2nd Lt. Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F.
of Beloit Wisconsin
Vicki Ruthe Hahn
SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter
December 15, 2017 – Update to Posting – #1 at end
To: Vicki Hahn
Subject: Re: 2nd Lt Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F.
Thank you for replying and to begin with, I hope your on the mend and your knee is moving freely.
I just realised that it is very close to the anniversary of Redene Simenson’s fatal crash, it would be great to make a connection with his family.
See attached screenshots of his grave
and the obituary for his sister.
I think I’ve traced Sandy Thorpe, Greg and Donna Thorpe to Beloit. If correct they were educators in Beloit, is that teachers or lecturers?
I haven’t managed as yet to find any contact details for them.
In Scotland, Sandy is short for Alexander so I’m unsure of the gender of one of the Thorpes above, given Sandy is also a female name.
The story of Redene’s crash goes like this, after taking off from Renfrew in his P51D he became lost due to the weather. The pilots knew of a route that would take them out to the Irish Sea, clear of hills and have a coastline to follow. He would have to fly along a glen (valley) to get there. It is assumed he took the wrong path which was ending abruptly, and clipped the top of the hill, the aircraft flipped over and hit another hill. This accident happened near Ardrossan. The wreckage and dead pilot were found by a local farmer. The P51D Mustang was supposed to have been totally destroyed.
That might explain the lack of information about wreckage or the crash. Normally a team would have been sent out to recover it if possible or just the guns, radios and anything else deemed sensitive. If it was unrecoverable, it was usually burned, buried or both. The pilot’s remains would always be taken away if found.
Given that a momentous undertaking was well underway in Europe in 1944 by then. And the mass break out of Italian Prisoners of War in Ayrshire, Scotland. Perhaps, his story has been lost or is in a small undetectable article paragraph.
If you want to get an idea of ferrying a fighter from Renfrew that went wrong in WW2, look up the ‘Hartfield Thunderbolt’.
I used the same search approach and managed to at least get a picture of Herman C. Carey the Thunderbolt’s pilot from his local town.
When your able and fit, I’d be grateful for your archive search. If you could come up with contact details for the Thorpes that would also help, please?
I’m assuming Beloit is a large area and not one where everybody knows everybody else?
Do you know the names of your Scottish Ancestors and where they came from?
As the WW2 subject pertains to Ayrshire in Scotland, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was written by an Ayrshire farmer and poet Robert Burns.
‘Hunker down’ comes from Scotland but we say ‘git doon oan yer hunkers!’. (Get down on your hunkers) or basically squat very low with your feet flat on the ground.
Thanks for your help.
Re: 2nd Lt Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F.
Your stories/facts just keep getting more and more interesting.
My knee is on the mend.
My Scots and Irish are unclear yet – Campbell, Arnold, Adams, and Muir (Moore).
I don’t know where my Scottish ancestors are from yet – too many other nationalities involved – United States mix.
I am almost to the point in my genealogy research to be able to explore that.
Meanwhile, I am enjoying your history information below.
The Beloit WI Remember When Facebook group is also interested in hearing more about this hometown hero, so I am sharing this with them.
Hopefully we can get you some more information about the family, etc.
Beloit WI is about 37,000 and in some ways a small town with many knowing each other.
I possibly met Redene’s sister at the Library since her obituary says that she liked to read so much, but I don’t recognize her name.
His other siblings would be called teachers, or if they taught at the Beloit College, would be called professors lecturing to college students.
I looked up Sandy, Greg and Donna Thorpe on the public library’s AtoZ phone address directory in Wisconsin and Illinois.
I only saw some Thorpes (about 50 miles north). If you think they are the right ones- here is the contact information –
I also found 19 pages of Simesons in several states.
Beloit is right on the Illinois state line, and Redene was born in Durand Illinois.
I found the following information on a public family tree – “Olsen-Simenson-Woods Tree” on Ancestry.com, and contacted the creator for more information or to connect you if he answers. You can look at his family tree directly (many public libraries here have this database for free at tbe library building.)
Redene’s sister was Eleanor Thorpe – a funeral collection said that she resided in Rockford Illinois at tbe time of her 2012 death and that her children are – Sandra Thorpe, Nancy (Mark) Bromhead and Julie (Jim) Barker. So Sandy is probably Sandra in this case. (AtoZ is being balky right now – but can look later for contact.)
Redene was an identical twin to Eugene Raymond Simenson ( who died in 1971.) His children are:
Lawrence born 1938, Ronald born 1940, Randy born 1951 Michigan – now in Charlotte North Carolina ? , and Kim Gail Simenson born 1959 in Michigan now in Charlotte North Carolina?
Redene was married from 1937 – 1939 to a Doris.They lived on Vine ST in Beloit and he worked for the Freeman Shoe Corp. (1937 Beloit WI City Directory)
About 1943 Redene married Eileen (?) Simenson in England. She was born abt 1921 in England, and their daughter Karen Simenson was born abt 1945 in England.
In application for military headstone – his date of birth is June 10 1917,
his date of death is listed as Dec. 21, 1944 (one day after his ferry asignment.)
He enlisted Nov. 28, 1940 (almost a year before the United States entered World War 2), and was in the 310 Ferrying Squadron.
A U.S. Army Enlistment Record shows his enlistment as Dec. 9, 1942, single withut dependents,and his height as 70 inches (5 foot 10 inches) and weight as 152 pounds.
A (Beloit Daily) Newspaper clipping dated Feb. 19, 1945 (?) shows the following information: ( Derek – We will get you a better copy and full citation than the source put on Ancestry.com)
Redene had been overseas 40 months without a visit back to the U.S. before dying in the plane crash.
He joined Nov. 28, 1940 in the Royal Canadian Air Force after first being rejected by the U.S. Army Air Forces because he did not have college credits, Ten months later, he was assigned to overseas service, and was an instructor in England. He asked to be transferred to a fighting command where he piloted a torpedo bomber.
He tranferred to the Royal Air Force, and piloted a Spitfire for one year.
He asked to be transferred to the U.S. Army air Forces once the United States entered World War 2, and joined the Ferry Command taking airplanes for several months to Africa, Italy, Iceland, and then to France after the invasion of the continent.
His services to the Ferry Command were regarded highly because he was able to fly any type of plane. According to his letters home, there was not any type of plane made in the United States or England that he had not flown at one time or another.
Redene wrote to his brother Eugene that he had become a member of a test pilot squadron –
“If something happens to me, don’t be surprised. I am volunteering to go on missions that other fellows refuse to go on.”
He had two narrow escapes – in one he landed his Spitfire in flames and was hospitalized for a time, but did not say much about how serious his injuries were.
Redene meet (Beloiters) overseas:
Shortly before the Dieppe raid in August 1942, he and Captain Mason C Dobson, now a prisoner of war of the Germans, spent several days together in London.
He also met Major Jesse Davis by chance in a United States Army air base.
Public Services Librarian
Beloit Public Library
December 14, 2017
Vicki Ruthe Hahn
SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter
Vicki’s note – this is a request I received lately, and my answer. I also sent the request to the BHS Beloit Historical Society.
It is interesting to find out more about WW2 (aviation) history, and how the United States and Scotland worked together to help win the war. If anyone happens to know more about this pilot, his family, or about this part of history – please share. If you do happen to contact Derek Wands or the author directly, share the information with me also, so that I can add this to our Genealogy/Local History collection at the Beloit Public Library:
Would you have an image of him in uniform?
Public Services Librarian
Beloit Public Library 605 Eclipse BLVD. Beloit, WI 53511