CANTRELL, JAMES WESLEY, First Lieutenant, # 0-833485, USAAF
James W. Cantrell was born on 27 October 1921 in Bellfalls, Limestone Co., Texas, to James Bernard Cantrell (1888-1976) and Katie Jessie (Kennon) Cantrell (1887-1970) (married 11 August 1909, Bell, TX). Siblings included Ralph Bernard Cantrell (1910-2003), Cecil Jesse Cantrell (1912-1945), Edmond Eugene Cantrell (1914-1981)
He registered for the WWII draft on 16 February 1942, a student in the College of Mines, El Paso, Texas, employed by the City of El Paso, and described himself as 6’1”, 195 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF in Lubbock, Texas, on 22 February 1943. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight schools through advanced school to fly the B-24 Liberator and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 7 August 1945, a B-24J, # 44-41293, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 425th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Lushien, China, at 0920Z on a routine fuel transport to Rupsi, Assam, India. Last contact was by radio at 1202Z with a position report over Fort Hertz at 17,000’. The B-24 crashed near Manipur, India. Graves Registration recovered the indistinguishable remains of the crew (Brockmiller, Canady, Cantrell, Franken & Yuskaitis) from the crash location and they were buried in a group ceremony and burial in the Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on 7 December 1973 (Sec. 20, Grave 50393).
His brother, Cecil J. Cantrell, born 9 April 1912, served in the U.S. Army, a First Sergeant, # 38054527, 63rd Infantry Battalion, 11th Armored Division, from 19 March 1941 until killed in action on 1 January 1945 in Luxembourg. He is buried in the American Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, (Block D, Row 8, Grave 24). He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart Medals.
His brother, Edmond E. Cantrell, born 22 September 1914, served in the U.S. Army during WWII from 7 November 1942 to 21 February 1946. He died 27 February 1981 in Houston, Texas, and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Houston, Texas.