HOPES, THOMAS E., Staff Sergeant, Service # 35305336, U.S. Army Air Force
Thomas E. Hopes was born in 1920 to Charles J. (1894- ) and Laura (1892- ) Hopes in Hubbard, Trumball County, Ohio. The 1930 census shows the family living in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. The 1940 census shows them in Hubbard, Ohio. He had at least two siblings, Evelyn (born about 1919, OH) and Gordon (born about 1924, OH). He enlisted in the service of his country 11 May 1942, in Cleveland, Ohio. After training, he was sent overseas to the 493rd Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, Heavy, 10th Air Force, in India. He was trained as an engineer for the B-24J and as a gunner. It was as assistant engineer-gunner that he was aboard the B-24J.
The B-24J #42-73059, piloted by Major Wesley Werner. The B-24J departed Pandaveswar, India, on 14 November 1943. They were part of a six plane formation to bomb the enemy in and around Pakokku, Burma. After dropping their bombs and near the target, they were attacked by fifteen to twenty Japanese fighters. They were last sighted at about 1250 hours by 1stLt Leland G. Barlette, 0-661915, 2ndLt Glenn F. Stephens, 0-797631, and 1stLt William G. Clark, 0-662023. Major Wesley's and two other planes were shot down. They crash landed just west of the Chindwin River, about sixty miles south of Mandalay. Those who saw the bomber rash and explode described it vividly. Two crewmen (Kurtz and Tucker) were killed in the crash while six others were seriously burned. They were taken prisoner, and most later died of his injuries in his cell at the Rangoon POW camp. Only Major Werner and Technical Sergeant Daly survived and were repatriated. SSgt. Robert P. Tucker, was also from Ohio - married to Ruth A. Tucker, Massillon, OH.
On May 17, 1946 a C-47B cargo plane took off from Rangoon carrying the remains of thirty seven service men who died as prisoners of war, including Lt. Hogan. They were to be returned to the United States, however the plane crashed in heavy and violent monsoon rains into the Bay of Bengal somewhere north of Akyab on the Burma coast, killing the three man crew as well as the eight passengers, seven of whom were with the American Graves Registration Service. A total of five of the men from the Consolidated Aviation B-24J Liberator, Tail # 42-73059, whose remains were lost on C-47B over Bay of Bengal 17 May 1946 included:
Thomas P. Hogan, Jr., 2ndLt, unknown from where in the cantonment cemetery recovered
John C Kelley, 1stLt, recovered from cantonment cemetery grave # 134
Urvan A Aubuchon, TSgt, recovered from cantonment cemetery grave # 121
Thomas E Hopes, SSgt, recovered from cantonment cemetery grave # 120
Francis B Jordan, SSgt, recovered from cantonment cemetery grave # 122
Sidney Kurtz, SSgt (never recovered)
Robert P Tucker, SSgt (never recovered)
Theodore F. Young, 2ndLt (buried by the Japanese – not recovered)
On 21 December 1943, the Times Recorder of Zanesville, OH, published that "List 12 Ohioans Missing In Action," including Hopes and Tucker.