William Wert French was born in North Carolina, the son of William Wert French and Hettie Lavada Smith.

2nd Lieutenant French was the pilot of U.S. Army Air Corps B-17F Flying Fortress #42-29548. Killed when his bomber collided with B-17F #42-3464 at 10,000 feet over Brooksville Army Airfield, Florida.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 18, 1944
Alcoa- Second Lt. William W. French Jr., pilot on a B-17 Flying Fortress, was killed on July 20, when his and another Fortress collided in mid-air while flying in formation near Tampa, Fla. Young French was a graduate of Alcoa High School and worked for the Aluminum Co. of America prior to entering the service. Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. French and one sister, Nelda Sue.
The body was returned to Alcoa for a military burial with six of his friends, three Navy and three Army men, serving as pall bearers.

He received his basic training at Miami Beach, Fla., and received his commission at Moody Field on March 12th, 1944.

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Date of birth:
  • 22 August 1924
  • Date of death: 20 July 1944
  • County: Blount
  • Hometown: Alcoa
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 306th Bomber Group, 369th Bomber Squadron
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount County, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VI, Bottom Panel
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