The Arrowhead Club

William Douglas Barnes, Jr, Update

William Douglas Barnes, Jr.

New information from a new search on, and new information from military records have provided me with some new and updated information regarding William Douglas Barnes, Jr., original bombardier of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII. 

To view my original post and other information about William Barnes, please see the links at the end of this post.

Barnes Family

William Douglas Barnes, Jr. was the son of William Douglas Barnes, Sr. (1884 – 1965) and Carrie M. Vandegrift Barnes (1887 – 1970). William Jr. was born on 20 May 1919 in Charleston Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.

In 1920, the Barnes family lived on a farm on Elk Run Road in Charleston Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. William Sr. was a farmer. William Sr. was 35, Carrie was 33, and William Jr. was only 7 months old at the time of the census on January 2 or 3, 1920. Both William Sr. and Carrie were born in Pennsylvania. William Sr’s parents were born in New York and Carrie’s parents were born in Pennsylvania.

By 1930, the family had moved to Eastmanville Street in Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. The Barnes’s second son, Charles Franklin, had been born 29 October 1920 and was now nine years old. In 1930, William Sr. was a machinist in a condensery and Carrie was a clerk in a dry goods store. William Jr. may have been called by his middle name “Douglas” as he is listed on the census as “W. Douglas” and was 10 years old.

In 1940, the family lived in Hastings, Barry County, Michigan at 135 S. Jeff Street. They moved to Hastings some time after 1935. William Sr. was a pattern storage foreman for a press and tool manufacturer. Carrie was no longer working outside the home. William Jr., at 20, was a commercial teller for a city bank. Younger brother Charles was a clock repairman and salesman for a jewelry store.

Charles was the first of the Barnes boys to enlist in the Army Air Corps on January 10, 1942. William Jr. enlisted in the Air Corps a few months later, on May 21, 1942. Born only about a year apart, the brothers must have been very close.

Education and Civilian Employment prior to Military Service

William Barnes attended Michigan State College for two years with a major in Civil Engineering, leaving in 1943 for military service in WWII.

Entry into WWII Military Service

Draft Registration

On 16 October 1940, William Barnes registered for the WWII draft at Local Board No. 1 at the Post Office Building in Hastings, Barry County, Michigan. He listed his place of residence as 135 W. Walnut in Hastings, Barry County, Michigan. William’s Employer’s Name was Hastings City Bank and place of employment was 102 E. State St., Hastings, Barry Co., Michigan. He was 21 years old and born on 20 May 1919 in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.

William Douglas Barnes (William Jr’s father) of 135 Walnut of Hastings, Michigan was the person who would always know his address.

Barnes described himself as 6′ 1/2″ tall, 160 pounds, with gray eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. He noted no “other obvious physical characteristic that will aid in identification.”


On 21 May 1942, William enlisted in the Reserve Corps at East Lansing, Michigan for Air Force (Enl. for Aviation Cadet Trng. – Air Crew). He was deferred to 18 June 1945. William’s enlistment record notes his residence as Barry County, Michigan, and that he was born in Pennsylvania in 1919. His Army Serial Number at the time of enlistment was 16082587. Note: Officers were reassigned with a new serial number when they were commissioned and William’s later become O-768921.

Note: William’s enlistment record is found in the Reserve Corps Records, rather than in the Enlistment Records file, link below.

On 16 March 1943, William Barnes was called to Active Duty in Decatur, Illinois for AAFCC, SAACC, San Antonio, Texas, D & 6 Mos. (Duration of war plus six months) for service in the Army Air Forces.

On his enlistment record form, Barnes indicated he was born in Wellsboro (the county seat of Tioga County), Pennsylvania and was 23 years 11 months old. At the time of his enlistment, Barnes had completed 1 year of college and was single, having no one dependent on him for support.

Military Training

William Barnes attended and passed AAF Preflight School (Pilot) at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center in San Antonio, Texas, reporting on 10 May 1943 for Class 44-A. His disposition was SAACCSO 149 23 June 1943, 9th AAFFTD, Fort Stockton, Texas.

After failing to meet the prescribed standards of flying, Aviation Cadet William D. Barnes, Jr., ASN 16082587 of Class No. 44-A was released from Pilot training at AAF Contract Flying School (Primary) in Fort Stockton, Texas, and was reclassified for Bombardier or Navigator training on 26 July 1943.

He was transferred on 29 July 1943 per par 1, SO #139, this Hqs., to San Antonio Cadet Center in San Antonio, Texas for further air crew training in Navigator.

Even though Barnes was transferred to Navigator training, on 26 February 1944, his records indicate he graduated from Bombardier School at Deming Army Air Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Class #44-03, 26 February 1944 and appointed a 2nd Lieutenant on this date.

The “Report of Entry on Active Duty” noted,

Authority: Par. 1, S.O. 48, Hq. AAF Bomb. Sch., DAAF, Deming, N.M.

