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William J Gaffney


Killed in service in A/C #42-5791 flying through overcast, plane crashed into a mountain while on a non-operational mission to transport crew members who had completed tours of duty to another field for return to the US.


Units served with

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 334th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-39883

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 29/9/43; Gr Island 22/10/43; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-O] Horham 11/11/43; (5m) returning from Noball mission 24/12/43 landed in poor visibility too far down the runway and nosed up, after clipping another B-17 (42-30233), with Jim...

  • 42-5791 'Ruthless'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 31/1/43; Salina 14/2/43; Kearney 12/3/43; Brookley 27/3/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-E] Horham 19/4/43; 412BS [QW-S]; 5m, transferred AFSC 6/43; on personnel ferry to Southport 29/12/43 with Alden Witt, Co-pilot: Bill Gaffney,...


Event Location Date
Born Missouri
Killed in service North Wales 29 December 1943


Date Contributor Update
19 July 2020 21:00:18 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Corrected a typo in the "Summary biography".

Date Contributor Update
18 July 2020 22:29:45 jmoore43 Changes to events

Changed label for Died event to "Killed in service" per info in the "Summary biography",

Date Contributor Update
04 July 2020 04:00:03 jmoore43 Changes to service number

Added S/N per records at

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2020 21:50:07 jmoore43 Changes to biography

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

Date Contributor Update
18 January 2017 11:19:28 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography, events and aircraft associations

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:17 AAM AAM ingest

Combat Chronology Supplement, Operational Handbook of the 95th BG by Andrews, p. 102, 129, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol.  I, p. 443 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia