Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Earle Joseph Aber Jr


Flew B-17 #42-37516. Dropped leaflets at night over enemy occupied territory. Col Aber's remains were found in May 2002 in the river Stour at Harwick. He was buried on 5/10/02 at Cambridge American Cemetery. The airplane was the Tondelayo. The 406th was a night leaflet squadron. He was hit by anti-aircraft fire from the British positions engaging enemy aircraft in the vicinity.

In Memoriam

'Lt Col. Earle Aber, former commander of the 406th Bomb Squadron was shot down on 4th March 1945 as he and his crew were crossing the channel following a night mission in a B-17 named Tondelayo. He and his Co-pilot continued to fly the badly damaged aircraft so that 9 other crew members could parachute to safety. The Aircraft then burst in to flame and dove in to a sand bank in the River Stour. Parts of the aircraft were recovered many years later. Body parts are buried at Madingley and Arlington National Cemetery'
Remembered by Maj Gen Walter R Longanecker Jr, Annapolis, MD


Units served with

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 801st Bomb Group

    801st Bomb Group

    The 801st Bomb Group was established as part of the Eighth Air Force in late March 1944 to carry out 'Carpetbagger' missions. These were night missions over France and other parts of occupied Europes to support resistance forces by dropping in agents,...

  • 406th Bomb Squadron
  • 422nd Bomb Squadron


  • 43-37516 'Tondelayo'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 25/4/44; Hunter 4/5/44; Dow Fd 25/5/44; Assigned 422BS/305BG [JJ-T] Chelveston 4/6/44; transferred 858BS Cheddington 26/6/44; on NLS mission over Holland 4/3/45 with Lt Col Earl Aber (Sqd CO), cp Maurice Harper both died when...

Associated Place

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...


Event Location Date
Born Racine, Wisconsin 20 June 1919
Killed In Action River Stour, Harwich, UK 4 March 1945
Buried 5 October 2001

Plot F
Row 3
Grave 125

On March 4, 1945 a B17 piloted by Lt. Col. Earle J. Aber, Jr., crashed into the North Sea. While most of the crew bailed out, he and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Maurice J. Harper, both lost their life that day. A search after the crash only produced limited remains belonging to Aber. His family chose to have these recovered remains interred at Cambridge American Cemetery. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, further remains were recovered from the crash site. Some of the remains were positively identified as belonging to Aber, some were positively identified as belonging to Harper, and some could not be positively identified. The remains of Aber were added to his gravesite at Cambridge American Cemetery. The remains of Harper were buried in a private cemetery in the United States at the request of his family, and the comingled remains that could not be identified were interred together at Arlington National Cemetery.


Date Contributor Update
08 December 2020 23:59:04 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, service number, role, events and place associations

Date Contributor Update
21 May 2020 19:29:37 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Corrected misspelling of the river "Stour" in the "Summary biography".

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2020 15:10:23 Joe Jones Changes to biography, awards and events

American Battle Monuments Commission

Date Contributor Update
05 November 2014 16:53:11 Emily Changes to memoriam

Walter R Longanecker Jr, via American Air Museum Memory book correspondence.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:08:02 AAM AAM ingest

8th AF News, June 2000 8thAF News Sept 2002 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia