The B-29 crashed into a cliff near its base in China after the mission and eleven of the crew was killed except for one survivor, SSgt. Belford.. The unit earned the Distinguished Unit Citation (ribbon) for the Yawata raid. His remains were recovered from the grave in China and buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii, on 14 January 1949 (Sec. B, Grave 1116). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
GIDLEY, ROBERT ALLAN, Master Sergeant, # 17040837, USAAF
Robert A. Gidley was born on 3 May 1915 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Allan B. Gidley (1886-1966) (Mich.) and Essie Elizabeth (Smith) Gidley (1890-1955) (IA) (married 3 June 1914, Council Bluffs, IA). Siblings included Ann Elizabeth “Beth” (Gidley) Bromberg (1919- ) and Marjorie (Gidley) Miller (1924- ). In 1930 his cousin, Mry O’Donnell (1891- ), was living with them. He was married to Donnabelle Gidley, Sun Valley, Idaho. In 1940 he lived at 211 Benton, Council Bliffs, Iowa, and worked as a parts man at Hughes Motor Co. He and Beth (an artist) lived with their parents. His father worked as a salesman at Standard Brands, Inc.
He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Crook, Nebraska, on 18 February 1942. He was subsequently selected to be a flight engineer on the B-29 Superfortress. He was trained in the maintenance and function of the electrical and mechanical parts of the B-29. As flight engineer, he would monitor an array of sensor dials and switches in the engineer’s position on the B-29. He earned his crewman wings. On 20 August 1944, a B-29, # 42-6330, “Come-In-23982,” assigned to 20th Air Force, departed Kwanghan, China, for a bombing mission against a target in Japan. The B-29 crashed in China and the crew killed, with one survivor.
Abraham Lincoln H.S. - 1934
BELFORD, VIRGIL ELMER, JR., Staff Sergeant, # 18226264, USAAF
Virgil E. Belford Jr. was born on 24 February 1923 in Magnolia Park, Houston, Harris Co., Texas, to Virgil Elmer Belford (1891-1969) and Jennie Anderson (Wright) Belford (1889-1963). A sister was Doris Katrina (Belford) Williamson (1915-1993). He was married to Eloise M. Belford (1924-1999) (married 14 August 1970).
He registered for the WW II draft on 30 June 1942 while working for WC. Wells Jr., and described himself as 6’, 154 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF on 12 November 1942 and was honorably discharged 5 March 1948. He was trained in the maintenance and operation of the radar equipment on the B-29 Superfortress.