“Me n Martha”

“Me n’ Martha”: Lt. Ellis’s A-2 Jacket

By: Katherine Hill

Lt. Sydney Clyde Ellis (his family called him Clyde) was born in Texas, but he sought his fortune in Illinois when he was nineteen. His brother told him that near Chicago there was good work, so Clyde Ellis moved and found not only work but the love of his life as well. Ellis met Martha Weiss in a bowling alley. They were young and happy. The infamous bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed the course of their future together.

On June 18, 1942 Clyde Ellis transitioned from civilian to soldier. Ellis had previously worked for the federal government. In his late teens, he worked 18 months for the Civilian Conservation Corps. In Ellis’s new job as an Air Corps cadet, the government, and the American public, expected far more of him. Like all airmen, Ellis was shipped all over the U.S. from training base to training base to prepare for combat. Martha Weiss followed Ellis from town to town. On November 17, 1942, in Lincoln, Nebraska, Martha Weiss became Mrs. Ellis.

The military trained Lt. Ellis as a bombardier and assigned him to the 379th Bomb Group, 524th Bomb Squadron. In mid-August of 1944, Lt. Ellis received his orders to go to the 379th’s Bomb Group base in Kimbolton, England. Martha Ellis could no longer follow her husband from base to base.

Photo caption: Painting on the back of Lt. Ellis’s A-2 jacket showing Lady Liberty riding a falling bomb and a list of Ellis’s missions. Sydney Clyde Ellis Collection | National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

Lt. Ellis kept his wife close to his heart while in England. On the left front side of his A-2 jacket he had a heart painted that read “Me n’ Martha.” The back of his jacket had the name of his plane, “Topper,” above Lady Liberty riding a falling bomb with thirty-five smaller bombs below. Each small bomb represented one of the required thirty-five missions of his tour. Each mission destination was carefully painted on a bomb. Lt. Ellis completed thirty-four missions before he returned to the U.S. in April of 1945. The inscription on the thirty-fifth bomb on his jacket read “Happy Warrior Go Home So Yippee.”

In June of 1945, Lt. Ellis returned to civilian life with his wife and family. Martha and Clyde Ellis had three children and were married for over fifty years. The war changed the course of their lives but did not change their devotion for each other.