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William Wilks Burns II


William Burns served as a fighter pilot. First assigned to the 495 Fighter Training Group, he then transferred to the 361FS of the 356FG, 8AF USAAF.

Later, transferred to 555FTS, 496FTG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 495FTG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5ERS. End of War (EOW).

Awards: AM (6OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (1 x Battle Stars).


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. ...

  • 356th Fighter Group

    356th Fighter Group

    The 356th Fighter Group flew 413 missions between 15 October 1943 and 7 May 1945 and suffered the highest ratio of losses to enemy aircraft claims of any Eighth Air Force Group. This gave the Group the reputation of being the 'hard luck' outfit. The...

  • 495th Fighter Training Group

    495th Fighter Training Group

    The 495th Fighter Training Group, which operated in England from December 1943, trained P-47 Thunderbolt pilots. These pilots, who had received the basic training in the USA would be assigned to a training group to practise ETO operational procedures...

  • 496th Fighter Training Group

    496th Fighter Training Group

    Activated as 496th Fighter Training Group on 11 December 1943 at Greencastle by VIII Composite Command. ...

  • 361st Fighter Squadron
  • 555th Fighter Training Squadron
  • 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron

Associated Place

  • Boxted

    Military site : airfield
    Boxted was built for heavy bombers and became operational from May 1943. In the few months B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group were stationed there, there were two night attacks by the Luftwaffe. On 17 August 1943, one man was killed when bombs...

  • Goxhill

    Military site : airfield
    Goxhill opened in June 1941 as an RAF Bomber Command airfield, before being handed over to RAF Fighter Command in December. The Eighth Air Force took ownership in August 1942, and used the airfield, which they quickly dubbed 'Goat Hill' for operational...

  • Halesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Halesworth was constructed in 1942-1943. Initially planned as a bomber airfield, its location close to the Suffolk coast meant that it was in an ideal position to operate escort fighters, where range was a critical factor. Consequently, the 56th...

  • Martlesham Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield...


Event Location Date
Born Selma, Dallas County, AL 29 August 1921
Lived in Selma, AL, USA 1941
Enlisted Craig Air Field, Selma, AL 36701, USA 28 May 1942

Craig Field, Selma, Alabama

Based Goxhill 1944 – 21 March 1944

Assigned to 495FTG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Martlesham Heath 21 March 1944 – 21 July 1944

Transferred to 361FS, 356FG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Goxhill 21 July 1944 – 23 January 1945

Transferred to 555FTS, 496FTG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Goxhill 23 January 1945 – 8 February 1945

Transferred to 495FTG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Halesworth 8 February 1945 – May 1945

Transferred to 5ERS.

End of War (EOW) England, UK May 1945

End of War (EOW).

Died 3 October 1974
Buried Live Oak Cemetery Selma, Dallas County, AL 6 October 1974

Live Oak Cemetery
Dallas County, Alabama


Date Contributor Update
24 November 2021 17:21:12 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, suffix, biography, awards and events

Date Contributor Update
29 November 2017 14:52:15 Lucy May Changes to biography

Brought in source from duplicate record: 356 FG Assoc data / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Date Contributor Update
12 August 2017 09:21:15 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:50 AAM AAM ingest

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list