WELLS, WILFRED CHRISTIE, Flight Officer, # T-134799, USAAF

 

Wilfred C. Wells was born on 2 June 1925 in Shandon, Columbia, Richland Co., South Carolina, to Wilfred Bush Wells (1891-1948) and Christie James Wells (1887-1976). Siblings were Mary Virginia (Wells) Andrews (1921-2011) and Winifred (Wells) Orr (1923-1983). He graduated from Dreher High School and attended Clemson College. Living with them in 1930 was a cousin, Geneva “Minnie” Lee (Henderson) Walker (1907-1997). Living with them in 1940 was his maternal aunt, Mary J. (Fritz) Walker (1883-    ).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in August 1943. After enlisting, he completed navigator instruction through advanced schools and was assigned to navigate the B-24 Liberator. He earned his appointment as a Flight Officer and wings. He was sent overseas to India in January 1945. On 29 July 1945 a B-24L, # 44-44445, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 375th Bomb Squadron, Hsinching, China, departed the airfield on a gas haul mission to Rupsi, India, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). There was no radio contact with the B-24 after departure. The B-24 Liberator, unlike its variant, the C-87 Express Liberator, carried a load of fuel for transportation to China; a very dangerous cargo. The aircraft crashed enroute and the crew was killed. After recovery, the remains of the crew (indistinguishable) Burrell, Greer, Schmierer. And Schotter, were buried in a group ceremony in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 1 September 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 76). A memorial marker was placed in the Saint Peters Cemetery, Columbia, Richland Co., South Carolina. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

BURRELL, HOWARD, Technical Sergeant, # 20939063, USAAF

 

Howard Burrell (birth name Findholt) was born 1923 in Wyoming to (father) Charles Findholt (1892-1973), step-father, Mack Burrell (1890-1938) (MS) and Beatrice Viola (Howell) Johnson nee Burrell nee Findholt (1900-1991) (Seaman 2nd Class, U.S. Navy was a casualty of WWII). Siblings were Naomi Elizabeth (Burrell) Feeback (1923-1985), Charles Ole (Findholt) Burrell (1914-1941). Beatrice was married to Charles Findholt (1892-1972), who served in the U.S. Army from 6 April 1917 to 11 July 1923.

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained to maintain and monitor the mechanical systems (crew chief) of the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India in January 1945. On 29 July 1945 a B-24L, # 44-44445, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 375th Bomb Squadron, Hsinching, China, departed the airfield on a gas haul mission to Rupsi, India, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). There was no radio contact with the B-24 after departure. The B-24 Liberator, unlike its variant, the C-87 Express Liberator, carried a load of fuel for transportation to China; a very dangerous cargo. The aircraft crashed enroute and the crew was killed. After recovery, the remains of the crew (indistinguishable) Burrell, Greer, Schmierer, and Schotter, were buried in a group ceremony in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 1 September 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 76). He was awarded the Air Medal.