -- E.A. Cunningham, Army Service Forces Kansas City Quartermaster Depot, letter of personal affects

Jan. 1-- J.A. Ulio, Irwin’s status unknown

Jan. 3 -- Dependency Allotment Section

Jan. 15 --Office of Quartermaster General R.P. Herbold, Colonel QMC Assistant

Feb. 8 -- Major Air Corps William R Cameron: American Red Cross working to determine crew’s whereabouts

Feb. 24 -- Colonel Air Adjutant General T.A. Fitzpatrick:  plane last seen on noon Nov. 15, 1943

March 2 --Major General J.A. Ulio reports no change in status

May 3 -- Colonel Fitzpatrick unable to identify aircraft

June 3-- Brigadier General Robert H. Dunlop update

July 13-- Major General Ulio letter to Congressman Madden

Dec. 2 -- Major General Ulio refers to Public Law 490: missing person’s

Jan. 5, 1945-- Administrative Assistant A.F. Timms, Kansas City Quartermaster: describes Irwin’s personal affects: ID card and certificate of appointment

March 6-- Major General Ulio updates missing status; pay and allowance continued

June 26-- Major General Ulio update

Aug. 20-- War Department status changed from MIA to KIA

Aug. 20-- Major General Edward Witsell: Public Law 490 review and determination of missing status

Sept. 5-- Lt. General Ira C. Eaker update

Sept. 6-- Irwin Fann awarded Purple Heart posthumously

Oct. 2 -- H. L. McCoy, Director of Insurance of Veteran’s Administration, Rebecca Fann named  beneficiary of $10,000 (monthly $51.40) from National Service Life Insurance

Oct. 14-- F.A. Eckhardt, Captain QMC Assistant: check deposit of $116 from Gary National Bank

March 15, 1948--  Major General Edward Witsell: establishes time of death; speculates crew may have tried to reach neutral Sweden if plane was disabled; determined crew could not survive icy North Sea; no trace of crew has been found

                                     Letters of Sympathy and Support

Jan. 21, 1944 American Legion:  H.R. Hall, state officer

Jan. 25, 1944 National Jewish Welfare Board: Arthur Weyne

July 18, 1944 Congressman Ray J. Madden

Sept. 13, 1945 Gary Senior Hadash

Sept.14, 1945 B’nai B’rith, Lake Lodge No. 83

Sept. 22, 1945 American Legion Gary District Commander Harold Morris and Mor Oppman

Sept 25. 1945 Gary attorney Samuel M. Terner 

Sept. 25 1945   Jewish War Veterans Post, Gary B’nai B’rith

Oct. 1945    Gary Senior Hadash: Lorraine G. Rosen and Mrs. Joe Geller

                                         Sympathy Cards

  • Aaron Alvin
  • Adiele Bohling Lee
  • Arnold J. Pozzo
  • Ari Favors
  • Betty Pressman, telegram from Topeka, Kansas (Dec. 2, 1943)
  • B’nai B’rith. A. Martin Katz, secretary
  • Gary Chapter of American War Mothers
  • Grace Louise Abraham
  • Henry Tropp
  • Jewish Ladies Benevolent Society, Mrs. David  Levy
  • Lake Lodge No. 831
  • Mrs. G. C. McCallister
  • Mrs. Gladys Pemberton
  • Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Abraham
  • Mrs. H. E. Whitaker (Dec 2, 1943)
  • Nelle Wimner of  Froebel High School
  • Richard S. Kaplan
  • Ruth Weiss Saltzman
  • Temple Beth El telegram from Mrs. Kravitz
  • Women’s Relief Corps President Marie Walters and Elvira Webb

                              Gary Post-Tribune Newspaper clippings

Feb. 27, 1943 story on Irwin Fann’s training at Air Force Navigation School’s Selma Field in Monroe, La.

                              Subject Tracings found in the Correspondence


  • Comedian Jack Benny (March 15, June 23)
  • Singer Eddie Cantor (March 23)
  • Comedian Bob Hope (March 13)
  • Singer Bing Crosby (March 18)
  • Comedian Jerry Colonna (March 18)
  • Gary steel mills (Sept. 14)
  • Gary Mayor Ernest Schiable (Oct. 7)


  • Post –Tribune Publisher H.B. Snyder (Jan. 22)
  • U.S. President Roosevelt (Feb 13)
  • Comedian Red Skelton (March 4)
  • Life Magazine (March 22)
  • German Chancellor Adolf Hitler (March 27)
  • Actress Ann Southern (July 11)
  • Buckingham Palace (Sept 22)
  • British Parliament (Sept 22)
  • Westminster Abby (Sept 22)
  • No. 10 Downey St. (Sept 22)
  • Piccadilly Circus (Sept 22)
  • Trafalgar Square (Sept 22)
  • London Symphony (Oct .23)
  • Stage Play of Arsenic and Old Lace (Oct. 26)
  • London Royal Theater (Oct. 26)
  • Musician Artie Shaw (Oct. 26)
  • Musician Glenn Miller (Oct. 26)




Subject Tracings

  • Gary (Ind)
  • World War II