BOISE CITY BOMBED!
by Norma Gene Young
This has been a whoopee week for people who like to celebrate. July 4 th has been the day for longer than any of us can remember. But the next day—July 5 th —is the day many older people recall.
What were you doing that night in 1943??
Most of us were home in bed, sound asleep, but many were roused when sounds like bombs dropping on the town were heard. That's right, friends, Boise City was under attack!
The bomber was a B-17, from Dalhart Army Air Base. The crew's orders were to bomb a site about 30 miles to the southeast of Boise City , but their usual navigator was sick that night and his replacement was a young man very new to his job. He saw four lights (around the courthouse) and thought he was looking at their target, so he gave the word to “hit ‘em!” and the crew did its best!
The first bomb fell across the street northwest from the courthouse and hit a small dilapidated garage a few dozen feet from the red brick two-story brick building which still stands there. The plane circled a few times and other bombs fell. One landed about two feet from the west wall of the Baptist Church , digging a hole almost waist deep. The next one landed a few feet from the Style Shoppe building north of the courthouse. Next in line was several blocks north of the courthouse. It was a good try, but they did miss the large gasoline truck parked near the McGowan house (presently the Walton Agency), then after circling the town another time or two they let fly several blocks west of the courthouse, leaving a crater on a vacant lot. The last bomb was released about a mile southeast of the courthouse, near railroad tracks.
By the time the last bomb fell, the air base had received the word that all was not well at Boise City .
Harris “Hook” Powell was sheriff at that time and his family lived upstairs in the courthouse. Others nearby aware of what was happening were the Hurley Reed family. Hazel grabbed their baby to make sure he was all right and Hurley headed for the telephone office about a block away. Hurley and Hook managed to convince the air base what was happening and the crew was ordered to return to base.
At about the same time Frank Garrett, an electric company employee, knew which switch to flip to plunge the city into darkness. The raid was then over.
Boise City survivors calmed down, the B-17 crew was reprimanded severely, and according to my husband, Robert Young, (who was stationed at Dalhart at the time) a notice was prominently displayed on a bulletin board at the base: “Remember the Alamo, remember Pearl Harbor, and for Lord's sake, remember Boise City!”
Boise City News