Edwin Lockhart Hickey

Edwin Hickey was the tailgunner on the first crew of the Shopworn Angel. Hickey and his crew were shot down in a different plane because the Shopworn Angel was being repaired. Even though he was able to bail out of the plane, he did not survive. I was contacted by Janet Dabney. She is the daughter of Hickey’s wife. Please read our initial correspondence below.

Janet has been able to gather and collate letters and documents sent to his wife from Hickey, crewmates, and military officials. The tow links below contain these documents. Read them in sequence to relive the tragedy. The son of the pilot of the plane, Hank Woodrum Jr. wrote the following after viewing these documents;

“Thank you so much for sending the letters and cables that your mother kept. They truly show all the emotions felt by many during those trying times while waiting and worrying about their loved ones. They show the love felt between your mother and Ed and her refusal to believe that he was gone and her attempt to keep him alive and write to him each and every day. Thank you for sharing such deeply emotional and private items. They are a treasure and reflect how life was back then. People reached out to others by putting pen to paper and sending off a letter and then waiting weeks for a reply. This is something of a lost art nowadays. We communicate via text or email and get instant responses. We watch the war live and know within hours the sad news of who was lost.

You can read history books and know what happened but these letters, as I have said before, show the true cost of war and the true losses. All those numbers have names and they all had dreams and aspirations. We should not forget.”
Edwin Hickey Documents Part 1 (allow time to load)
Edwin Hickey Documents Part 2 (allow time to load)

Author : Janet Dabney

I just finished reading this account and am stunned to have found it.  My mother’s first husband was Edwin Hickey, the tail gunner who was killed (the new guy).  They had only been married a few weeks when he shipped off to England and barely over six months later he was dead.  Yet it was months more before she had confirmation of his death and she never really knew any details.  It was always a source of sadness even though she went on to marry my father and have my sister and me.  Sergeant Hickey’s mother remained close to my mom until she died in 1963, bound by a shared sorrow.  I can’t believe almost 70 years later I am reading of his final moments – the coffee he drank, the fog, calling for the crew to bail out, what he saw in flight and the feel, smell and sound of being shot down. Though I’m not sure whether my mother would have wanted to know these details, in some way it gives me some closure.  Thank you for posting.


Hank and Carl,

Thank you so much for following up with me – this is so amazing to be able to piece the puzzle together.  I’ve just forwarded some documents to Carl that I have found so far.  Hank, please forward the German documents to me.  It turns out my husband and I lived in Germany for a number of years – my husband did his doctorate there – and we are both fluent in German.  We would much appreciate having a copy of those documents.  I’m currently reading your father’s book.  It’s so well written and vivid. I’m so glad he told his story.

Thank you!

Edwin L. Hickey 1/23/44
From the looks of the trees in the background, it may have been taken in Louisiana when he and my mother were together. -Janet D-

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