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William J Thompson


Originally assigned to the 303BG/359BS as an Aerial Gunner at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho on 19-Feb-42. However, he was reassigned to the 97BG prior to 303BG's deployment to Molesworth in September 1942. Date of reassignment not determined.

Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24344 while serving as a Waist Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA).


Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron
  • 414th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24344

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bovingdon 20-Aug-42; 414BS/97BG Polebrook 28-Aug-42; Missing in Action on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. This was 97th's first mission 21-Oct-42, shot down and crashed Plouescat, near Morlaix, France. 8KIA 2POW...


  • VIII Bomber Command 15

    21 October 1942
    German U-Boat pens are Lorient, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission along with the German airfield at Cherbourg, France. 93BG despatches 24-B-24s to Lorient, but cloud cover prevents them from bombing. The main attack force to Lorient...

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...


Event Location Date
Born Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA
Killed in Action (KIA) Plouescat, France 21 October 1942

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 15352 only indicates that he was MIA. However, testimony from 1Lt. Robert E. Jackson, in that MACR record, said that a German officer showed him the ID tags of 5 of the 8 KIAs in this crew and indicated that three others were unidentified but claimed that all the KIAs had been recovered and buried.


Date Contributor Update
19 November 2014 23:25:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events and unit associations

Lee Cunningham 19-Nov-2014. The association with the 303BG was originally ingested from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth AIr Force, Savannah, Georgia resulting in a DUPLICATE entry, that information has been COMBINED into this single entry. The association with 303BG in the Summary Biography has been confirmed by Mr. Gary Moncur, the website historian of the 303BG, via an e-mail inquiry of Mr. Moncur by Mr. Cunningham.

Date Contributor Update
28 October 2014 18:13:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to mission associations

Lee Cunningham 28-Oct-2014. Correction to mission association.

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 21:28:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, biography, events, place associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 15352.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:24 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 15352 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database