SOUTHCOTT, WILLIAM HERBERT, JR., Second Lieutenant, # 0-465619, USAAF

 

William H. Southcott Jr. was born in Georgia on 17 June 1921 to William H. Southcott (1893-1946) (GA) and Ruth Cunningham (MacInnes-Richter) Southcott (1897-1948) (NC) (married 1920, FL). An adoptive brother was Albert Wesley (Douglas) Southcott (1915-1991) (GA). In 1940, William H. Southcott Jr. lived in Neptune Beach, Duval Co., Florida, with Jack Ribley (1910-    ) and Elizabeth Ribley (1917-    ), Katherine Ribley (1923-    ) (step daughter to Jack Ribley), Claude Ribley (1919-    ) (brother of Jack Ribley), Albert W. Douglas (1915-1991), Malcolm L. Douglas (1913-1970), Gene Moreno (1912-    ) (divorced), and Jack Ribley’s mother-in-law, Lula V. Swin (1862-    ) (SC – widowed). He attended the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

 

He earned his commission and wings as a navigator. He was sent overseas to India. On 29 October 1943 a C-47 Skytrain, # 41-38702, assigned to 10th Air Force, 1st Troop Transport Group, 2nd Troop Carrier Squadron, departed the airfield at Dinjan, India, on a food supply drop mission in Burma and crashed into a mountainside. All aboard were killed. The last to have radio contact was SSgt Ison (NMI) Olant, 32323214. USAAF Capt. Ferie A. Larson, Operations Officer, 2nd Troop Carrier Squadron, reported that he flew a search sortie and found “it crashed and burning about 200 yards below target # 3 at 95° 50’ East, 27° 05’ North. Observation revealed a mechanical failure caused a forced landing in the wash just under the target, which has vicious down-drafts. There were no survivors. An investigation by ground was requested. Fire consumed all but the wing tips and the tail. Adjutant Capt. Coy T. Sevier wrote that the transport approached due West following the valley into the field and began to climb but an engine failed. The pilot banked left sharply to his left. The left wing hit trees which caused the C-47 to swing and fall into the jungle. An observer noticed an engine burst on several seconds before the crash. A ground team reached the crash site but could do little because of intense heat from burning gas. No survivors were found. Eight bodies were found in the wreckage but were unidentifiable. The bodies were buried at the crash site and marked. After recovery from Burma, crew remains were buried (Box, Haut, Montisano, Phillips, and Rigney) in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky on 8 November 1949 (Sec. E, Graves 195-196). His remains are buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery, Jacksonville, Florida (Sec. C, Row 4).

 

His father enlisted in the U.S. Army 9 September 1917 and was honorably discharged 16 February 1919, Quartermaster Corps, Sergeant, # 1365211. He did not serve overseas. He died on 6 February 1946 and is buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL.