The Gold Star and The Cuckoo Clock

"A moving and deeply touching war story about healing, hope and inspiration."

Calvin Oscar Bjornsgaard

* June 7, 1921 in Astoria, Oregon, USA - † April 17, 1943 in Stotel, Germany

Rosa 'Madame A. Meilland' (Peace)

It was developed by French horticulturist Francis Meilland in the years 1935 to 1939. When Meilland foresaw the German invasion of France, he sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and the United States to protect the new rose. It is said that it was sent to the US on the last plane available before the German invasion, where it was safely propagated by the Conard Pyle Co. during the war.

Calvin Oscar Bjornsgaard was born on June 7, 1921 in Astoria, Oregon, United States of America. He was of Swedish and Norwegian ancestry. His younger years were spent in rural America in Skamokawa, Washington.

As an extremely creative youth, he was known to even sew doll clothes for a female relative. In 1936, his parents, Oscar and Emily Bjornsgaard and his 2 siblings, Homer Virgil Bjornsgaard and Elvira May Bjornsgaard moved to Portland, Oregon.

Calvin graduated from Benson High School in Portland, Oregon and then attended The University of Oregon majoring in Architecture. There Calvin excelled in his academics and was Captain of the University of Oregon debate team. He was also a gifted sketch artist. He was accepted to enter WestPoint, United States Military Academy, but joined the United States Air Corp.

In his third year at the University of Oregon, when the Second World War broke out in Europe, Calvin packed his belongings and left college. He came home from college and announced to his parents that he would not be persuaded otherwise and that he was badly needed in Europe to fight Hitler.

He enlisted in the United States Air Corp. His aim was to serve as a bomber pilot in the war, however with a slight imperfection in his eyesight, he became a navigator on the B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber.

He graduated from advanced navigation school at Mather Field, California on September 16, 1942. He reported to the 306 Bombardment Group on March 12, 1943 as a navigator.

His last mission on April 17, 1943 is written about in the authoritative book, “First Over Germany”, where his name is mentioned. Although a navigator, he is thought to be credited with one enemy plane downed.

Second Lieutenant Calvin Bjornsgaard and five other of the crew members perished upon successful completion of their bombing of target and were met with intense enemy fire. Their plane went down April 17, 1943 over Stotel, Germany. Five men were taken Prisoners of war.

On April 20, 1943, his remains were interned in Garrison Cemetery Wesermunde-Geestemunde in Bremerhaven, Germany. They were moved to Margraten on November 9, 1945. Then permanently interned in Margraten on September 1, 1948.

Calvin’s niece is currently authoring and publishing a book, The Gold Star and The Cuckoo Clock, with his Margraten gravesite adoptee family.

B-17 Boeing "Flying Fortress"

B-17 Boeing "Flying Fortress": a four-engine, low-wing, heavy bomber. Specs for model B-17G:

  • Crew: 10
  • Length: 74 ft
  • Wingspan: 103 ft
  • Range: 2000 miles

Margraten, 1945