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1LT Howard R. Hartley
455th Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group

The first picture shows my uncle's crew standing next to "Ginny Lou". Top row left to right - James L. Picard, Gunner; Lynn T. Cameron, Gunner/Engineer; 1LT Howard R. Hartley, Pilot. Bottom row left to right - Kasper Skarsten, Bombardier; Elmer T. Neis, Radioman; LT Robert Graney, Co-Pilot

The second picture shows the same crew sitting on the wing of their B-26.
Left to right - Hartley, Neis, Skarsten, Cameron, Picard and Graney.

The third image is a letter written by the mayor of Ste. Peravy la Colombe, the town where their B-26 was shot down, explaining the circumstances of the crash and the care of the deceased.


Translated Copy
Interment or burial of six Pilots of the U.S. Army Air Force

The mayor undersigned certifies to the following:

Wednesday, June 14, 1944, an American plane with two motors was hit by anti-aircraft defense and fell in flames near our village, somewhere near 866 yards Northeast.  The six pilots were crushed or burned and the German soldiers in authority succeeded as soon as possible to stay (take) individual papers, marks, signs, or any plaques that could be of any identification.  The Germans took the pilots bodies almost immediately and given us the caskets for us to transport in our cemetery.  On four caskets the names of the pilots were written in blue pencil and also their serial numbers showing no signs of identification and don't forget the plane was diving down loosing one motor and wing.  Two bombs had fallen an instant before 100 yards from the point where it fall.  We made it our duty to assure an honorable burial to these poor soldiers dying on the field of honor.

The persons who contributed in digging the graves and taking them away are:  Mr. Raymond Legrand, Maire Canins Gaston  and Bourgoin Paul, Counselor Beaufil Maurice, Secretary Delie Neol, Villalois Joseph, Chaline Odrien, all of Saint-Péravy-la-Colombe, France.  The pilots were arranged in the following order starting from the left:

Howard R. Hartley, X-XX1577, T42-43-O
Charles P Waddell, X-XX0141, T42-43-O
Lynn T. Cameron, XXXX0903, T42-43-O
Elmer T Neis, XXXX0296, T42-43-A

and the other two names unidentified.

We had the Catholic priest come to bless the bodies.  The Germans refused to give military honors. They came to make sure that the caskets were in the ground.  The next morning alter the graves were finished I returned to the cemetery with the secretary and the priest who blessed the caskets with wreaths of flowers which had been placed.  Since that day the flowers were assorted out and planted in the ground and crosses with names, and two without the names, were placed the 17th of June 1944.  The 18th of August 1944, after the D-Day, our community, with a few American soldiers and people from the surrounding country, came to the cemetery to pay their respects in honor of their souls and the young people put up a plaque which read like this: "To our Liberators, the French people especially recognize the great courage in the action of the American Pilots.”

You must not forget that in our community with the presence of the Germans, every Sunday after religious services a great number of people in great group visited the pilots grave that were dead to show respect for the simple reason of the great relation of friendship of the American and of the French.

The undersigned Mayor certifies the truthness of the above statement given.

Saint-Péravy-la-Colombe, France
28th of September 1944

The Mayor
/s/ H. Legrand


Reburied at Epinal American Cemetery
Lynn T. Cameron, Plot A Row 26 Grave 64
Elmer T. Neis, Plot A Row 18 Grave 27
James L. Picard, Plot B Row 16 Grave 68
Charles F Waddell, Plot A Row 27 Grave 64


Saint-Péravy-la-Colombe, France

81 miles (131 Km) from Paris

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