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Aviation restoration group searching for Evansville Rosie the Riveters

Published: Jan. 31, 2017 at 11:39 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2017 at 6:44 PM CST
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VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - An aviation group out of Minnesota got quite a surprise this month as it worked to restore a World War II plane.

Over 6,000 P-47 Thunderbolts were produced in Evansville and two people left their mark on one of them.

"A lot of times, you hear about the folks that flew them, the Aces and the missions they took part of. But, often times, the folks that went to work here at the homefront kinda get a little overlooked. And their names almost end up kinda forgotten in the history books." says LST Ship Memorial Curator, Kenneth Grant.

But not the names Eva and Edith.

Those are the signatures the Aircorps Aviation restoration team found on a P-47 Thunderbolt earlier this month. They searched the plane for more clues and found out where and when it was made. According to them, one of the Thunderbolts was made in 1944 at Republic Aviation's Evansville factory.

They posted on Facebook this week, hoping to reach someone who knows them. And we reached out to someone who knows a lot about Evansville's wartime history.

"To see their names on something like this is amazing," says Grant.

Kenneth Grant is a curator on the LST.  He tells us the shipyard was one of the largest employers during the war, but thousands of women worked in the Republic Aviation plant, making up to 6 thousand of these planes.

He says there's a chance Eva and Edith could be from the Tri-State.

But why would they write their names inside the wing?

"For various reasons, either to have their name on it and tell their children they put their name on it.Or for various operations within the factory or shipyard itself." says Grant.

He says finding Eva and Edith isn't only important to Evansville's history, but their family history.

"It really brings to life what they did and a little bit larger, their part in the war itself."

If you'd like to help in the search for Eva & Edith, and think you know who they are, let us know! 

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