Last Known Activity
Leander J. Aurie was born on July 31, 1923 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to his NARA enlistment record, he enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps on October 15, 1942. The record also states he had completed 4 years of high school, was single, and had previously been a machinist.
After he completed basic training, he was sent to aerial gunnery school. He graduated and was promoted to Sergeant. Then, he was assigned to an operational unit for further training and combat crew assignment. These training venues included Salt Lake City, Utah; Ephrata, Washington; and Pendleton Field, Washington. The crew deployed overseas in November, 1943.
The crew arrived in England, and was assigned to the 367th Bomb Squadron of the 367th Bomb Group, operating from Thurleigh. On January 11, 1944, the crew was scheduled to fly in the low squadron on a group raid on the Junkers aircraft factory at Halberstadt, Germany.
Over the target, no enemy aircraft were encountered, and flak was light. As the formation reached Holland on the return flight, it was attacked by a number of German aircraft. In avoiding one attack, a B-17 veered out of formation and clipped the aircraft Sgt Aurie was in. The pilot managed to regain control of the aircraft, but it was then attacked by three waves of enemy aircraft using the "12 o'clock high" maneuver. It was shot down, but some of the crew bailed out.
The aircraft crashed near Epe, Holland. Nine bodies were recovered and buried in a local cemetery. After the Allies gained control of the territory, the men were moved to the American Cemetery at Margraten, Holland. After the war, Sgt Aurie was returned to the U.S. and buried in Allouz Catholic Cemetery and Chapel Mausoleum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory records
NARA Enlistment records
The aircraft involved in this loss was B-17G # 42-31451, nicknamed "BIOYA," assigned to the 367th Bomb Squadron. Records indicate that "BIOYA" was an abbreviation for "Blow It Out Your Ass."
Missing Air Crew Report 1934 identifies the crew as:
2 Lt Ross A. McCollum p
2 Lt Marcum E. Thomas c-p
2 Lt Daniel P. Jones nav
2 Lt Llyod G. Crabtree bomb
SSgt Warren A. Warner eng/tt gun
SSgt Henry A. Stelmach r/o
Sgt Howard L. Chatelaine btg
Sgt Warren B. Goss lwg
Sgt Leander J. Aurie rwg
Sgt Andrew F. Barrus tail gun
Lt. Crabtree was the only survivor. He was captured and remained in Stalag Luft I until liberated at war's end.
Service p-hoto source"