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.