AAF Insignia

GO TO...



8AF Insignia

Bert Stiles

A Tribute to Bert Stiles

An Unfinished Story

Bert Stiles of Denver, Colorado, was one of among many who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces in WWII, but he was one of a relative few who left a written legacy. His single book, Serenade to the Big Bird, was published posthumously and is broadly regarded as one of the great literary works to emerge from WWII.


  • Introduction.
  • Serenade: Published editions of Serenade to the Big Bird.
  • Publications: Other works by and about Bert Stiles.


Bert Stiles was a writer and a dreamer. He had for his young age an astute sense of his world and the adept ability to convey it through words with honesty, candor, and utmost sincerety. It is our great fortune that much of Bert's written work is available to us today, for through his eyes can we have brought to life a time gone by and an accounting of wartime experiences which most would fail to fully imagine or appreciate.

As a B-17 co-pilot in the 401st Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group of the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force, Bert Stiles flew nearly thirty missions. His driving desire, however, was to fly the P-51 Mustang, and in September, 1944, he transferred to the 505th Squadron of the 339th Fighter Group. On November 26, 1944, Bert Stiles was killed in action when his plane crashed as it followed down an enemy FW-190, Stiles' first confirmed kill. This was his sixteenth fighter mission. Bert was 24 years old.

Serenade to the Big Bird had been finished by Bert during his time at a rest home prior to completion of his bombing missions, and was hoped by Bert to be published. The book, which eloquently and emotionally describes the life of Bert and his B-17 crews, was returned to his family and subsequently published, first in England.

Writing was Bert Stiles' passion and intended vocation, but his desire to fly and his sense of duty to his country were to leave us only guessing where Bert's talents would have led him. His life was indeed an unfinished story.



Many thanks to Robert F. Cooper for his generous time, assistance, and encouragement which made this page possible. I am also grateful for the vast amount of knowledge and printed materials by and about Bert Stiles which Bob has shared. Much appreciation goes to Bob, and to Roland Dickison, for their efforts to keep alive the memory and writings of Bert Stiles.

Photo of Bob Cooper (left) and Roland Dickison (right) at a book signing event.

Updated: 20 November 2009.

Next page

[Bert Stiles | Serenade | Publications ]

 [Acme Depot]  [E-mail: KeepEmFlying-at-acmedepot.com (replace -at- with @)]

Copyright © 1997-2009 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice: no content from any of the pages within the Acme Depot web site may be copied or used without permission. Such content includes, but is not limited to, all images, graphics, page backgrounds, text, and HTML code. Any unauthorized use of content from this web site constitutes copyright violation. (If, for instance, you believe that you are entitled to copy and use the AAF and 8AF insignia graphics, which I crafted myself, you are mistaken and need to consult copyright law.)