Cecil Monroe May was born in Trade, Johnson County, Tenn. to John May and Frances Oliver.
Missing in Action since 26 November 1943
Son of Frances O. May, Route One, Trade, Tennessee
Memorialized at the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England

Vaughn Reaves and Cecil M. May, both from Tennessee, were crewmembers on the B-17G, Serial number 42-29955, Nicknamed Mr Five by Five, which departed from Molesworth, England and was on a bombardment mission to Bremen, Germany. The airplane was last seen 10 kilometers west of Texel Island, the Netherlands over the North Sea when it dropped out of formation with its wheels down. It appeared to be under control when last seen. The B-17 crashed at Den Helder, the Netherlands. All crewmembers were killed in action. Previously, Reaves and May had served on the B-17 Vicious Virgin, which performed an air raid on Le Bourget airport outside Paris on August 16, 1943.

The picture of May was taken after that mission. It cannot be confirmed that this is actually May, but it is likely that it is. According to Gary Moncur, archivist for the 303rd BG:
As of now, we believe Cecil May is on the front row, 2nd from the right, but that is unconfirmed. Our guess is based on his small size, as required for the ball-turret, and his not wearing a Mae West and chute. They did not fit in the ball, so they would have been laying outside it nearby. The photo was taken immediately after that mission. He would have been 22 in this photo.

Crew members
Pilot Captain Adell A. Cote
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Clarence C. Bixler
Navigator 1st Lt Wilbur R. Barnhill
Bombardier 1st Lt John W. Hull
Engineer/Top Turret Gunner T/Sgt John R. Arter
Assistant Radio Operator/Ball Turret Gunner S/Sgt Cecil M. May
Radio Operator/Gunner T/Sgt Vaughn Reaves
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Paul Gunsauls
Right Waist Gunner S/Sgt John M. Micek
Assistant Engineer/Left Waist Gunner Theadore Gomes

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Date of birth:
  • 6 February 1921
  • Date of death: 26 November 1943
  • County: Johnson
  • Hometown: Trade
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 427th Bomber Squadron, 303rd Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VIII, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Cecil M. May

Image Gallery

Click a thumbnail below to view at full size.

Submit more information on this veteran →