WALKER, FRANCIS STEPHEN, Staff Sergeant # 36576724, USAAF

 

Francis S. Walker was born on 7 June 1917 in Marshall, Michigan to Robert Albert Walker (1890-1971) and Minnie J. (Smith) Walker (1891-1973). A brother was James Robert Walker (1918-2014). He graduated from Marshall High School. He completed one year of college. He was married to Geraldine A. (Norager) Walker nee Norman nee DiStefanio (1919-1989) on 21 May 1942, and whom in 1942 lived at 616 Sheaf, Salina, Kansas.

 

After enlisting he was trained in the maintenance and operation of the B-29 Superfortress aerial machinegun and earned his crewman wings. On 29 July 1944, a B-29, # 42-6274, “Lady Hamilton II,” of the 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 795th Bomb Squadron, departed Pengshan, China, on a combat mission to bomb the enemy steel works at Anshan, Manchuria. SSgt. Walker was the senior gunner. The B-29 was last seen and contacted by radio at about 0225 Zulu near Chiensien, China. Enemy fighters fired on it and they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. An elevator was lost and three engines were damaged. The bail out order was made at about 15,000 feet.  The B-29 was seen to crash. The B-29 had developed engine trouble 3 ½ hours out and # 2 had to be feathered. Fighter attacks ruined the oil system, caused damage to the central fire control system, two propellars were shot off, and three turrets were inoperative. They were informed at a temple, by the Chinese, that 3 crewmen, Capt. Mills, Sgt Walker and Sgt Wherle, were dead. He is remembered on the memorial at the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. The family placed a memorial marker in the Oakridge Cemetery, Marshall, Calhoun Co., Michigan. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.