THOMAS, WILLIAM HAROLD, Sergeant, # 17175086, USAAF

 

William H. Thomas was born on 27 October 1923 in Winthrop, Missouri, to Olin Oliver Thomas (1901-1969) and Edna A. (Burch) Thomas (1905-2001). He had one sibling, Virginia R. Thomas (1925-    ). In 1940, his father was a moulder for a foundry. His father and other family are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

 

He enlisted 28 November 1942 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and after training as an armorer and gunner on the B-24, he was sent overseas to India to the 308th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and the 374th Bombardment Squadron. On 27 November 1943, just one day less than a year into military service, he was one of the crew of B-24J, 42-73312, which was aboard when the aircraft crashed after the bombing run. He and most of the crew were captured and imprisoned in the Rangoon Cantonment (former British prison) until liberation about 4 May 1945. After medical care and return to health, he was honorably discharged1 November 1945.

He returned to Kansas and marred Lola Maxine Gould (1924-2013) and they had two daughters. He died on 8 July 1998 and is buried in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. When his wife died, she was buried there.