WILLS, STANLEY, British War Correspondent


Stanley Wills was born in 1906 in England. In 1943-44, he was the war correspondent for the Daily Heald. On 24 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4242, assigned to 1st Air Commando Squadron, departed the air field at Imphal, India and, at 2030 hours, crashed near Thelon, India. The wreckage of the C-47 was located in Manipur Pradish, India and recovery of some remains was concluded. The unidentifiable remains recovered by allied Graves Registration teams buried them in a single-casket one-grave burialin Arlington National Cemetery. Those remains included are believed to be of the following: British Capt. G.H. Borrow, MC, British War Correspondent Stewart Emeny,1stLt Brian F. Hodges, USAAF, TSgt James W. Hickey, USAAF, SSgt James W. McIninch, USAAF, TSgt Frank Sadoski, USAAF, 2ndLt Stephen A. Wanderer, USAAF, British War Correspondent Stanley Wills, British Major General Orde Charles Wingate, D.S.C. (Arlington Cemetery, Section 12, site 288).

The first memorial service was held at the crash site in March 1944, with full military honours, with Maj-Gen W. D. A. Lentaigne, Lord Louis Mountbatten, another officer and several British troops in attendance. A wooden cross was put in place; the cross held a round inscribed metal plaque, at its centre. The plaque was decorated with a simple line image of a chinthe (‘chindit’) and a pagoda spire. In 1947 the remains of these crash victims were disinterred from their original burial place with the cooperation of allied graves affairs personnel and buried in the British War Cemetery at Imphal in India. As the severe impact of the crash prevented establishing which remains were which person, the policy of the time was for the remains to be buried in the nation from which the majority of the victims originated, the United States. On 10 November 1950 the intermingled remains were disinterred from the British War Cemetery at Imphal and buried, with full military honours, at Arlington Cemetery in the USA. The grave reference is Sec. 12. Collective Grave 288.

The 1st Commando Group and its American and Brtish commanders, worked closely with the O.S.S. Detachment 101 - the first intelligence organization that operated with a special operations combat arm. At first doubtful of the efficacy of the O.S.S. Detachment, the American and British commanders came to strongly support the operations of the O.S.S. Detachment and the 1st Commando Group. All of the 1st Commando Group members should be honored on the dedicated wall at the Special Operations training center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.