Remembering H. Rey Neff
The start of World War II on December 7 changed everything for Americans. A person in my hometown, Georgetown, NY saw up close the changes and challenges-
H. Rey Neff
One of my teachers was our Little League coach, swimming instructor, photographer, Science teacher among other things. What many in town, including most students didn’t know was he was a combat veteran of WWII. He was a crewman on bomber missions deep into Nazi Germany where the survival rate for Airman manning the bombers was poor. Many were shot down and many perished.
During one of the missions Rey was shot down over Germany and survived capture to spend the rest of the war in a Nazi prisoner of war camp.
Not many people knew of his background in our small town and school but my Dad knew the story and told me about it. One day, probably in about the 8th grade, I asked Mr. Neff, who was teaching us Science, to tell us what happened. At first he said, no one would really be interested- but he relented- He told us that of course it was dramatic, bailing out of an airplane after it was shot up and descending, parachuting and then hiding to avoid capture but the part that stuck in his mind was he was wearing leather gloves that were very wet so he laid them on the ledge of the barn window where they were hiding, when the Nazis came looking for the airmen who had been shot down from the bomber they spotted the gloves and he and his fellow crewman were captured. He said as long as I live I still always remember seeing those gloves on the ledge of that barn window.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a catalyst for the United States to enter what became known as World War II. It impacted many people and most certainly Mr. Neff. You never knew it, he was a quiet man always willing to help out. Technically knowledgeable with a range of skills.
Green Hornet B17, 381st Bomb Group, 534 Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force based in England. Kneeling second from right.
Photographer for many years including single-handedly built the GCHS yearbooks.
Notable Death- Bob Dole
Dole was a veteran and served in the Senate. He is respected by members of all parties.
We would also like to mention the National Guard’s birthday which will be on Monday December 13.
As well as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day which was on Tuesday December 7th.