During the Iowa State Fair of 1943 the War Department had on tour some “spoils of war” from the axis. This exhibit included a large German tank, weapons of all sorts, and, to me, the most interesting item, the fuselage, wings, and tail assemblage of a German Luffwaffe BF109 complete with the Iron Cross marking. There was a wooden set of steps placed over the wing and one could view the interior of the cockpit and look at the shell holes in the fuselage and wings. The line was long and slow moving to take a look. Almost ironically, there was a sign that was quite clear- “Do not touch the displays”.
This display, although set up with the best intentions to inspire the homefront, did instill a sense of forlorn in some of the adults (Parents, siblings and spouses) that viewed it because, in the back corners of their minds, they wondered if the enemy was doing very much the same thing with shot down American planes and busted up equipment and were thus reveling in the misery and misfortune of some of the American fighting men-- our sons and brothers. But I, as a youth, really appreciated it. It was one thing to see pictures in the newspapers and magazines of this type of thing, but here it was "in spades", the shrapnel holes, the damage, the bent metal -the result of our contribution of scrap metal and our tolerating shortages so the fighting man at the front could use those things and this display made one feel that our GIs were using “those things” quite well!
Many Milford Twp youth saw this display and it helped instill and renew a patriotic fever in us to join in the scrap and paper drives and to buy war stamps and bonds. It was a common topic of conversation at school and many of the young lads wished they had been old enough to go and join the service; although, as could be expected, the parents were glad their youngsters were too young. By Dale Hughes `55
1930 Aviation Tragedy in Milford Twp.
Even in an Eden such as Milford Twp there have been instances of misfortune and tragedy. One of the most remembered is the instance of a young fellow, Roy Pond, 26, (and another man) being killed in an airplane accident within 50 feet of the door to his parent's home and in full view of his parents, Mr and Mrs. Charles W. Pond and his younger sister, Leota.
This incident occurred in the fall of 1930 on the Charles W. Pond farm in the northeast quarter of Sec 1 of Milford Twp. (This is the farmstead where the John Sorem family later lived for many years that fronts on S14.) It is reported, by the newspaper, that the crash scene was between the house and the road. (Others say that the incident occurred immediately north of the house.)
Two men were in the airplane at the time of the accident- the owner of the plane, Earl Grey, 33, who was the low time pilot, and Roy Pond, 26. (Pond was the more qualified pilot and speculation is that had Pond been at the controls the incident might never occurred) The engine had apparently stopped and reports were that apparently one fellow stood up in the plane and tried to do something but time was too short for any corrective action.
Both were killed, Grey instantly and Roy Pond, who died about twenty minutes after being taken to the Nevada Sanitarium. Grey was at the controls of the plane, a Monocoupe belonging to Grey. Pond was employed by Grey. (At the time, 1930, there were only 154 planes owned by Iowans, although technically Mr Grey was from Minnesota.)
The two men, following their visit to the Pond's farm had prepared to depart, and with Grey at the stick, took off toward the southeast, gained altitude of probably 500 feet, circled back over the Pond home and waved at the family standing in the front yard. As they circled the premises the second time, the Pond family and Hans F. Anderson, motorcar salesman of Nevada who was observing with them, noticed that the plane tilted on one wing and started downward in a nosedive. (Mr Grey was a wholesale automotive parts salesman)
The plane landed nose down in the front yard, less than 50 feet from the door of the home and within less than half of that distance from the car near which the Pond Family and Mr Anderson were standing.