Stanley N. Buck

2011 February 16
by Pat DiGeorge

The navigator of the Liberty Lady on the day of their March 6, 1944, emergency landing on the island of Gotland was 1st Lt. Stanley N. Buck. Buck was not a regular member of the crew. The crew’s original navigator, Charles L. Stevenson, was killed by shell fire during a mission on January 11, 1944.

Soon after the crew had settled into the Rättvik internment camp, “THE BEAVER’S SPUR,” newsletter for the Liberty Lady crew, reported that Stan left for Stockholm on March 23rd to “assume new duties as the assistant to the assistant to the assistant at the American Legation in Stockholm … The well wishes of his fellow crewmen are sincere in the hope that he will discover a more fertile pasture in his new surroundings than ever dreamt of amongst the flickas hereabouts.”

Stanley N Buck 1944

Stanley N Buck. As shown in Collier’s Magazine August 26, 1944: “The hardships of an interned airman are sometimes worse than death! Lieut. Bock (sic) enjoys dinner with lovely Swedes while on leave in Stockholm. His brand of Swedish had the girls in hysterics all evening.”

After their harrowing experiences over the flak filled skies of Germany, these guys now had a one track mind.

The August 26, 1944 issue of Collier’s Magazine included an article titled, “Swedish Stopover” had many photographs of the interned airmen. They were shown bicycling, skiing, shopping, swimming, hanging out with the ladies … in short, safe and having a good time. For most of the families, this would have been the first glimpse they had of the young men.

The photo in Collier’s prime position was of Stan Buck. One of his duties at the American Legation was to attend evening functions, and he had to buy a tuxedo for the occasions.

I have been in contact with Stan’s widow, Marcia Buck, and we have been trying to piece together some of the details of what Stan was doing while he was in Stockholm.

Marcia shared with me a letter dated July 29, 1944 from Lt. Col. Felix Hardison, Military Air Attaché. “I wish to commend 1st Lt. Stanley N. Buck … for his excellent and outstanding performance of duty as Acting Assistant Military Air Attaché with the American Legation, Stockholm, Sweden from March 23, 1944 to July 24, 1944.

1st Lt. Buck was navigator of a Fortress type aircraft which was compelled to force-land Sweden after a bombing attack on Berlin March 6, 1944. On March 23, 1944 Lt. Buck was ordered to the Office of the Military Air Attaché for temporary duty. In addition to acting as Liaison Officer, he was placed in charge of our Scandanavian (sic) Air Fields section, maps, files and pertinent data regarding Scandanavian countries. As a result of his efforts these previously mentioned subjects were handled in a very excellent and efficient manner.”

Mrs. Buck also sent me photographs Stan had saved of a dinner party whose guests included Felix Hardison and Bernt Balchen.  Stan was working with the Air Attaché office at the same time that Bernt Balchen was initiating Operation Sonnie, the courier service between Sweden and the RAF airbase at Leuchars in Scotland. Balchen led his B-24 crews on many other more clandestine operations, aiding the Norwegian resistance.

My theory is that Navigator Stan Buck was helping gather critical information about these Scandinavian countries in support of Balchen’s Operation Sonnie. I would love to have opinions from anyone else who may have information on this.

(On the photos, sorry that you jump to the top of the page after each one and have to scroll down. I don’t know how to fix it.)

Bernt Balchen in conversation

Bernt Balchen in conversation
Picture 1 of 5

In July Stan Buck returned to Rättvik and remained there until his return to England. In April of 1945 while on R&R Stan and his future wife Marcia visited with the family of Felix Hardison at their home in California.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 February 17
    Joy permalink

    Who is Hardison in the photo?

  2. 2011 February 17
    Pat permalink

    In photo #2, Felix Hardison is on the far right. In photo #4, he is in the center.

  3. 2011 February 18
    Joy permalink

    I hadn’t looked at all the photos! great! wonderful to see Balchen and the others back in their prime:>)

    I still think the guy on the left in #2 looks a little like Dick van Dyke:>)

  4. 2011 March 30
    Jim Buck permalink

    What a pleasure to view information about my Uncle, Stanley N. Buck. Very please I received this link from my Aunt Marcia! Thanks for your work! James “Stanley” Buck

  5. 2011 April 19
    Jim Buck permalink

    Yesterday was a flight of a lifetime! I went on a flight in a B-17! It is the Liberty Bell and only one of 11 or 12 that are still flying. While on the flight I was able to sit in the navigators postion which was most likely where my Uncle Stan was sitting when his B-17 went down. The website for any who might like to fly in a B-17 is: http://www.libertyfoundation.org. What a thrill!

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