William “Bill” Henry Mary Jr. was the son of William Henry Mary and Nelle J. Gurley. He was a graduate of Knoxville Catholic High School with the class of 1939. He enlisted on September 6, 1941, in Fort Oglethorpe, GA and served with the 730th Bomber Squadron, 452nd Bomber Group, Heavy.
-Buried at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold (Moselle), France, A, 15, 54

Aircraft B-17G with serial number 42-97525 was on a bombing mission to Berlin, Germany. The plane broke up in mid-air. The tail section broke off and the plane dived in, burning very heavy. The plane was observed to crash and burn with the bombs still in the plane. It crashed at Hebewerk Rothensee, 11km Northwest of Magdeburg, Germany. 2nd Lt Mary was last seen by the pilot, adjusting his chute when the plane broke up. He was initially buried 14 March at the Barleben Cemetery. All other crew members bailed out and were taken prisoner of war.

Crew members
Pilot, 1st Lt Frank S. Stephens
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt William H. Mary Jr.
Navigator, 2nd Lt Irving Levin
Bombardier, 2nd Lt Leon R. Kloeper
Radio Operator S/Sgt Floyd T. Benjamin
Top Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Benjamin W. Robertson
Ball Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Earl F. Matthews
Left Waist Gunner, Pvt William D. Strayhorn
Right Waist Gunner, Sgt James F. Leonard
Tail Gunner, Sgt Joseph F. LaFrance

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, July 6, 1944
William H. Mary Sr., Route 15, will be presented with the Air Medal on behalf of his son, Second Lt. William H. Mary Jr., who has been reported missing in action. Lt. Mary was awarded the medal “for exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in five separate bomber combat missions over enemy occupied Europe.”
The presentation will be made at 4:30 p.m. by Col. Oliver H. Stout, commanding officer of the Greenville Army Air Base at Greenville, S.C., who will drive to Knoxville accompanied by two members of his staff.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, April 15, 1945
Lt. William H. Mary Jr., 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Mary Sr., previously reported missing in action for over a year, has been killed in action, the War Department informed his parents. Lieutenant Mary is a graduate of Catholic High School and attended the University of Tennessee. He was co-pilot on a B-17 Flying Fortress in England and was reported missing on his fifth mission, March 8, 1944. His parents received the Air Medal from the War Department after he was reported missing. He received his wing at Fort Sumner, N.M. and went overseas Jan. 1, 1944.

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Date of birth:
  • 21 June 1920
  • Date of death: 8 March 1944
  • County: Knox
  • Hometown: Knoxville
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 730th Bomber Squadron, 452nd Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold (Moselle), France
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XIV, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor William H. Mary Jr.

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