GROSS, WENDELL RAY, Corporal, # 31340393, USAAF
Wendell R. Gross was born on 13 December 1916 in Enosburg, Franklin Co., Vermont to Ray Argalus Gross (1882-1967) and Maude L. Gross (1895-1992). A brother was Ronald Argalus Gross (1914-2013). He married Florence K. Gordon on 11 May 1935 in Dexter, Penobscot Co., Maine, and they had two children.
After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained in the maintenance and repair of the mechanical systems of the C-47 Skytrain. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 25 April 1945, a C-47A-43, # 43-15809, assigned to 10th Air Force 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 12th Combat Cargo Group, departed the Tulihal airfield at Imphal, Burma, on a food supply mission to 21º 30’ North and 96º 22’ East in Burma, SE of Imphal. Last radio contact was with Cpl. Walter S. Zysko, 36732118, at about 0520 hours. Search was made by all aircraft at Tulihal on April 25 and 26 April 1945. In addition, 2 aircraft were dispatched for a special search on the afternoon of 26 April. The searches were made from Tulihal between 125º to 165º as far as Mandalay, Burma. A dental chart record is in the file regarding 2ndLt Corr: It noted he was Catholic, had an enlisted service # 12174457, was 5’7”, and 154 lbs. Added was: “The [C-47] was hit by a Japanese shell and crashed into a hill in the Arakan hills, a heavy woodedarea of western Burma, between the coast and the Irrawady River. This area was thoroughly searched but neither plane nor crew was located.” The crew (American) are remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. The location of the crash was found in 1957. After recovery from Burma and then an American military ceremony in India by Graves Registration, the remains of the crew, indistinguishable, were buried in a group (Russell, Corr, Gross, Ward, Norris, Robinson) grave in the Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, New York, on 5 February 1958 (Sec. M, Grave 27188). He was awarded the Purple Heart medal.
ROBINSON, A.E., BRITISH ARMY, # T6141150, MORRIS, J., BRITISH ARMY, T14260058, BIRURUJU, YONANSAN, PRIVATE, BRITISH ARMY, the sole survivor, N7380. These three British Army soldiers served voluntarily as supply droppers (aka kickers) on the fatal flight. Inadequate information is available to recognize them properly.