MEREDITH, FRANCIS EDWARD, Second Lieutenant, # 0-686107, USAAF

 

Francis E. Meredith was born on 30 June 1917 to Samuel “Sam” Edward Meredith (1890-1982) and Minnie Eleanor Meredith (1892-1982). Siblings included Woodrow Truett Meredith (1913-1984) and Jack Lynn Meredith (1928-2007). In 1920 the family lived in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1930 & 1940 they lived in Denton, Texas, and his father was a barber. In 1934 he graduated from Denton High School, Denton, Texas, and his chosen quotation was “Don’t Bet On Women,” a true Texan.

 

He enlisted 9 January 1943 in Texas and was trained as a bombardier for the w USAAF high altitude B-29 Supefortress. He earned his commission and wings. He was sent overseas to the 20thAir Force and moved to an advance airfield in China. He and his crew departed for assignment to 20th Air Force in India on 10 April 1944 and to the advance airfield in China 19 April 1944. In addition to flying “the Hump,” the 468th Bomb Group B-29 aircraft bombed the enemy in Bangkok, (Siam) Thailand 5 June 1944, mined enemy shipping lanes near Saigon (French Indochina – Annam), Vietnam, and bombed enemy targets in Burma, Siam, Annam, Shanghai, China, Formosa (Taiwan) and Japan. The 468th Bomb Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its bombing raid on 11 August 1944 of the iron/steel works, Yawata, Japan. B-29 # 42-6362 flew 27 bombing missions before her last on 21 November 1944. B-29, 42-6362, made a heavy-weight take-off at night without landing lights. Airborne, it climbed to about 200 feet, and slowly descended until almost out of sight from the ATC tower. It then made a sudden climbing turn to the left, climed to about 300 feet, then made a diving turn into the ground. It burst into flames when it crashed. The tail gunner was able to escape through his hatch and suffered third degree burns on his scalp and hands. All others were killed. Investigation revealed the B-29 had flown into four trees which were about 35 feet high. After recovery in China, his remains were buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Denton, Texas, in 1949.