FERGUSON, JACK ROBERT, Technical Sergeant, # 38137073, USAAF

 

Jack R. Ferguson was born 6 January 1913, to John T. Ferguson (1869-1922) and Allie Adeline (Jones) Ferguson (1875-1956). Siblings included John Maurice Ferguson (1893-1983), Sybil Frances (Ferguson) Ardis nee Johnson (1902-1990), Fred Ferguson (1911-    ). His father was Hopkins County Clerk of the Court. He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940 and described himself as 5’7”, 128 lbs, with blond hair and grey eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF on 8 April 1942 in Tyler, Texas. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 42-73242, “Haley’s Comet” (named after Lt Roger F. Haley) (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – TSgt Ferguson was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. It was assigned to the 425th Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group. At 10:45 a.m., the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed; B-24D, # 41-23889, crashed near Jorhat, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). Haley’s Comet was found eventually. The bomber was mentioned in China Up and Down by John T. Foster. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and the Purple Heart. A memorial is in the Manila American Memorial & Cemetery, Philippines. The family placed a memorial marker in the Sulphur Springs City Cemetery.

WATSON, ROBERT O., Staff Sergeant, # 39022510, USAAF

 

Robert O. Watson was born 6 November 1908 in Pierce County, Washington, to Robert Freeman Watson (born Canada – 1872-1944), and Mary Cameron “Minnie”(Dalrymple) Watson (1873-1967). Siblings included Arthur Deckman Watson (1898-1992), Frederick Blake Watson (1898-1982), Richard Farnell Watson (1899-1959), John Glenville “Glen” Watson (1901-1969), Edith Freemont Watson (1904-    ), Ethel Marguerite (1906-    ), Francis Lloyd (1910-    ), Philip Crowell Watson (1912-    ), and Elizabeth Jean Watson. His wife was Dorothy E. (Wilson) Watson and a daughter was Cheryl Joy (Watson) Woods (1937-1989).

 

He enlisted on 10 March 1942 at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 42-73242, “Haley’s Comet” (named after Lt Roger F. Haley) (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – SSgt Watson was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. It was assigned to the 425th Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group. At 10:45 a.m., the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed; B-24D, # 41-23889, crashed near Jorhat, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). Haley’s Comet was found eventually. The bomber was mentioned in China Up and Down by John T. Foster. A memorial is in the Manila American Memorial & Cemetery, Philippines. Images next page.