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James Maitland Stewart


Hollywood screen actor James Stewart interrupted his successful film career to join the Air Corps in 1941. Aware of publicity value for the war effort, the US authorities tried to stifle Stewart's desire to fly combat missions and assigned him to a series of quiet postings. Stewart, however, persisted and by late 1943 he was commander of the 703rd Bomb Squadron, 445th Bomb Group, at Tibenham, Norfolk, flying B-24 Liberators.

Stewart flew 20 combat missions over Germany, gaining the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal before being transferred as Group Operations Officer to the 453rd Bomb Group in early 1944.

Returning to the USA after the war with the rank of Colonel, Stewart resumed his acting career but retained his links with the USAF by joining the Reserve. In this capacity he later took part in combat missions over North Vietnam before retiring in 1968 as a Brigadier General.

He was the winner of an Oscar in 1941 for The Philadelphia Story

In Memoriam

'Continued appreciation is expressed to all the dedicated and self sacrificing airmen whose bravery is held in reverence.'
Remembered by Peggy J Martin, Phenix City, AL.



  • Philip Ardery

    Military | Major General | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Silver Star/ 2 DFCs/ 4 Air Medals/ Croix de Guerre. ...

  • James Dowling

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier, Bombardier; Navigator | 445th Bomb Group
    1944 Prisoner of War (POW), Stalag Luft I Shot down on 9/27/44 on Kassel mission in B-24 'Frigid Bridget' #42-51342 ...

  • John Green

    Military | Major | Pilot | 25th Bomb Group
    John "Jack" William Green, IV was born in Manila, Philippines, on October 16, 1920, where his father, Colonel John W. Green, III, U.S. Army, a veteran of three [sic, five] wars, was serving as Chief of Police of Manila at the time of Jack's birth...

  • Melvin Hecker

    Military | Major | Assistant Operations Officer | 381st Bomb Group
    Commercial pilot at age 18 in Chicago, IL. Enlisted January 5, 1942. Pinned wings at Ellington Field, TX Oct, 1942 (42-J). Original Pilot with 535th & 532nd Sqd, 381st BG, later Ops Officer with 701st Sqd, 445th BG, attended C&GSS late 1944, later...

  • Walter Pearce

    Military | Master Sergeant | Full-Track Driver | 453rd Bomb Group
    Ground crew for Jimmy Stewart's aircraft.

  • Edward Timberlake

    Military | Brigadier General | Commanding General | 453rd Bomb Group
    From FindAGrave: ...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 2nd Combat Bomb Wing
  • 445th Bomb Group

    445th Bomb Group

    The 445th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Tibenham, Norfolk. The crews' first mission was bombing U-boat installations at Kiel on 13 December 1943. The Group continued to hit strategic targets in Germany, including the aircraft components factory...

  • 453rd Bomb Group

    453rd Bomb Group

    As well as strategic bombardment missions, the 453rd Bomb Group also ferried cargo on two occasions. They hauled petrol, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944 and dropped ammunition, food and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne...

  • 703rd Bomb Squadron


  • 8th Air Force 226 BIG WEEK - DAY 1

    20 February 1944
    This mission is the opening salvo of the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive known officially as "Operation Argument" but remembered in 8th Air Force History as "BIG WEEK". The immediate strategic objective of this six-day operation is the degradation of...

  • 8th Air Force 235 BIG WEEK - DAY 6

    25 February 1944
    On this final operation of BIG WEEK, Day 6, a combined force of 754 heavy bombers from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions are despatched to bomb the German aircraft industries at Regensburg, Augsburg, Stuttgart and Furth, Germany. Mission Summary follows: ...

Associated Place

  • Old Buckenham

    Military site : airfield
    Allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a bomber base in 1942, Old Buckenham was built during 1942-43 with three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. The station was the exclusive home for the 453rd Bomb Group, equipped...

  • Tibenham

    Military site : airfield
    Tibenham was built in 1941-1942 by W and C French Ltd with a standard 2,000 yard main runway, and two other runways both 1,400 feet in length. Accommodation was provided for a full USAAF heavy bomber group in dispersed sites. Personnel of the 320th...

  • American Air Museum

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born Indiana, Pennsylvania 20 May 1908

The son of Elizabeth Ruth (née Jackson; March 16, 1875 – August 2, 1953) and Alexander Maitland Stewart (May 19, 1871 – December 28, 1961).

Enlisted February 1941
Buried Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA July 1997

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Died Beverley Hills, California 2 July 1997

Died of a pulmonary embolism.


Date Contributor Update
10 March 2021 18:05:59 jmoore43 Changes to mission associations

Added an association to the 8th AF Bomber Command Mission #226 for 20 Feb 1944 per pg. 5 in the book “Blood and Fears” by Kevin Wilson.

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2020 22:25:37 jmoore43 Changes to mission associations

Added a connection to 8th AF mission #235 for 25 Feb 1944 per info in the book "Big Week" by James Holland.

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2020 22:47:38 jmoore43 Changes to unit associations

Added a connection to 8th AF.

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2020 22:45:08 jmoore43 Changes to events

Added Enlistment per data on Wikipedia & burial events per data at Find-a-grave MEMORIAL ID 1816 .

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2020 22:33:54 jmoore43 Changes to awards

Updated awards per data on Wikipedia.

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2019 02:59:54 Dieterle Changes to person associations

Philip Ardery, Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky: 1978) 221.

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2019 02:57:44 Dieterle Changes to events

Starr Smith, Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot (St. Paul: Voyageur Press, 2006).

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2019 00:21:28 Dieterle Changes to person associations

Philip Ardery, Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky: 1978) 199-200.

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2015 10:51:56 Emily Changes to media associations

Associated Freeman Collection Media and selected Key image

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2014 16:53:23 Emily Changes to nickname and memoriam

Peggy J Martin, via American Air Museum Memory Book Correspondence.

Date Contributor Update
30 September 2014 10:28:53 PhillWray Changes to biography and awards

Biography updated from AAM caption info.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:45 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Who's Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45; In Search of Peace, pg 107 (photo)