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William M Buttner


William "Bill" M. Buttner grew up an only child in the St. Louis, Missouri area. His parents divorced when he was 14 years old and Bill and his mother relocated to her native Twin Falls, Idaho. In 1937, Bill was sent to the New Mexico Military Institute, a military boarding school located in Roswell, New Mexico.

Buttner was commissioned in June, 1942 as a 2nd Lt. of the Calvary upon graduation. In April, 1943, his request to transfer to the Army Air Corps was accepted and in January, 1944 he was awarded his silver wings as a pilot with the class of 44-A at Luke Field, Arizona.

Following advanced P-47 training at Harding Field, Louisiana, Buttner shipped out to England in April, 1944 on the Queen Mary. After arrival, he was assigned to the 411th Fighter Squadron of the 373rd Fighter Group.

Around noon August 15, 1944, an intense air battle took place between a squadron of American P-47's from the 373rd FG/411 FS and "about 30" Luftwaffe FW-190's southwest of Paris.

The P-47 of the newly promoted 1st. Lt. William M. Buttner, one of three P-47's from the 411th FS shot down that afternoon, crashed in the forest near La Celle Les Bordes (LCLB).

On August 16, locals buried Buttner's then unidentified remains in the LCLB cemetery adjacent to the graves of three RAF crewmembers killed June 8, 1944 when their Lancaster bomber was shot down in the same area.

It was only after the war the local burial records and serial numbers from the .50-caliber machine guns found at the crash site confirmed the pilot to be Lt. Buttner. At the request of his mother, his remains were brought to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1949.


Units served with


  • 42-75510

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    5 August 1944, whilst escorting bombers the aircraft, flown by William M Buttner, became detached from the rest of the Squadron when under fire from enemy aircraft. ...


Event Location Date
Born St. Louis, Missouri 27 February 1923
Enlisted Roswell, New Mexico 2 June 1942
Died Near La Celle Les Bordes, France 15 August 1944
Buried Twin Falls, Idaho 20 June 1949


Date Contributor Update
13 February 2015 17:26:29 PastPilots44 Changes to biography

MACR 8573
"Heroes of Harding Field" - by William Spedale
Buttner Family Information - provided by C. Rice and B. Carmody
La Celle Les Bordes Information - provided by F. Ydier and T. Boche
Buttner Crashsite Information - provided by T. Boche

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2015 17:20:34 PastPilots44 Changes to biography, awards and events

MACR 8573
Buttner Family History (provided by C. Rice and B. Carmody)
La Celle Les Bordes Information (provided by F. Ydier)
Crashsite Information (provided by T. Boche)
"Heroes of Harding Field" by William A Spedale

Date Contributor Update
10 February 2015 00:09:40 PastPilots44 Changes to biography and events

MACR 8573 - Buttner
Official Records - La Celle Les Bordes (courtesy F. Ydier)
US Graves Administration
King Memorial at Clairefontaine (courtesty J. Huon)

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2015 17:18:02 Terry63 Changes to nickname and biography


Date Contributor Update
09 February 2015 15:00:52 Emily Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and aircraft associations

MACR 8573

US Headstone appilcation for Military Veterans

Find a Grave