Reported for active duty 26 February 1944

In a Personnel Placement Questionnaire, William Barnes noted his chronological service as,

  • 9/15/41 to 3/10/43 – Student, ROTC (CAC)
  • 3/16/43 to 4/19/43 – Classification
  • 4/19/43 to 6/28/43 – Pre-flight
  • 6/28/43 to 7/28/43 – Primary
  • 7/28/43 to 8/26/43 – Re-classification
  • 8/26/43 to 10/23/43 – Gunnery
  • 10/23/43 to 2/26/44 – Bomb. (Bombardier training)

Combat Duty with the 384th Bomb Group

William Barnes’ 384th Bomb Group Individual Sortie record indicates that his duty was Bombardier, one month’s pay was $247.50, and his home address was Mr. William Douglas Barnes, 135 W. Walnut St., Hastings, Mich.

William was credited with thirty-five missions with the 384th Bomb Group, for which he earned an Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters. His first mission was on 7 August 1944 and his last was on 28 December 1944.

William Douglas Barnes, Jr. served as a Bombardier on his first fifteen missions and as a Navigator on his last twenty missions with the 384th Bomb Group.

Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group and other military documents indicate the following for William Douglas Barnes, Jr.

  • On 26 JULY 1944, 2nd Lt. William D. Barnes, Jr. was assigned to the 545th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated 26 July 1944 as a Bombardier with the MOS (military operational specialty) of 1035, of the James Joseph Brodie crew.
  • The 13 SEPTEMBER 1944 mission was William Barnes’ last with the Brodie crew. Between 13 September 1944 and 17 October 1944, Barnes retrained as a Navigator. After the 13 SEPTEMBER 1944 mission, the Brodie crew was assigned a Togglier instead of a Bombardier.
  • On 7 OCTOBER 1944, William Barnes went from duty to sick quarters (LD). [Note: In a “Physical Examination for Flying” dated 19 February 1945, as a “Returnee from Overseas,” Barnes’ Medical History notes that the cause was – Oct. 1944, frostbite, all toes, hospitalized 7 days, England; no sequelae (no previous disease or injury).”]
  • On 11 OCTOBER 1944, William Barnes went from sick quarters (LD) to duty.
  • On 26 NOVEMBER 1944, per SO 323 of the HQ 8th AAF, William Barnes was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
  • On 29 NOVEMBER 1944, William Barnes was ordered on seven days Temporary Duty to Stanbridge Earls, AAF Station 503 (a Flak house) to carry out the instructions of the Commanding General per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #234 dated 28 NOVEMBER 1944.
  • In DECEMBER 1944, William Barnes was hospitalized from food poisoning for 3 days. [Note: On the same “Physical Examination for Flying” dated 19 February 1945 (as the above 7 OCTOBER 1944 entry), as a “Returnee from Overseas,” Barnes’ Medical History notes that in Dec. 1944, he suffered from food poisoning, hospitalized 3 days, England; no sequelae (no previous disease or injury).”]
  • On 4 JANUARY 1945, William Barnes was relieved from assignment and transferred to the Casual Pool 70th Replacement Depot Station 594 30 DECEMBER 1944 per 5 SO 365 HQ 1st BD departed 0800 hours 4 JANUARY 1945 (Completed tour).

Return to the States

William’s Return from Overseas/Completion of Operational Tour of Duty was 13 January 1945.

Upon William Barnes’ return to the States following his combat duty, he attended a Bombardier refresher course and the Army Air Forces Instructors School (Bombardier) at Midland Army Air Field in Midland, Texas from 12 March 1945 to 12 May 1945. He successfully completed the course of instruction with Class 445 Instructor.

Release from WWII Military Service

William Douglas Barnes, Jr. was honorably discharged from the military service of the United States of America on 4 November 1945 at Hq. 4268-AAFBU Separation Ctr., San Bernardino Army Air Field, San Bernardino, California.

Honorable Discharge and Military Record and Report of Separation

His separation record listed his Military History,

  • His Grade was 1st Lt.
  • His Date of Entry into Active Service was 26 Feb 1944
  • His Date of Separation was 4 Nov 1945
  • Military Occupational Specialty and No. – Bombardier 1035
  • Battles and Campaigns – Northern France, Germany
  • Decorations and Citations – Air Medal w/5 OLC, ETO Ribbon w/2 Bronze Stars
  • Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return – listed below…
  • Wounds Received in Action – None
  • Total Length of Continental Service – 1 year, 1 month, and 23 days
  • Total Length of Foreign Service – 0 years, 6 months, and 15 days
  • Reason and Authority for Separation – RR 1-5 Demob. & Par 1, SO 229, Hq Midland AAFld, Midland, Tex. dtd 26 Sep 45
  • Service Schools Attended – AAFAFS, Deming, N.M. 4 1/2 mo. Adv. Bmbr. Tng; Combat Crew School 8th AF England, 2 wks Combat Procedures & Equip; MAAF, Midland, Texas, 1 1/2 mo Bmbdr Refresher Course; MAAF Midland, Texas, 3 wks Bmbdr Instr. Course.
  • Remarks – Rated Aircraft Observer (Bombardier) P1, PO9, AAFWFTC, Santa Ana, California, 26 February 44 Eff 26 Feb 44. Fly. Stat. P2, PO 9, Hq AAFWFTC, Santa Ana, Calif. 26 Feb 44.

Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return

  • Departure from U.S.
    • Date of Departure 28 Jun 44
    • Destination ETO
    • Date of Arrival 5 Jul 44
  • Departure from ETO
    • Date of Departure 11 Jan 45
    • Destination USA
    • Date of Arrival 13 Jan 45

William Barnes’ Separation Record noted his Military Occupational Assignments,

  • 21 months, Grade 1st Lt., Military Occupational Specialty – Bombardier 1035

The Summary of his Military Occupations noted,

  • BOMBARDIER: Operated bombsight and mechanical equipment in heavy bombardment aircraft – B-17. Proficiency in navigating over long distances. Proficiency in mathematics requisites in bombing and navigating.

William Barnes’ Military Education (combined with more detail from other documentation) noted,

  • AAFPFS, San Antonio, Texas. Mos. 2-1/4, Successfully completed June 1943, Preflight Pilot Training.
  • AFFTD, Ft. Stockton, Texas. Mos. 2-1/4, Not Successfully completed July 1943, Primary Pilot Training. (Insufficient Progress).
  • AAFGS, Kingman, Arizona. Mos 1-1/2, Successfully completed October 1943, Flexible Gunnery Training.
  • AAFAFS, Deming, New Mexico. Mos. 4-1/2, Successfully completed February 1944, Advanced Bombr Training.
  • Combat Crew School 8 AF, England. Mos. 1/3. Successfully completed July 1944, Combat Procedures and Equipment.
  • MAAF, Midland, Texas. Mos. 1 1/2, Successfully completed 21 April 1945. Bmbdr Refresher Course.
  • MAAF, Midland, Texas. Mos. 3/4, Successfully completed 12 May 1945, Bmbdr Instructor Course.

Civilian Education noted,

  • Highest grade completed – 2 Yrs College
  • Degrees or diploma – None
  • Year left school – 1943
  • Name and address of last school attended – Michigan State College, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Major courses of study – Civil Engineering

Civilian Occupations noted,

  • STUDENT: Prior to service entrance in Mar 1943, pursued studies leading to BS degree.
  • BANK TELLER: Was a Bank Savings Teller, 4 years and 3 months, prior to attending college. (Noted in his Personnel Placement Questionnaire, chronological service as from June 1937 to September 1941, Savings Teller with the Hastings City Bank of Hastings, Michigan.)

Additional Information noted,

Flew 15 mission as a bombardier overseas in 8 AF in Europe and 20 missions as navigator. Letters of commendation as a Radar Orientation Officer by B.K. Yount, Lt. Gen., AAF Tng Command and from R.G. Breene, Maj. Gen., CO AAF Central Flying Tng Command.

Post-World War II

I have been able to find very little information about William Douglas Barnes, Jr. after he was released from military service in late 1945. I do not know if he married and had children or remained single.

Of the two items I have found, I know that,

  • According to the 1947 Hastings, Michigan City Directory, Douglas Barnes was a student living with his parents, William and Carrie Barnes, at the home address of 135 W. Walnut. I assume, but may not be correct, that he returned to Michigan State College in East Lansing, Michigan to complete his degree in Civil Engineering.
  • William Douglas Barnes, Jr. died on 6 December 6 1990 at the age of 71. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Hastings, Barry County, Michigan. His parents are also buried in the same cemetery.

I did not find William Douglas Barnes, Jr. in the 1950 Federal census. I also did not find him in any subsequent Hastings, Michigan city directories, although I found his parents still living in Hastings in 1959 at the new address of 619 E. Colfax.

I did find a marriage record for William’s younger brother, Charles Franklin Barnes. Charles married Dorothea E. Kolch on October 22, 1950 in Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan. Charles died in Winter Park, Florida in 2005. Charles and Dorothea had at least one child, a daughter named Sharon Katherine Barnes Coe (1955 – 2015).

I would love to learn more about the post-WWII life of 384th Bomb Group bombardier William Douglas Barnes, Jr. and request that any family members who run across this post, please contact me if you have information to share.


Previous post, William D. Barnes, Jr.

Previous post, More Information About William D. Barnes, Jr.

William Barnes’ Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

William Barnes’ Enlistment Record in the online National Archives (in the Reserve Corps records)

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Brodie Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

William Barnes’ Find a Grave memorial

Charles Barnes’ Find a Grave memorial

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023

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