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Thank you to Keith Ellefson, combat data specialist and volunteer for http://www.384thbombgroup.com, and Bobby Silliman, of the Carlsbad Army Airfield’s Facebook community, for finding “our” William D. Barnes, Jr. Bobby Silliman has a master list of all 47,466 bombardier graduates who earned their wings in America during WWII and the only William D. Barnes Jr. was from Hastings, Michigan. There were no other bombardiers with this name, so this has got to be our guy.
Now that we found the right Barnes, I can tell you more about him.
William Douglas Barnes, Jr. was born on May 20, 1919 in Charleston Township, Pennsylvania to Williams D. Sr. (b. August 4, 1884 – d. September 27, 1965), and Carrie M. Vandegrift Barnes (b. November 8, 1887 to d. July 6, 1970).
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.
In 1930, the family had moved to Eastmanville Street in Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. The Barnes’s second son, Charles F., had been born in 1920 and was now nine years old. William Sr. was a machinist in a condensery and Carrie was a clerk in a dry goods store in 1930. William Jr. may have been called by his middle name “Douglas” as he is listed on the census as “W. Douglas.”
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. Charles was a clock repairman and salesman for a jewelry store.
Younger brother 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.
William D. Barnes, Jr. was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squad on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated July 26,1944 as bombardier of the James Joseph Brodie crew. For more information about his military career with the 384th, see my previous post.
Charles married Dorothea E. Kolch on October 22, 1950 in Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan, but I can find no record of a marriage for William Douglas, Jr.
William Douglas Barnes, Jr. died on December 6, 1990. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Hastings, Michigan. His parents are also buried in the same cemetery.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015
William D. Barnes, Jr. was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squad on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #148 dated July 26,1944 as bombardier of the James Joseph Brodie crew. The target of his first mission on August 7, 1944 was a German Luftwaffe fuel depot in Dugny (Paris), France.
He flew a total of fifteen missions as a bombardier, the majority of them with the Brodie crew. His last mission as a bombardier was on September 13, 1944. At that time, Barnes retrained as a navigator.
He was not flying, as he was still in training, on September 28, 1944 when the Brodie crew’s B-17 Lazy Daisy was involved in the mid-air collision with the Buslee crew’s B-17 Lead Banana. His decision to retrain as a navigator may very well have saved his life.
Barnes’s next mission was not until October 17, 1944, when he flew his first mission as a navigator. He flew his last twenty missions as a navigator, completing his thirty-five missions on December 28, 1944, earning him a ticket home. His decision to extend his service by the month he spent in training allowed him to survive WWII, complete his tour, and return home.
I wish I could tell you about his family life growing up and the future he had after the war, but unfortunately there were too many men named William D. Barnes that served in WWII to uncover which one of them served with the 384th Bomb Group by the time of this post. If anyone out there can provide any information on “our” William D. Barnes, Jr., please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep digging…
To view the personnel record of William D. Barnes, Jr. on the 384th Bomb Group’s website, click here.
Note: Barnes’s replacement, Byron Laverne Atkins, as togglier of the Brodie crew on September 28, 1944, did not survive the mid-air collision.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015
Brodie Crew on September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201
The 384th Bomb Group Mission 201 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 652.
The Brodie crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-31222, named “Lazy Daisy.”
The primary target was the Steelworks Industry in Magdeburg, Germany.
Coming off the target, aircraft 42-31222, “Lazy Daisy,” collided with 43-37822, “The Lead Banana.”
Lazy Daisy Crew List:
- Pilot – James Joseph Brodie
- Co-Pilot – Lloyd Oliver Vevle
- Navigator – George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.
- Togglier – Byron Laverne Atkins
- Radio Operator/Gunner – Donald William Dooley
- Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Robert Doyle Crumpton
- Ball Turret Gunner – Gordon Eugene Hetu
- Tail Gunner – Wilfred Frank Miller
- Waist Gunner – Harry Allen Liniger
Brodie, Vevle, Hawkins, Crumpton, Hetu, Miller, and Liniger were all original Brodie crew members on the aircraft.
Original Brodie crew Bombardier, William D. Barnes, Jr., last flew with the Brodie crew on September 13, 1944. Barnes did not fly again until October 17, 1944. He returned to flight as a Navigator, completed his tour after 35 missions, and returned to the US.
Byron Laverne Atkins flew only six missions, three of them as a Ball Turret Gunner, and one as a Flexible Gunner. He served as Togglier for the Brodie crew on two occasions – once on September 21 and again on September 28, 1944.
William Edson Taylor, did not fly on the September 28 mission. On October 5, he flew as Radio Operator/Gunner with the Robert Bruce Birckhead crew. His aircraft was damaged by flak and crashed near Munchen-Gladbach, Germany (MACR 9754). Of the crew, four were killed, and five were taken prisoner of war, including Taylor.
Donald William Dooley’s first mission would be his last. He flew as Radio Operator/Gunner for the Brodie crew.
Source: Sortie Reports for Lazy Daisy.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013