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William James McQuoid Jr

Military

Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-107020, Killed in Action (KIA). PH

My name is Elaine Balsley and I am the niece of the late SSgt William James McQuoid, Jr. who served w/the 447th BG, 708 Squadron during WWII. I came across these letters when my husband and I were packing up my mother’s belongings in preparation for the sale of her house in Pittsburgh, PA back in 1995. I had no idea that my mother kept these treasures. I was supposed to be packing her things, but once I started opening the letters written to her and others from my mother’s brother, William (Billy) James McQuoid, Jr., and hers written to him during the war, I couldn’t stop reading. I never knew him, as he was killed 2 years before I was born, but I’ve heard many stories about him as was told by my mother and my Aunt Anna. After reading his letters, I really got to know Billy pretty well and am saddened he was taken away at so young an age. It was amazing to me that my mother kept all these letters and documents. My cousin, Carol McCall, also gave me the letters to/from her mother, my Aunt Anna. Because the envelopes and letters are so worn, I can tell how many times these were opened just to remember their brother and hold his memory in their hearts.

Billy was attending Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, PA, as an art student. During the summer, he got a job at Curtiss-Wright Propeller Factory in Pittsburgh. Then instead of going back to college, he decided to join the Army Air Corps and fight for our nation. Because he loved art, I am convinced that is the main reason I desired so badly to write this tribute to him. I feel a personal connection here that is very powerful, and I wanted everyone to know that the artistic and creative talent and career possibilities Bill might have had in the world had he survived are now unknown.

Since having a family, working, and life in general has kept me from completing this endeavor, after years of working on it periodically, I feel I am very close to completing it. I have not scanned all his letters, as some contained more personal information and some people’s names and other info I did not feel I should share. Instead, I typed out most of the letters using “Courier” font to make them look like they were written on a typewriter. I hope you find this a fascinating read, and that you will have gotten to know Billy as I have.

William James McQuoid, Jr. (Billy) served his country as a Tail Gunner on a B-17. I don’t believe Billy was a large man judging from my mother and her other siblings, and that’s why he was assigned that position in the bomber.

****All but one of the crew on that mission, the belly gunner, lost their lives while returning from a bombing mission to Zwickau, GE. In my research, I discovered that not all of Bill’s original crew, including the pilot, Captain Roy Widstrom, were onboard. Some must have been on leave or perhaps ill. Details may be found later in this book. Their bomber was shot down and crashed Reinachmuhle near Ailingen, three miles N of Friedrichshafen, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 4773.) I understand that this was his 25th mission, and if he would have survived, would have been able to come home to see his family.

In this book, if/when published, are photos, letters from him to my mother, Elizabeth Barnett McQuoid Brethauer, and to my Aunt Annie (Anna) Hall McQuoid McCall (Mrs. C. R. McCall)- also to my father, Carl F. Brethauer (“Pappy or Pappy Carl”), all have since passed. All letters and other data were thankfully kept safe by my mother and are also included, as are some of my original drawings and poetry in italics in between some of the letters.

This is a tribute, not only to Billy, but to all those who served our country and lost their lives during WWII.

****42-107020
B-17 FLYING FORTRESS
Delivered Cheyenne 27/1/44; Kearney 14/2/44; Grenier 7/3/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 11/3/44; transferred 708BS/447BG Rattlesden 12/3/44; Missing in Action Brux 12/5/44 with Edwin Wright, Co-pilot: Capt George Hughes, Navigator: Wray Hylton, Bombardier: Nick Dekoning, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Roy Williams, Radio Operator: Rudi Palumbo, Waist gunner: Bernie McDonald, Waist gunner: Clarry Brown,Tail gunner: Bill McQuoid (9 Killed in Action); Ball turret gunner: Bob Johnston (Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft badly damaged ship, two engines KOd, crashed Reinachmuhle near Ailingen, three miles N of Friedrichshafen, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 4773.

Widstrom crew, 708th
Rattlesden, undated
Original crew, Nov. 1943
Front Row – Left to right:
Radio Operator, Sgt. Rudolph Palumbo (KIA)
Bombardier, Lt. Albert H. Halpern
Pilot, Lt. Roy G. “Whitey” Widstrom
Back Row – Left to right:
Tail Gunner, SSgt William “Mac” McQuoid, Jr.; (KIA)
Engineer, Sgt. Roy E. “Willie” Williams (KIA)
Ball Gunner, Sgt Robert E. “Junior” Johnston, AROG (POW)
Right Waist Gunner, Sgt. Clarence “P.P.” Brown (KIA)
Left Waist Gunner, Bernard “Red” McDonald (KIA)
Co-Pilot, Lt. Joseph W. “Murph” Woolsey

Service

People

  • Clarence Brown

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). PH

  • Nicholas DeKonina

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). PH

  • George Hughes

    Military | Captain | Co-Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). PH

  • Wray Hylton

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). PH

  • Robert Johnston

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-107020. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Bernard McDonald

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Rudolph Palumbo

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Roy Williams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-107020, Killed in Action (KIA). PH

  • Edwin Wright

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42107020. Killed in Action (KIA).

Show more

Units served with

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 708th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-107020 Flak Happy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/1/44; Kearney 14/2/44; Grenier 7/3/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 11/3/44; transferred 708BS/447BG Rattlesden 12/3/44; Missing in Action Brux 12/5/44 with Edwin Wright, Co-pilot: Capt George Hughes, Navigator: Wray Hylton,...

Associated Place

  • Rattlesden

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the Eighth Air Force in 1942, Rattlesden had three concrete runways, 50 hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. Intended to be a twin-engine B-26 bomber base, it was originally a satellite for nearby Rougham, and first occupied from...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 4 December 1921

Parents: Eliza Jane Barnett McQuoid & Wiliam James McQuoid, Sr.

Died 12 May 1944

KIA on his 25th bombing mission to Zwickau. His plane was shot down near Friedrichshafen, GE

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
29 October 2020 17:07:10 RayWells Changes to person associations
Sources

ADDED CONNECTIONS

Date Contributor Update
12 May 2020 17:52:04 ElaineBalsley Changes to biography
Sources

Letters that my mother kept from Bill. Crew photograph contained all names of the crew written on the back.

Date Contributor Update
19 April 2020 21:17:22 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "-" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2020 16:30:30 ElaineBalsley Changes to biography
Sources

Clarifying information I have about my late uncle. This is to help relatives of those who served with my uncle.

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2020 16:28:13 ElaineBalsley Changes to biography
Sources

Found more information/data that I wanted to include in this report. It may be helpful to other family members whose relatives served with Bill McQuoid.

Date Contributor Update
23 March 2020 16:05:34 ElaineBalsley Changes to nickname
Sources

His nickname, "Mac" is written by my mother (William's sister) on the back of a photograph of his crew

Date Contributor Update
23 March 2020 16:04:09 ElaineBalsley Changes to service number
Sources

His service number, 13131769, is on most of the letters from SSgt William James McQuoid, Jr. In addition, this number is on a letter from the War Department dated May 27, 1944 written to my grandmother, Mrs. Eliza McQuoid (William's mother).

Date Contributor Update
23 March 2020 15:51:01 ElaineBalsley Changes to biography, awards and events
Sources

My edits here in the American Air Museum of Britain are based on William James McQuoid, Jr.,'s letters to/from my mother and various other family members that are now in my possession. I also have letters written to his mother, my grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. William James McQuoid, Sr. from the War Department and Army. I have photographs my mother kept and other documents.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:21 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4773

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