CLAUDIUS, ROBERT E., First Lieutenant, # 0-826107, USAAF
Robert E. Claudius was born on 19 October 1923 in New York to Edwin Davis Claudius (1892-1951) and Edna (Gulick) Claudius (1894-1974). Siblings Elsa J. (Claudius) Frost (1925- ). In 1930 they lived with his paternal grandmother, Minnie E. Claudius (1868-1945) (widowed) and other family.
After enlisting in the USAAF in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on 25 February 1943, he completed flight instruction through advanced school and was multi-engine rated to fly the Curtiss C-46 Commando. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 21 March 1945 a C-46D Commando, # 42-101234, assigned to 10th Air Force, Combat Cargo Task Force, 4th Combat Cargo Group, 14th Combat Cargo Squadron, departed the airfield at Chittagong, India, on a tactical mission. It was last seen when it crashed at about 1114 hours IST near coordinates 22° 12’ North & 92° 39’ East. 1stLt William R. King, 0-709219, saw it crash. The crew chief and the radio operator parachuted and returned to duty. The pilots remains were found in the wreckage. 1stLt King reported that he saw the C-46 at 1105 hours, 70 miles east of Dohazari, India. Its right engine was aflame and smoking. The cargo load was jettisoned. After 6 minutes, flames burst from the right engine, trailing about 20 feet. Two parachutes appeared. The C-46 right wing collapsed at the root with the fuselage and fell free. The C-46 nosed toward the ground from 2,000’ and exploded upon impact at about 30 miles east of Dohazari. A C-47 circled the parachutes. A crewman reported that 1stLt Claudius stayed too long and bailed out of the cockpit emergency hatch and was killed by the propeller. The parachute opened but he was dead when he landed. 2ndLt Logan ordered bail out and rang the jump bell. He was unable to bail out. After recovery, his remains were buried with those of 1stLt Claudius, indistinguishable from each other, in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 11 July 1951 (Sec. 84, Grave 321).
His father, born 4 August 1892, served in the U.S. Army during WWI, a Sergeant First Class, assigned to the School Detachment, Dijon, and Brest, France, Casual Co. 2711, in 1919. He died 20 January 1951.