WATTS, JAMES JULIUS, Staff Sergeant, # 34087582, USAAF

 

James Julian Watts was born on 13 October 1919 in Savannah, Georgia to James Watts (1891-1969) and Jessie Lee (Sparks) Watts (1899-1987). A sibling was Eugene Watts (1926-    ). His father was a machinist. While a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, he married Audrey Dorothy Nayler (1921-1989), of Ontario, California.

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940 while residing at 572 Lee Street S.W., Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, listing Mrs. James Watts, his mother, of 4912 5th Ave., South, Birmingham, Alabama as his nearest relative. He described himself as 6’, 170 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF on 15 September 1941 at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia.

On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 41-23889 (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – SSgt. Watts was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. At 10:45 a.m., over the Himalayas, the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed. B-24D, # 41-23889, near Jorhat, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). The B-24D flown by Captain Rosser was last contacted by radio at about 1200 hours.  The Chabua field had zero visibility. A group burial was held 10 November 1949 in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri. His remains recovered by a Graves Registration team from burial in Kalaikuna, India, and were buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California, on 18 June 1948. Plot C, Grave 502.

BUTLER, WARREN H., Sergeant, # 37317477, USAAF

 

Warren H. Butler was born 8 January 1921 in Minnesota. The 1930 census for Savage, Scott Co., Minnesota includes Mary Ellen (Dohlin) Butler (1888-1971), David W. Butler (1914-1989), Edith Hariett Butler (1922-2012) and Raymond A. Butler (1927-    ).

 

He registered for the WW II draft 1n 1941 while living in Savage, Scott County, Minnesota, and while a student at the University of Minnesota. He described himself as 6’, 165 lbs, with brown hair and grey eyes. He was assigned to the 396th Service Squadron, 12th Service Group. He was assigned to the 396th Service Squadron, 12th Air Service Group. The 396th Service Squadron was activated at Camp Blythe, Blythe, California, on 1 January 1943 and assigned to the 12th Air Service Group (aka 12th Air Base Group – Special). It was disbanded on 8 October 1948. The 12th A.S.G. was responsible for the maintenance of all aircraft assigned to the 14th Air Force, growing out of the needs of the American Volunteer Group and the China Air Task Force. It was also responsible for all provisions and supplies to feed, clothe and house all 14th Air Force personnel. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 41-23889 (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – Sgt. Butler was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. At 10:45 a.m., over the Himalayas, the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed; B-24D, # 41-23889, near Jorhat, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors.His remains recovered by a Graves Registration team from burial in Kalaikuna, India, and were buried on 6 July 1948 in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Plot C-25, Grave 14398. (Image next page)