LEY, HENRY W , Staff Sergeant, # 11045540, USAAF

 

Henry W. Ley was born 1921 in Connecticut. I need information on immediate family. He was recorded as a Jewish serviceman on 18 November 1943, with residence at 1175 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF 28 January 1942 at Hartford, Connecticut. He was trained to be an engineer on the B-24, responsible for all mechanical maintenance. On 1 December 1943, at about 1230 hours, B-24J, # 42-73159 (“Tough Baba”), assigned to the 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the 10th Air Force base at Pandaveswar, India, enroute to bomb Insein, Burma, where the Japanese maintained a railway marshalling and repair workshops. The statement signed by 2ndLt McElderry, F/O Lewallen and 1stLt Shaw says: Lt. Stringfellow’s plane was the lead ship of the formation. My ship flew on his left wing over the target. After bombs were dropped we lost sight of him. He was next sighted on the right wing of ship # 45. The pass by enemy aircraft was not seen but about 15 minutes from target, white smoke was seen coming from the #3 engine. The right wing of Lt. Stringfellow’s ship dropped and slid off in a banking turn to the right. It continued in the opposite direction of the formation or towards Rangoon, losing about 1,500 feet. Two objects came out of the right waist window, one chute opened immediately, and the other object kept falling and disappeared into clouds. It looked like a delayed jump to evade attacking fighters. Between 8 to 10 enemy fighters started to attack the disabled ship, leaving the main formation of B-24s alone. The tail gunner first sighted the ship going into a tailspin. One chute was opened at this time. The ship was smoking badly and dropped for 3,000 or 6,000 feet before bursting into flames. A few seconds after it had burst into flames, it exploded, leaving only burning fragments. His remains were recovered and were included in a group burial on 19 December 1949 in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri.

 

VANIS, HENRY GEORGE, Staff Sergeant, # 37190972, USAAF

 

Henry G. Vanis was born 10 August 1914 in Garrison, Butler County, Nebraska, to Vincent Vaclav Vanis (1878-1960) and Julia Marie (Pekarek) Vanis (1891-1936). Siblings included Martha Margaret Vanis (1910-1977), Alice Eliska Vanis (1911-1911), Raymond Alois Vanis (1912-1998), Joseph Christopher Vanis (1916-1941), Vincent Vaclav Vanis Jr. (1918-2007), Julius Eugene Vanis (1920-1962), Georgia Vanis (1923-    ), Matilda “Tillie” Vanis (1925-2011), Theodore “Ted” Daniel Vanis (1927-1974), Eleanor Clare Vanis (1931-2010), Frederick Anthony Vanis (1934-    ) and Bibiana Bernadine “Behan” Vanis (1928-2015) and another sister. His father was a successful farmer. His parents were born in Bohemia (later known as Czechoslovakia) or the “Land of the Bohemian Crown.” It was once a duchy of Great Moravia.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF 7 April 1942. He was sent overseas to India on 4 January 1943. He trained in radio operations and maintenance for the B-24, earned his crewman wings, and was sent overseas. On 1 December 1943, at about 1230 hours, B-24J, # 42-73159 (“Tough Baba”), assigned to the 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the 10th Air Force base at Pandaveswar, India, enroute to bomb Insein, Burma, where the Japanese maintained a railway marshalling and repair workshops. The statement signed by 2ndLt McElderry, F/O Lewallen and 1stLt Shaw says: Lt. Stringfellow’s plane was the lead ship of the formation. My ship flew on his left wing over the target. After bombs were dropped we lost sight of him.