Edward Dobson, War Hero
Fifty-one years ago, as Mepham High School's first graduates went off to war, Ed Dobson ('39) from Buckingham Road, Merrick, joined the Army Air Force. He signed up for flight training and earned his commission, his pilot's wings, and an assignment to the 67th Squadron, Eighth Air Force.
Ed Dobson and Margaret Frank of Chapman Ave., Bellmore, classmates in Mepham's first graduating class, were married at Brooks Field in Texas, where he earned his wings. After B-24 school in desert-like Alamogordo, New Mexico, he went to war.
On Sunday, August 1, 1943, 178 powerful B-24 Liberator bombers took off from bases in North Africa to cross the Mediterranean, headed for Romania-Lieutenant Ed Dobson, co pilot, sat next to Lt. J.E.Hill of Midland, Texas, in the cockpit of a B-24 named CALABAN.
Lt. Dobson had a personal goal to qualify as first pilot and have his own plane. Dobson loved flying and thought he might make a career of it, military or civilian. Moving up to first pilot seemed a necessary step.
In November, 1943, Lt. Dobson checked out as first pilot. Nov. 18th-a long, cold mission to disable the German fighter plant and air base outside, Oslo, Norway. No one knows what happened to Lt. Dobson, his crew, and their plane.
Margaret Dobson spent nearly two years tossed between hope and despair, with Ed and his crew listed as missing in action. After the war ended, they were declared killed in action .
In 1947, Margaret married John Stavish, a veteran of the invasion of the Phillipines, the Battle of Lingayen Gulf, and terror known as kamikaze. Their wedding and reception, so symbolic of the end of the war, are [were] commemorated in a wall plaque photo at McCluskey's Steak House, Bellmore, where they first met. Ed Dobson's commemorations are on the west wall of the main foyer at Mepham, in the Wall of the Missing at the American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. and in the renaming of Dobson Avenue in his honor.
Margaret and John Stavish raised their own family and Ed Dobson, Jr. in Bellmore. Life goes on. Freedom goes on. Take a slow drive on Dobson Avenue and enjoy.
Edward M. Dobson, Jr., Mepham '61, is an attorney employed by the
Supreme Court of Montana as a special master in the adjudication of water
In letters received by Frances Kotlarz Walton, Mepham Alumni Class of 1939/40 Representative, from Margaret Frank (Dobson) Stavish:
What has finally inspired me to write was your fine article in Bellmore Life (Dec. 1) about John Weisberg and Harry Chernucha. It was such a sad time when we heard Harry had been killed during the raid on Pearl Harbor. Of course, that was just the beginning of the war and our losses. It is good to know there is to be a Memorial Flag Dedication in honor of Harry on Dec. 8th in the Mepham rotunda. It's so generous and thoughtful of John Weisberg to donate this special flag in honor of Harry. John is certainly a hero as well.
On the day before Pearl Harbor, I had just met Ed Dobson for the first time since our graduation in June '39. We were married in Dec. 1942.
I don't know if you have seen the Veterans' Day issue of Bellmore Life, but I thought you might be interested in the article they printed about Ed. It was written by Ed, Jr. who was not quite 2 months old when Ed's plane disappeared. He has spent the last 3 years trying to find out as much as he possibly could about his father's involvement with the 8th Air Force in England and North Africa. The only information I had from the government was that they assumed Ed's plane went down in the North Sea on the return flight from Norway to England. Nothing else.
Since I'm still living in Bellmore, I feel as if I've never left Mepham. My six children and 3 of my 6 grandchildren are Mepham grads and a fourth grandchild is still attending.
I think it would be great if you wrote about Ed in the next newsletter. I think he would appreciate being remembered. After high school he attended Alfred University for a couple of years. When I met him in 1941, he was holding 2 jobs. He was distribution manager for "L.I.[Nassau] Daily Review" and also was a gas station attendant. Right after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp. for Air Cadet Training. Left in Apr.1942.
Sincerely, Margaret Frank (Dobson) Stavish
Editor's Note: Margaret Stavish, Ed's widow, also a graduate of Mepham Class of 1939, died on June 17th, 1998.