DAVIS, AUGUST WILLIAM, JR., Staff Sergeant, #17003658, USAAF

 

August W. David Jr. was born on 6 September 1920 in Iowa to August William Davis (1886-1964) and Gladys May (Vaughn) Davis (1897-1978) (married 22 October 1919, Fremont County, Iowa, by John W. Todd, Pastor, Presbyterian Church). In 1942, his parents lived at 1534 Avenue G, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, with his younger brother John Joseph Davis (1932-1997). His father worked as a skilled carpenter (fine finished work).  

 

He enlisted on 3 October 1940, in Des Moines, Iowa. After training as an armorer and gunner, he first served overseas in North Africa with the Headquarters 480th Anti-Submarine Group, between 1 December 1942 and 25 November 1943. He was sent overseas to 20th Air Force 9 April 1944 and was killed 15 June 1944. He was given extensive training in the maintenance and operation of the B-26 blister-sheltered .50 caliber machinegun. The B-29 flew as high as 28,000 feet operationally and this required that all compartments be pressurized to the pressure found at 10,000 feet altitude, like the jet airlines traveled on in 2018. Depressurization could be explosive, thus the tail gunner, waist gunners, senior gunner and radar operator and the front compartment were individually pressurized. He was the tail gunner when he was killed over Japan. He earned his crewman wings. During 15 to 16 June 1944, a 20th Air Force, 58th Bombardment Wing, 468th Bomb Group, 792nd Bomb Squadron, Kharagpur A.A.B., India, a B-29, # 42-6230, the “Limber Duggan,” departed the airfield at Pengshan, China, on a combat mission and did not return. They were shot down by an enemy fighter over Wakamatsu Fukuoka, Japan (the first to be shot down over Japan). All of the crew were killed in action. His remains were buried in a single casket group grave at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on 8 August 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 209). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

SHENKEL, WILLIAM T. “BILL,” War Correspondent, Newsweek Magazine

 

William T. Shenkel was born 23 February 1906 in Ohio to William G. Shenkel (1877-1905) and Lillie C. (Tidyman) Shenkel (1883-1959). He had a brother, Albert Jacob Shenkel (1904-1980). He grew up in Davenport, Iowa. On 8 April 1930 on East Market St., Akron, Summit County, Ohio, working as a Cleveland News newspaper reporter, he resided with his grandmother, Eleanor Tidyman (1859-    ) (widowed). He worked as an assistant city editor for the Akron Times-Press and for years belonged to the Akron Newspaper Guild. On 1 June 1930, he married Winifred Ethel (Davies) nee Mackender (1906-     ), in Summit, Ohio. He was a recognized expert on dirigibles and an expert writer on aviation. 

 

He was the nephew of Ben R. Tidyman, the chief police reporter of the Plain Dealer. Another reporter, Sergeant Lou Stoumen, of the Army weekly magazine, “Yank,” was on that first B-29 raid over Japan (Doolittle’s B-25 Mitchell’s conducted the first raid over Japan, taking off from an aircraft carrier). Stoumen wrote, “Flak! The gunners said the sky was full of exploding ack-ack shells, some close, most beneath us. Intelligence reports confirmed this, calling the ack-ack ‘moderate to intense.’ Later we learned that searchlights caught one of the last B-29 planes over the target … and held it in a firm bracket of light until the [anti-aircraft] gunners shot it down wih all four motors streaming fire.” (Akron Beacon Journal – 15 July 1944). Shenkel was an associate editor for the Newsweek Magazine and had covered the opening of the Allied spring offensive in Italy. When killed, Newsweek did not know he had chosen to go with the first B-29 raid. He was to head up the New Delhi, India, bureau of NewsweekWhile not military, his remains were indistinguishable from those of the USAAF crew and his remains were buried in a single casket group grave with the crew at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on 8 August 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 209).