Powell’s RAF service inspires novel

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Covington County native is one of three people who inspired Elizabeth Braun’s third book, 28 Bunkers, which was released in May.

Braun’s great-uncle, Ray Powell, grew up in Covington County, but left home before the United States entered World War II and joined the Royal Air Force.

His story, along with the stories of Braun’s grandfather, a bomber pilot, and another great-uncle, who kept a diary throughout the war, are the inspiration for the historical novel, which Braun said looks at war from all sides – the soldiers, and the residents of a German village.

“My main purpose of the book other than to talk about what he really did, is to show that on both sides of the war, people suffer,” Braun said. “Everybody loses people, everybody suffers.”

It wasn’t until Braun’s grandmother, Margie Powell Evers, died that she learned about Ray Powell’s story.

“We were cleaning out her house,” she said. “All of my life, there was a picture of him in her hallway. I always thought it was a picture of my dad.”

The photograph inspired her to learn more. Family members shared biographical information, and Braun got Powell’s records from the RAF’s research facility.

Based on Braun’s research, Powell joined the RAF because he thought it was a moral issue.

“But also, he had a great love of flying,” Braun said. “To have an opportunity to fly a Hawker Hurricane was a dream come true for him. Both issues were pulling at him.”

Powell went to Auburn for two years, before he joined the U.S. Army Air Corp., Braun said. He trained at Randolph Field, she said.

Powell died at Sutton Bridge.

For other research for 28 Bunkers, Braun interviewed Germans who lived through the war, and read many oral histories.

Braun was born in 1960 in Denver, Colo. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in psychology. She has lived in the United States, Kuwait, and Mexico, and currently lives in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with her husband.

Her first novel, Tampico’s Gold, was published in 2010. Both novels are available for purchase from Amazon.