Last Known Activity
Jerome Hubert Fontaine was born on January 1, 1919 in Minneapolis. Minnesota. His NARA enlistment record states he was residing there on March 26, 1942 when he enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps. According to this record, he had completed 2 years of college (unnamed), was single, and had been employed as a general office clerk. It also confirms the year of birth as 1919, but does not give the exact date. Age records in the 388th Bomb Group archives have been found to use January 1 as a default birth date in instances.
After basic training, Fontaine qualified for flight duty, and was assigned to the bombardier school. In 1943, he graduated and was commissioned and awarded wings. He was assigned to an operational unit for further training, including combat crew techniques, gunnery courses for familiarization, and simulated bomb drops. He was also assigned to a crew headed by Lt William T. Warren.
This crew deployed to England in February 1944 as a replacement combat crew. The crew was assigned to the 560th Bomb Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group. Their first combat mission was flown on March 23. They would fly a total of 27 missions, but because four sorties ended as Aborts, they only received credit for 23.
On May 25, 1944, they were scheduled as part of a raid on the railroad marshalling yards at Liege, Belgium. The bomber stream encountered flak in the Poix, France area. Fire broke out in # 3 and # 4 engines on Fontaine's aircraft when it was hit by flak. The aircraft pitched sharply to the right, and observers saw 7 parachutes. The aircraft then entered a tight spin and exploded. Two of the crew were killed.
The remainder of the crew successfully reached the ground, but 6 were quickly captured. Two more successfully evaded and returned to their unit. The two crewmen that were killed were eventually buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in France. Lt Fontaine lies in Plot A, Row 20, Grave 38.
NARA Enlistment records
Jerome Fontaine was bombardier on B-17G # 42-107017, unnamed, assigned to the 560th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 5262 covers this incident, and along with 388th Bomb Group records, indicate the crew was composed of:
1 Lt William T. Warren, Jr. p
1 Lt C.N. Hildebrandt c-p
2 Lt Eugene L. McClellan nav
2 Lt Jerome H. Fontaine bomb
TSgt C.A. Anderson eng/tt gun
TSgt Haold P. Smith r/o
SSgt Russell R. Field btg
SSgt Clearance F. Peatross rwg
SSgt S.C. Clayton lwg
PFC Arthur I. Luckanish tail gun
NOTE: All personnel records of 388th Bomb Group indicate Sgt Peatross' name was indeed "Clearance," not "Clarence."
Lts Warren and Fontaine were killed in this incident. Lt Hildebrandt and Sgt Smith successfully evaded, while the remainder of the crew were captured and imprisoned.