Billie V. Franklin was born on 9 August 1923, the son of of Dorothy F. Idol and stepson of Lambert C. Idol.
Died 29 May 1944, Baltic Sea

Staff Sergeant
305th Bomber Group, 366th Bomber Squadron, Heavy, 8th Air Force

Aircraft B-17G with serial number 42-38176 departed from Chelveston, England on a Heavy Bombardment mission to Gottbus, Germany. According to an eyewitness account, the aircraft was hit by enemy fighters just after the target. It kept in the formation till 1422 hrs, at 5455N-1330E, where ten parachutes were seen to come out. Immediately after, the A/C went out of control, lost altitude, hit the water, and exploded. All ten parachutes landed in the water close to land, and several boats were seen nearby. The aircraft crashed 10,92 km north-eastward of Ranzow near Sassnitz over sea.

Billie Franklin was initially buried in a mass grave at the new cemetery of Wiek/Ruegen on May 30, 1944, together with Robert Rahn, Edward Towle and an unknown soldier.

Crew members
Pilot, 1st Lt Edward P. Kass
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Frank A. Gioffe
Navigator, 2nd Lt Robert J. Kiernan
Bombardier, Sgt Warren M. Nutter
Radio Operator, T/Sgt Robert E. Rahn
Top Turret Gunner, T/Sgt Henry A. Rublewsky
Ball Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Edward Towle
Tail Gunner, S/Sgt Foster E. Heath
Right Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Claude T. Blanton
Left Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Billie V. Franklin

Billie V. Franklin is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Campbell County, Tennessee.

The Knoxville Journal, June 15, 1944
Westbourne, June 14 – Staff Sgt. Billie V. Franklin, son of Mr. and Mrs. L.C. Idol, has been missing in action over Germany since May 29, according to word received by the parents. Sergeant Franklin attended TM at Sweetwater where he was graduated in 1942. He volunteered in the Air Corps in March, 1943 and for the past four months had been stationed in England, where he was a waist gunner on a B-17 bomber.  He has been awarded the Air Medal and the Silver Star.

The LaFollette Press, June 23, 1949
The body of S-Sgt. Billie V. Franklin, son of Mr. and Mrs. L.C. Idol, 501 E Ash Street, LaFollette, Tennessee will arrive Friday Evening June 24th. S-Sgt. Franklin was stationed near London, England and was in the U.S. Eight Air Force in 305 Bomb grp.; 336 Bomb Sqn. He was a Left Waist Gunner on a B-17 Bomber, and participated in fourteen missions over German territory. He was awarded the Silver Star; Air Medal; Three Oak Leaf Clusters and posthumously the Purple Heart. His last mission was over Cotbus, Germany, May 29th, 1944, and it was reported his plane was met by enemy fighter planes, and the crew bailed out and landed in the Baltic Sea near Strauland, Germany. He was reported missing on that day, and on August 25th 1944 was listed as dead. S-Sgt. Franklin was a graduate of Tennessee Military Institute, Sweetwater, Tennessee and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church there. He volunteered for service March 16th, 1943.
Besides his parents, he is survived by an aunt Mrs. Leonard Slusher, Stanford, Ky., and four uncles, L.C. Seward, Balkan, Ky., Charlie Seward, Lake City, Tenn., H.C. Seward, Knoxville, Tenn., and H.R. Franklin, LaFollette.

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Date of birth:
  • 9 August 1923
  • Date of death: 29 May 1944
  • County: Campbell
  • Hometown: LaFolette
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 305th Bomber Group, 366th Bomber Squadron, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Woodlawn Cemetery, Campbell County, Tennessee
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VII, Middle Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Billie V. Franklin

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