WEBSTER, WILLIAM HAROLD, First Lieutenant, # 0-673702, USAAF

 

William H. Webster was born on 18 July 1916 in Bedford, Lawrence Co., Indiana, to William Daniel Webster (1895-1956) and Edith Gertrude (Jacobs) Webster (1899-1979) (married 2 October 1915, IN). Siblings included Ann Elizabeth “Betty” (Webster) Gettinger (1922-2015) and Shirley J. (Webster) Burns (1925-2013). He was married to Aline S. Webster, Royal Oak, Michigan.

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained as a navigator on the B-29 Superfortress. He was sent overseas to India. On 27 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-24452, “Devil May Care,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Squadron, and fourteen othe B-29s departed the airfield at Chakulia, India, on a bombing mission over Bangkok, Thailand (aka Siam). Last radio contact was at about 0649Z 130 miles south of Chittagong, Burma. The B-29s were deployed from Chakulia Army Air Force Base to attack the Bangsue Marshalling Yards of Bangkok, Thailand. Weak enemy fighter opposition was encountered. One enemy Zeke attacked the formation from straight ahead, damaging four B-29s. Thirteen planes returned safely to Chakulia and one, aircraft #452, proceeded to Chittagong (Bangladesh) after losing #4 engine. Leaving the primary target, the pilot of aircraft #452, Lt Carl E. Blackwell, radioed the formation commander that he had wounded personnel aboard due to the fighter attack and that he could not close his bomb bay doors. Enroute back to Chakulia, he asked permission to proceed to Chittagong. The formation commander asked if there were any major mechanical difficulties or shortage of gasoline and was assured there were none, that #452 had plenty of gas and that no escort was needed. Permission was given and #452 left the formation. It was lost and never located. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He is remembered in the Grand Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan (Sec. 21). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

GETTLER, JOHN G., Second Lieutenant, # 0-690405, USAAF

 

John G. Gettler was born in 1919 in New York to Philip A. Gettler (1882-1940) and Marion V. (May) Gettler (1887-1969). Siblings included Philip A. Gettler Jr. (1912-1946), Marion J. Gettler (1913-2000), and Frances Maybelle (Gettler) DuBois (1921-1993). Living with them in 1930 was his maternal grandmother, Mary A. (O’Flaherty) May (1859-1937) (widowed – Adolph G. May (1857-1922).

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained as a bombardier on the B-29 Superfortress. He was sent overseas to India. On 27 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-24452, “Devil May Care,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Squadron, and fourteen othe B-29s departed the airfield at Chakulia, India, on a bombing mission over Bangkok, Thailand (aka Siam). Last radio contact was at about 0649Z 130 miles south of Chittagong, India. The B-29s were deployed from Chakulia Army Air Force Base to attack the Bangsue Marshalling Yards of Bangkok, Thailand. Weak enemy fighter opposition was encountered. One enemy Zeke attacked the formation from straight ahead, damaging four B-29s. Thirteen planes returned safely to Chakulia and one, aircraft #452, proceeded to Chittagong (Bangladesh) after losing #4 engine. Leaving the primary target, the pilot of aircraft #452, Lt Carl E. Blackwell, radioed the formation commander that he had wounded personnel aboard due to the fighter attack and that he could not close his bomb bay doors. Enroute back to Chakulia, he asked permission to proceed to Chittagong. The formation commander asked if there were any major mechanical difficulties or shortage of gasoline and was assured there were none, that #452 had plenty of gas and that no escort was needed. Permission was given and #452 left the formation. It was lost and never located. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.