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William E Lewis Jr.


William served as a Staff Sergeant & Radio Operator on B-24H #42-50331, 856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

He resided in Contra Costa County, California prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army on January 14, 1943 in San Francisco, California. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a Stock clerk and also as Single, without dependents.

B-24H #42-50331 took off from Harrington Northhampshire on March 30, 1945 in support of Operation Rype forces in Norway. They were one of 19 B-24's on this mission.

The B-24's ran into bad weather and B-24H #42-50331 was one of the planes to turn back and head for their base. On the way back they ran into fuel problems and 2 of the 4 engines stopped and they couldn't be restarted.

The pilot, 2nd Lt. Polansky, gave the order to bailout however only the Co-Pilot, 1st Lt. Pulrang was able to do so. The B-24 ended up crashing in a field located in St Ola, southeast of Kirkwall during the war.

William was "Killed In Action" in this crash.

He was awarded the Purple Heart.

He was originally interred in Cambridge, England and was later repatriated here on July 27, 1948.

Service # 39120406
Killed in Action (KIA)



  • Henry Polansky

    Military | Second Lieutenant | 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
    Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Frederick Smickle

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier on B-24 # 42-30331 -492nd BG - 856th BS | 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
    30 MAR 1945 - "Operation Carpetbagger" ...

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Units served with

  • 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...



Date Contributor Update
17 September 2020 19:35:17 oconnornj Changes to media associations

Date Contributor Update
17 September 2020 19:25:09 oconnornj Changes to biography

Date Contributor Update
17 September 2020 19:23:34 oconnornj Changes to suffix, service number, role, person associations and media associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:27:56 AAM AAM ingest

Combat Chronology / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia