Florida Woman Hoping to Return Purple Heart Found in Furniture to the Soldier’s Family

The medal belonged to Charles Crabbe, a flight engineer on the crew of a B-24 Liberator, a plane used for heavy bombing.

Brenda Carlson hopes to reunite a precious award with the family of a soldier who sacrificed everything. The Florida woman was given a Purple Heart medal by a friend who found it inside furniture purchased at an estate sale.

And she has been trying to locate the family of the soldier it was awarded to. His name is Charles W. Crabbe.

“I sent letters. I sent emails,” Brenda explained. “Emails were not returned. Letters were not returned.”

Inside the Purple Heart’s box was a newspaper cutting that reads “Army Gives Up Hope For Missing Flier.” It revealed that Technical Sergeant Charles Crabbe of New York went missing over Germany on December 2nd, 1944, less than a year before the end of World War II. 

He was a flight engineer on the crew of a B-24 Liberator, a plane used for heavy bombing.

On a mission over Germany, the crew of 10’s plane was hit with enemy fire. Charles Crabbe was the only person who didn’t successfully bail out of the plane. 

His remains never made it home, and he is buried at Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. For his sacrifice, Technical Sergeant Crabbe was awarded a Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is the oldest American military medal, according to the U.S. Army. Originally introduced in 1782 as the “Badge of Military Merit” by then-general George Washington, this medal was rebranded “the Purple Heart” in 1932, the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth.

The Purple Heart can be given to a service member of any rank who has been wounded or killed in military action. And Brenda Carlson wants to get this one back into the hands of Charles Crabbe’s family.

“Service is service, regardless of when it was, who it was or what they served for, if you went to war, you deserve to receive the awards,” Brenda adds. “It needs to be with the family.”

Related Stories