PREECE, CHAUNCEY LEE, Second Lieutenant, Service # 0-729057, USAAF


Chauncey L. Preece was born 7 June 1921 in Inkom, Bannock County, Idaho, to William Vernon Preece (1899-1977) and Cora Lovice (West) Preece (1897-1986). He graduated from South High School, Salt Lake City, and attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He had an aunt, Hazel Cecelia (Preece) Norton (1896-1971) and a brother, William John Preece (1919-2007). He enlisted 21 January 1942 in Salt Lake City (Aberdeen), Utah (enlisted service # 19072873). He married Una Loy Mason. He was sent overseas and assigned to 9th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Air Force. A pilot of a P-38E, # 41-2129, he departed Pandaveswar, India, to Chittagong air base on 17 July, 1943 in “very rough weather and poor visibility” and crashed at about 1000 hours eight miles south of Namur, caused by bad weather. His parents were William V. Preece, Aberdeen, Utah, and a memorial marker was placed in the Bountiful Memorial Park Cemetery, Bountiful, Davis County, Utah.

He was last sighted by Sergeant Bernard J. Mosik, Service # 11033284. His aircraft was located and observed by Lt.Col. Darlene E. Bailey, Service # 0-22558, and Major Dale L. Swartz, Service # 0-281514, at about 1615 hours on 19 July 1943 from a B-25 search aircraft. No ground observations were made. It was concluded he was killed in action.

The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 July 1943, reported “Die for Their Country,” reported that a war department telegram was received by Mr. and Mrs. William V. Preece, 454 Third Ave., Salt Lake, disclosed the death. On 17 July 1943, 2ndLt Preece, age 22, was killed while serving in the Asiatic war zone. He had been stationed in India for ten months. He attended elementary schools at Provo, Utah and attended Dixon H.S. and was a graduate of South H.S. He attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He received basic training at Oxnard, California, and received his wings and commission 13 August 1942 at Victorville, California. He was stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before being sent overseas. His wife resides at 338 So. Fourth East St., Provo with her parents. The Ogden Standard-Examiner, 13 Aug., 1943, also reported his death. The Daily Herald, Provo, also reported his death.

On 18 Aug., 1943, the Tribune reported that a small token of honor … evidence that heroic deeds have not been forgotten … were presented to Mr. and Mrs. Preece, parents of the University of Utah student killed during the war with Japan. The memorials, made of parchment and similar to regular university diplomas, is suitable for framing and is inscribed wit the name and rank of the war hero it honors. A notation is “Greater service can no man render and greater reward can no man earn” is affixed to the certificate. The presentation was mde by university President LeRoy E. Cowles.