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William Wyatt Patton Jr


William Patton Jr was killed in action (KIA) on 15 January 1945 while flying weather recon in a P-51 Mustang in the 3rd Scouting Force detached to the 388th Bomb Group / 560th Bomb Squadron. Posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart. Patton's remains were not found until February 2001, when a French farmer turning the soil for planting uncovered the plane with the body of the pilot. E. Richard Atkins (Lt. Col. USAF - Ret.) has written a book about him : "The Long Wait - The Story of William Wyatt Patton Jr - 3rd Scouting Force - 8th USAAF - Missing in Action - 1945 / Found 2001" (AuthorHouse 2017). See also the French website dedicated to the memory of "Junior" Patton at


Units served with

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 3rd Scouting Force

    3rd Scouting Force

    The 3rd Scouting Force was unique in that it operated P-51s and B-17s simultaneously, flying weather reconnaissance and escort missions for the 8th Air Force's Bomb Groups. ...

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

  • 560th Bomb Squadron


  • 44-15331

    P-51 Mustang
    The plane was discovered in 2001, with pilot William W. Patton's remains. These were brought back to the USA. See the French website at :


  • 794

    15 January 1945

Associated Place

  • Wormingford

    Military site : airfield
    Wormingford was a Royal Flying Corps/RAF anti-Zeppelin aircraft Landing Ground First World War, rebuilt for the Eighth Air Force 1942-43. It was a Ninth Air Force base from 1943-44, and home to the 362nd Fighter Group. Switching back to the Eighth Air...


Event Location Date
Born Stella, MO, USA 10 January 1918

the son of William W. and Rhoda (Gold) Patton

Killed in action La Longueville, France 15 January 1945

Believed to have spun-in during adverse weather conditions. Remains not discovered until 22nd February 2001.

Buried Springfield, MO, USA November 2001

Remains returned to US and buried at the Sprinfield National Cemetery in Springfield, Greene County, Missouri


Date Contributor Update
27 February 2019 14:58:11 general ira snapsorter Changes to events and unit associations

Date Contributor Update
20 February 2019 10:44:53 ED-BB Changes to middlename, biography, events, place associations and mission associations

MACR 11919

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2014 16:41:40 Pyker Changes to nickname and events

Updated known details and deleted reference to being buried at Ardennes American Cemetery.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:52 AAM AAM ingest

ABMC, 388th BG Newsletter Spring 2001 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list