GERRANS, ALFRED HOWARD, JR., Sergeant, # 34325848, USAAF
Alfred H. Gerrans was born 5 July 1921 in Craven County, North Carolina, to Alfred H. Gerrans (1897-1960) and Myrtilla Aepulo “Eppie” (Elmore) Gerrans (1898-1962). Brothers were Clarence “Jack” Edwin Gerrans (1927-2001) and Harry Trewasna Gerrans (1935-2005).
He registered for the WW II draft on 16 February 1942 and gave an address of 111 E. Washington St., Kinston, Lenoir, North Carolina. He described himself as 5’6”, 160 lbs, with brown hair and grey eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF on 12 August 1942 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 25 January 1944, at about 0700 hours, B-24J, # 42-73308, “Hot as Hell,” departed Kunming, China, for Chabua, India, with Sgt. Gerrans was an armorer and gunner, responsible for the maintenance and function of the weapons on “Hot as Hell.” It was assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, the 425th Bomb Squadron. It crashed in India. 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). “Hot as Hell” was found eventually. The image of him standing next to a fighter shows him carrying a .50 caliber aircraft Browning machine gun. At some point, he maintained the machine guns of fighters, as well. He is remembered in the Manila American Memorial & Cemetery, Philippines.
His brother, Clarence E. Gerrans, born 16 April 1927 in Florida, registered for the WW II draft on 16 April 1945 and gave an address the same as his brother. He described himself as 5’9”, 160 lbs, with blond hair and grey eyes. He was a graduate of East Carolina University and Wake Forest University and practiced law until retiring in 1993. He enlisted in the USAAF on 26 June 1945 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He married Mary Ebbie (1930- ) in Ipock, North Carolina, 28 December 1951. He was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served during WW II and the Korean War. He died 20 September 2001 and is buried in the Westview Cemetery, Kinston, North Carolina. Images next page.