By July 1944 Harris had flown – and survived – more than 60 missions, which meant he was entitled to go back to the States. He wrote to Peggy, telling her that they would soon be together again. But wounded soldiers got priority, so Billie’s reserved place on a troop ship was taken by another. The couple would just have to wait a little longer for their reunion.
But now fate played a cruel trick. Towards the end of July a telegram came stating that Billie had been missing in action since July 7. Peggy was grief-stricken, but through her shock she noticed a curious anomaly. How could Billie have been missing since July 7 when she’d had a letter from him dated July 8? Ominously, this was the first in a series of administrative errors that would mark the next 60 years of Peggy’s life.