Kenneth Sage Kingsland


Object Number - UPL 20226 - Kenneth S. Kingsland (photo courtesy of the Kingsland family)

After finishing his studies, Kenneth Kingsland was employed as an assembler at the Pratt & Whitney United Aircraft Corporation's engine factory in East Hartford, Connecticut. Married to Dorothy, he decided to volunteer like younger men and enlisted in the Air Corps. After training, he was sent overseas as a member of the 491st Bomber Group / 854th Bomber Squadron.

An Engineer / Top Turret gunner, he was crushed under the weight of the Top Turret that had come loose on impact when his Liberator B-24 # 42-51195 "Belle Ringer" crash-landed in a field near Florée, Belgium on 14 March 1945.

Ken Kingsland's body protected, and saved the life of, Navigator F/O Seymour Eisenstat lying wounded under him inside the fuselage of the plane. One of the first to arrive on the spot was Doctor Camille Bothy, who was visiting patients in Florée. He gave first aid to all the wounded, injecting morphine to calm the pain.

According to Marcel Lamy, who was 17 at the time of the crash, a crew member ran to the house of his parents nearby to ask for a pillow to put under Kingsland’s head. USAAF member Roland Harper, a Sergent in the 5SAD (5th Strategic Air Depot) salvage unit crew that was living nearby and who had been working on the débris of a B-17 shot down a few days before in the area, came on the site and reported that he saw a crew member whose head was gently resting in the lap of a young unidentified Belgian woman. It was the body of Ken Kingsland who had been taken out of the crashed airplane and had just died of his wounds, the sole casualty. His eight other comrades, safe and rather dazed, some of them wounded, were quickly driven to a small hospital in the nearby village of Florée.

At the initiative of Raphaël Marchal, whose family adopted Kenneth’s grave in Belgium, a plaque in honor of Sgt Kingsland and the crew of the “Belle Ringer” was inaugurated on the wall of a chapel (the Chapelle de la Salette) on private land near the crash location in Florée on 12 March 2016. From the start, the local authorities had lent their support to the project and the owner of the land on which the chapel stands, Count Joseph van der Stegen, had immediately agreed when asked for permission.

Marcel Dauwen, a member of the APPEL association in Assesse, who had taken all the official contacts, organized the ceremony with other volunteers. Among those, Frédéric Hermant cared for putting up panels and glass cases for an adjoining 3-day exhibition about the plane, its crew and the sad fate of Sgt Kenneth Kingsland. With more than 200 people attending, speeches were made explaining the events of 71 years before almost to the day.

The plaque was unveiled by Mr Dauwen and Ms Pamela Kemp, niece of Sgt Kingsland, who had made the trip from the United States with her husband Randy. Wreaths were laid by Mr Pierre Tasiaux, Burgomaster of Assesse (an entity of seven villages, including Florée); Colonel Scott Shepard, USAF, Air Attaché, representing the United States Embassy in Brussels; Mr Michael S. Yasenchak, Superintendent of the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz, near Liège, Belgium (where Sgt Kingsland is buried) and Mr Raphael Dyckmans, a member of the Dutch association Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven which oversees the adoptions of the graves of US war dead in the Netherlands and in Belgium, together with the Belgian association “Le Briscard” and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).

A band played both the American and the Belgian national anthems. A group of local schoolchildren recited a poem they had composed with the help of their teacher in honor of "the fallen angel". After the ceremony proper, many local people exchanged their recollections, some of watching the plane coming slowly down before it crashed, others telling they had later come to the crash scene, many evoking stories about the locals scavenging parts of the plane, recuperating pieces of parachutes, etc.

Marcel Lamy attended the ceremony as well as Jean-Marie Bothy, who was 7 at the time, the son of the doctor who administered to the wounded. A lady, Ms Vause, aged 12 in 1945, told how she too had seen the crashed Liberator and proudly showed a medallion made from parts of the B-24’s Plexiglass cockpit.

A reception was offered by the municipality at the Salle Magimpré in Florée, a few hundred meters away from the crash location. In a friendly atmosphere, people visited the exhibition and could enjoy a short music show by a trio of women in vintage uniforms who performed excellent renditions of popular wartime songs. Photos of the ceremony are included in the series of pictures on this page.


See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

A Pathfinder B-24 Liberator (V2-P+, serial number 42-51691) of the 491st Bomb Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: '491 BG supplying troops at Arnhem, Sept 1944.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: 10105080 and O2022747
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 854th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35847379
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 854th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32966605 and O-944688
  • Highest Rank: Flight Officer
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 852nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 38554536
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: 13084865 and 2061944
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot


  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Belle Ringer
  • Unit: 491st Bomb Group 493rd Bomb Group 852nd Bomb Squadron


  • Date: 14 March 1945
  • Official Description: Mission 886: 1,262 bombers and 804 fighters are dispatched to hit oil, rail and industrial targets in Germany; they claim 17-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air; 3 B-17s and 2 fighters are lost: 1. 526 B-17s are sent to hit oil refineries at Nienhagen...



Event Location Date Description


Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States 29 May 1917 the son of Harold C. and Lucy (Koch) Kingsland


Killed In Action

Florée, Belgium 14 March 1945 Severely wounded in the crash-landing of B-24 #42-51195 "Belle Ringer", he died shortly afterwards in the field where the Liberator ended its course.
Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States


in the Air Corps


Kenneth Kingsland rests at the Ardennes Cemetery, Plot B, Row 34, Grave 4.


Date20 Dec 2017 08:31:25
ChangesChanges to middlename

Added middle name

Date29 Apr 2016 15:41:40
ChangesChanges to biography

Corrected a typo and added a detail in the Biography

Date18 Apr 2016 08:11:12
ChangesChanges to biography

Corrected typo in Mr Dyckmans' name

Date18 Mar 2016 14:25:36
ChangesChanges to biography and events

Added details to BIO about the 12 March 2016 ceremony

Date26 Jan 2016 14:52:18
ChangesChanges to role, biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations

ABMC website
Data from
Contacts with niece Gigi Kemp

Date27 Sep 2014 18:18:00
ChangesAAM ingest

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

Kenneth Sage Kingsland: Gallery (15 items)