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Raymond Christensen 1914-1944

Ray Christensen was born in South Dakota in 1914, the son of Scandinavian immigrants to the USA. He went on to serve his country in the 417th USAF Night Fighter squadron and it was with that unit that he served at Scorton in WW2.

Ray's great niece, Karen Seeman, got in touch with this website after reading our History of Scorton Airfield and has written a fantastic biography of Ray, which she has kindly allowed us to publish here (Ray Christensen 1914-1944).

It contains some remarkable insights into the life of an American airman and his thoughts about the war, the local cultures he encountered and his hopes and fears (from letters he wrote home). In one passage he writes about British attitudes:

“The places we have been have seen their first Americans when we came along. Some of the people were sure they wouldn’t like us and were prepared to just treat us civil. In a week or so we were being invited out for tea and what not and left good friends and liked us as well as we could wish for. The people have the queerest idea of what an American is like. They expect us to be like movie film people and we are all supposed to be jitterbugs. At least we can change that opinion.”

I thought that was pretty ironic - he looks exactly like a "movie film" person to me .

Tragically, Ray was killed in action over the Mediterranean in 1944 and unfortunately his remains were never located. Personally, I share Karen's belief that they probably still remain in the shattered remains of his Bristol Beaufighter off the coast of Corsica. Perhaps one day this will be confirmed.

Finally, this is also an appeal on Karen's behalf for anyone with information about the 417th and Ray Christensen in particular, to contact her. <>

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