Ernest Eugene McCoy went by his middle name, Eugene. His hometown was Harriman, TN.
–Submitted by Rosemary Bird

Born April 1918, Tennessee

B-24H, Serial number 42-52444, nicknamed Lazy Lady, departed from Selsey Bill on an operational mission to Chaumont and the secondary target to Troy, France. It was hit by flak and crashed 3 km eastwest of Varize. Enlisted gunners of Lt Mellens plane, which was flying number two in the lead squadron, state that they watched 42-52444 from the time it started down until it had nearly reached the ground. The plane started burning at the engines (exactly which engines cannot be definitely ascertained) and the flames wither spread immediately to the waist of fire simultaneously started in the vicinity of the waist. By the time the plane was about 2000 feet below them it was as mass of flames. At this time it broke in half. Two officers and two enlisted men agree conclusively that no one could possibly have escaped from the plane after it left their sight.

Statement from S/Sgt Harold E. Owens, the only survivor of 42-52444:
On 11 May 1944 at 10,00, our plane a B-24H took off on a mission. The target was Chaumont and the secondary target, Troy, France.  I was Engineer on this mission. At approximately 1145 we were hit by flak in the nose, which resulted in the death of 2nd Lt Victor S. Kramer, navigator, Sgt Paul K. Churm, top turret gunner and S/Sgt Eugene McKee, radio operator. The plane immediately burst into flames, and we were flying at an altitude of approximately 11,000 feet. A few seconds later the plane started into a dive, and exploded in mid air, with the result that I was blown clear of the plane. I managed to pull my rip cord and landed eight miles north of Chateaudun, France. I made a safe landing and at a distance of one-quarter of a mile I saw the plane completely wrecked and on fire. I was the only member of the crew who parachuted to safety. I did not go near the plane because I knew the bombs had not exploded. I hid in the woods and about five minutes later the bombs exploded. I am listing the following personnel who were members of the crew of my plane.
2nd Lt Lorin David McCleary, 2nd Lt Ernest E. McCoy, 2nd Lt Joseph D. Perry, Sgt Arthur C. Frey, Sgt Clemente M. Barboza, Sgt Dale L. Knapp. I am almost positive that all personnel mentioned above were buried in the town of Bartiss, eight miles NE of Chateaudun, France. All personnel were assigned to the 487th Bomber Group,  838th Bomber Squadron.

Pilot 2nd Lt Lorin David McCleary
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Ernest E. McCoy
Bombardier 2nd Lt Joseph D. Perry
Navigator 2nd Lt Victor S. Kramer Flight
Engineer/Gunner S/Sgt Harold E. Owens
Radio Operator/Gunner S/Sgt Eugene McKee
Nose Gunner  Sgt Arthur C. Frey
Top Turret Gunner Sgt Paul K. Churm
Ball Gunner  Sgt Clemente M. Barboza
Tail Gunner Sgt Dale L. Knapp

Ernest McCoy was initially buried at Solers Cemetery in Melun, France and reburied at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal (Vosges), France, Plot B, Row 35, Grave 8

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Date of death: 11 May 1944
  • County: Roane
  • Hometown: Harriman
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 838th Bomber Squadron, 487th Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal (Vosges), France
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XVII, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Ernest E. McCoy

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