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Service & Sacrifice: WWII aviator builds former plane

Albert Gill first picked up model building almost 90 years ago. COVID-19 drove him to rekindle the hobby and he didn’t stop with the B-24.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former World War II navigator Albert Gill saw an opportunity in the COVID-19 stay at home order.

“This has helped a whole lot to just occupy my time and mind,” said the 98 and-a-half year old veteran sitting in front of a table full of model airplanes.  He resurrected a hobby he first started at age nine by building a plane he flew during 43 of his combat missions, the B-24 bomber.

Credit: The Gill Family
WWII Veteran Albert Gill building model airplanes during the COVID-19 pandemic

“I flew behind the cockpit on the flight deck,” pointing out the spot on the model the veteran navigator says took him about 15 hours to build from start to finish.  And he didn’t stop there.  His family says he has so far he has spent weeks now piecing together planes that include:  B-24, B-25, B-26, B-29, B-52, PT-17, P-40, P-47, P-51, P-61, and the list goes on.  17 planes in all and his family says more are on the way.

“He’s had so much fun with this that I’m sure there will be even more to do,” wrote his daughter in a recent email.

We first met Albert Gill almost one year ago during a Service & Sacrifice story about a letter he wrote to his grandson that predicted the future in ways that connected the two and shocked the Gill family.