MARTIN, ARTHUR ALEXANDER, JR., Sergeant, # 36163504, USAAF


Arthur A. Martin Jr. was born on 25 March 1920 in Savenay, Loire, France to Arthur A. Martin (1897-1949) (Weir, KS) and Yvonne (Rialland) Martin (1896-    ) (Blois, France). The family arrived in the U.S. (New York) from Le Havre, France, aboard the S.S. France on 13 March 1921. They lived in Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, in 1930. His father, Arthur A. Martin, was born on 22 February 1897 in Weir, Cherokee Co., Kansas, to John B. Martin, born 5 January 1870, Belgium, and Marie “Mary” (Anathon) Martin, born November 1871, Belgium. He had two uncles and an aunt: Edgar Martin, born 31 March 1892, Died 1 November 1945; Olga (Martin) Casterman, born November 1893, of Pttsburg, Kansas; Roger Martin, born November 1898.


He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Custer, Michigan, on 5 December 1941. He was trained as an armorer, responsible for he weapons on the B-24 (except the bombs) and operated a .50 caliber machinegun. He was sent overseas to India. On 22 October 1944, a flight of B-24Js, including # 44-40588, # 44-40992, and # 44-70414, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pandaveswar, India, on a bombing mission over Moulmein, Burma. The bombers were hit by anti-aircraft fire, collided, and crashed, exploding. Five minutes after bombing the target at about 1202 hours, the formation was attacked by eight to twelve enemy fighters. He saw Oscars. Lt. Blair was in the # 2 position on the wing of Lt. Young. Maj. Jack Bradford, 0-424404 (OK), was in the # 4 position behind Lt. Young. 1stLt. Bodmer was in the # 3 position and Lt. Hill was in the # 5 position. When the enemy fighters were sighted, the formation closed. On the 3rd or 4th pass by the enemy, Lt. Blair’s # 2 engine caught on fire. He pulled out slightly left and feathered the engine. The fire went out and Lt. Blair made a diving left turn into clouds. He was not seen afterwards. Five minutes later, Maj. Bradford appeared to be looking back to see what happened to the other bombers. He was flying a rough formation but none of his bomber’s movements were violent. His bomber descended slightly to the left. He pulled up just under Lt. Bodmer, who was flying to the front and left of him. As he pulled up, Lt. Bodmer climbed up and out. After Maj. Bradford moved back into position, Lt. Bodmer took his own position. Almost immediately, Maj. Bradford climbed under Lt. Bodmer, his left vertical stabilizer went into Lt. Bodmer’s bomb bay doors. It seemed the # 3 and # 4 propellars of Lt. Bodmer’s B-24 cut off the tail of Maj. Bradford’s B-24 at a point just behind the waist windows. Maj. Bradford’s B-24 climbed violently and fell into a spin. Lt. Bodmer’s B-24 lost a bomb bay door and fell off onto the right wing, did a half-turn-spin, then spiraled down. Both B-24s hit the water about 200 yards apart and exploded. No parachutes were seen. It was near Bilugynn Island, Bay of Martaban. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines.


His father was with the U.S. Expeditionary Forces from April 1918 to 26 July 1919 and in France from 26 July 1919 to April 1921. U.S. Passport # 194522, issued 20 June 1922. Description: Age 26 years; 6’, brown hair and eyes. He died 2 December 1949 in Chatelaillon (Charente-Maritime), France, while visiting there with his wife and is buried in the Chatelaillon-Plage Cemetery, Grave # 77 bis., France.