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Willis J Cherry

Military

Assigned to 368FS, 359FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) ramrod Lisieux hit by flak in Vicinity St Marent crashed near Sommery on 8 Aug 44 in P-51B 42-106577 Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 7781.

Lt. Willis J. Cherry, of Cleveland Heights, OH, enlisted in Cleveland on 27 November 1942. Joining the 368th Fighter Squadron on 16 June 1944, Lt. Cherry was shot down and captured 8 August 1944 while flying his 23rd combat mission with the 359th Fighter Group. A POW in Stalag 7-A in Moosburg, Lt. Cherry was liberated on 27 April 1945.

A large German concentration -- 25 FW-190s at 17,000 ft. with 30 more as top cover -- was encountered by eight planes of the 368th on the 8th during area patrol SE of Caen during the saturation bombing of the Wehrmacht positions in front of the British lines, Radio calls for help were garbled, and the rest of the group went on to their briefed strafing, while the 368th section, led by Forehand, got a score of 1-1-3 for the loss of Lt. John C. Allen, who had been so lucky on his lonely ride back from Denmark chronicled last month. W.J. Cherry, also of the 368th, was NYR on this mission, believed lost to light flak during the strafing. Of the air score, 1-0-2 was compiled by John S. Keesey, a mild-mannered, sandy-haired boy who began “to look like another Booth”. ~ Excerpt from the 359th Fighter Group History.

Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

Service

Units served with

  • 359th Fighter Group

    359th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 359th Fighter Group flew 346 missions from East Wretham between December 1943 and April 1945. In the main these missions were escorting bombers flying over occupied Europe. The Group, soon after converting from Thunderbolts to Mustangs, were...

  • 368th Fighter Squadron

    368th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 11 September 1944.

Aircraft

  • 42-106577

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 368FS, 359FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) ramrod Lisieux hit by flak in Vicinity St Marent crashed near Sommery on 8 Aug 44 2Lt Willis J Cherry Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 7781.

Associated Place

  • East Wretham

    Military site : airfield
    East Wretham was not improved to Class A standard. It retained its shorter runways, although eventually pierced-steel planking was laid to make take offs and landings easier for the Thunderbolt, and then Mustang, pilots. Steel matting was also laid to...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Cleveland Heights, Ohio 16 August 1923
Lived in Cuyahoga County, OH, USA 1941
Enlisted Cleveland, OH, USA 27 November 1942
Based East Wretham 14 June 1944 – 8 August 1944

Assigned to 368FS, 359FG, 8AF USAAF.

Baled out 76440 Sommery, France 8 August 1944

Failed to Return (FTR) ramrod Lisieux hit by flak in Vicinity St Marent crashed near Sommery on 8 Aug 44 in P-51B 42-106577 Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 7781.

Prisoner of War (POW) Barth, Germany 8 August 1944 – May 1945

Prisoner of War (POW). Stalag Luft I.

Buried Meadowlawn Memorial Gardens, 4244 Madison St, New Port Richey, FL 34652, USA April 2006

Meadowlawn Memorial Gardens New Port Richey
Pasco County, FL

Died New Port Richey, FL, USA 6 April 2006

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2018 19:53:40 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/record/70721359-willis-j-cherry
https://www.fold3.com/page/84219366-willis-j-cherry/facts
https://www.fold3.com/image/29437935
http://littlefriends.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Cherry&Submit=Search
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33696966/willis-j.-cherry

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:55 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 7781 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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