CATHELL, WALTER FRANCIS, JR., Sergeant, # 33596527


Walter F. Cathell Jr. was born on 5 January 1924 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, to Walter F. Cathell (1902-1979) (MD) and Anna A. (Crilley) Cathell (1896-    ) (PA). Siblings included Elizabeth Cathell (1921-    ) and John Edward Cathell (1927-1994); half-siblings (mother – Dorothy (Pettit 1917-2008) were David Cathell and Jane Cathell..


He registered for the WW II draft in 1942 and described himself as 5’8”, 135 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 29 March 1943. He was trained in the maintenance and operation of the radio equipment on the C-46. He earned his crewman wings.  He was sent overseas to India 11 November 1944. On 19 December 1944, a C-46D, # 44-77300, assigned to Combat Cargo Task Force, 4th Combat Cargo Group, 16th Combat Cargo Squadron, Sylhet, Assam, India, departed the airfield at Chandina airfield, Chandina, Assam, India, on a cargo mission to Yazagyo Field, Burma. Last to see the C-46D was Capt. Lester M. Brewer, 0-664957. He reported: at 1045 hours, local, flying C-46, # 42-101235, from Chandina to Yazagyo, he saw black smoke right of course. A detour revealed a C-46 on the ground burning around the engines and leading inboard wings. The fuselage seemed damaged little. None was separated. At Yazagyo, a report was made. Location of the crash was on 265º, about 30 miles out of Yazagyo. They unloaded cargo and returned. They found only about 10’ of the right wing was left; the rest burned. Time – 1205 local. Their radio operator, SSgt L.C. Dick, sent a coded message to Sylhet. After recovery of the remains of Wright, Bottino and Cathell, Graves Registration was unable to distinguish the remains and all were buried in a common grave in the Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung Co., New York, on 30 August 1949 (Sec. G, Grave 4658/9).


His brother, John E. Cathell, born 24 August 1927, enlisted in the military 28 August 1948. He died on 25 April 1994.