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William Joseph Hatton


1stLt. William Joseph “Bill” Hatton
BIRTH 31 May 1917
Hudson County, New Jersey, USA
DEATH 13 Apr 1943 (aged 25)
Mount Saint Mary Cemetery
Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA Show Map

William Joseph Hatton was the second youngest son of eight children born into the Irish Catholic family of Rose Ann C. McGillick and Francis Hatton. William was a 1939 graduate of Fordham, a Jesuit university in New York City. Immediately after graduation, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and was in the Ninth Regiment. He was discharged on December 1, 1941. Six days later, Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 and war was declared the following day. Bill re-enlisted in the Army Air Corp on December 16, 1941. He entered as an Aviation Cadet. After completing training at Hendrick's Field in Florida, he was made a 1st Lt. While in flight school, Bill married his hometown sweetheart, Amelia Jarsky, on September 3, 1942 in Highland County, Florida. By April 1943, he was piloting his first mission with the 8th Air Force, the 376th Bombardment Group, and the 514th Bombing Squadron, on the B-24D Liberator bomber, 'Lady Be Good' over Naples, Italy. Without fighter protection, all communication was radio silenced until the mission had been completed, so as to avoid being detected by German night fighter planes. Once the 'Lady Be Good' left it's base at Benina, Libya, she was never heard from again, except for one radio transmission to base to get a position report as they approached home.
In May 1958, plane wreckage was spotted during an aerial survey by a British oil exploration team from the D'Arcy Oil Company (later to become part of British Petroleum) in the Libyan desert. In March 1959 a D'Arcy ground geological team visited the aircraft and it was determined to be the 'Lady Be Good'. All but one of her crew members were found by February 1960. A feature article in Life Magazine about the discovery of the WWII plane and crew appeared in the March 7, 1960 issue, retracing and speculating on the events leading to the demise of the 'Lady Be Good' and her crew.

Because his remains were not found until 1960, Lt. Hatton is also listed on Tablets of the Missing on North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, but with a rosette next to his name indicating that his remains have been recovered.

Burial date into St. Marys Cemetery was March 25, 1960. Lt. Hatton's headstone is shared with his brother-in-law, Martin Rapelyea who was married to Elizabeth Hatton. No doubt the space next to Martin's name had been left for Elizabeth, however, she had remarried by the time her brother's remains were found so she would not have any need of using it, plus the grave is located next to Lt. Hatton's parents.

Lt. Col. Dennis E. McClendon, USAF, Ret. wrote about Lt. Stratton and his crew, "The dauntless courage and tenacity of these men in the face of danger, their suffering and unthinkable deprivation, will remain a high point of human achievement against the most severe adversities. The men of the 'Lady Be Good' have given desert survival schools a new gauge with which to indoctrinate their students; a measuring stick that may save other lives."
- excerpt from "Mystery Bomber of World War II The Lady Be Good"


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. ...

  • 376th Bomb Group

    376th Bomb Group

    Constituted as 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Oct 1942 and activated in Palestine on 31 Oct. Began combat immediately, using B-24 aircraft. Operated with Ninth AF from bases in the Middle East, Nov 1942-Sep 1943, and with Twelfth AF from Tunisia...

  • 514th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24301 'Lady Be Good'

    B-24 Liberator
    The 'Lady Be Good', # 41-24301, was an American B-24D Liberator, which flew for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Based at Soluch Field in Soluch, today Suluq and Benina International Airport, Libya, as part of the 8th Air Force,...

Associated Place

  • Benina

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
15 December 2020 08:34:39 Kickapoo Changes to biography

Lady be Good 9airplane) - Wikipedia

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2020 20:31:22 Kickapoo Changes to biography and awards

FindAGrave - Lt. William Joseph Hatton

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2020 19:44:18 Kickapoo Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations

Fold3 - 1stLt. William J. Stratton ---- FindAGrave - Lt. William Joseph Stratton