Last Known Activity
James H, Clemons was born in Racine, Wisconsin on September 25, 1919 to Roy H. and Olivia H. Nelson Clemons. He attended Winston grade schools then Franklin Junior High School. He then went to Washington Park High School. He was employed by the local newspaper from the age of 12, beginning with a delivery route and ending up as a reporter and editor.
He enlisted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 22, 1941 (NARA records state 23rd.) He enlisted as a private in the Air Corps, and was shown to have completed 4 years of high school. His employment with the newspaper was noted.
Clemons was sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, then to Fort Logen, in Denver, Colorado. In February, 1942, he was sent to Brookley Field in Mobile, Alabama where he served as sergeant major for an air supply company in the air service. In September, 1942, he was accepted as an Aviation Cadet.
He received flying training at San Antonio, Corsicana, Greenville, and Aloe, all fields in Texas. He graduated and was commissioned on June 21, 1943. While in training, he had to parachute from a plane gone out of control.
In July, 1943, he married Miss Anne Hein , and then 1 month later, was deployed to England. There, he was assigned as co-pilot to the 427th Bomb Squadron's combat crew headed by Lt. Humphreys. He flew 15 missions in this position.
On January 4, 1944, a huge bomber attack was scheduled for the vicinity of Kiel, Germany. One element was to attack submarine facilities, one was to attack the submarine building factories, while the third element attacked the city center with incendiaries, to intimidate workers and destroy housing.
Clouds covered all targets, but PFF (radar) bombing was utilized to good effect. Flak was moderate, but highly accurate. Only 10-15 enemy fighters were observed, but they were aggressive, attacking the bomber stream repeatedly. The aircraft of Lt Clemons was severely damaged, and attempted to return to England, but crashed into the North Sea, killing all 10 crew members. One body washed ashore almost a year later; no other remains were recovered.
Lt Clemons is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. There is also a memorial plaque attached to the family stone in the Mound Cemetery in Racine, Wisconsin near his mother's headstone. (Grave 7, Lot 184, Block 28.)
NARA Enlistment Records
Racine (WI) Journal-Times newspaper, issue of July 3, pg 5
Lt James H. Clemons was the assigned co-pilot on B-17G # 42-31526, named "Sweet Anna," assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1682 was issued , and covers this incident. Mission loading lists show the crew was composed of:
1 Lt Fred C. Humphreys p
2 Lt James H. Clemons c-p
2 Lt Harry Hladun nav
2 Lt Burnie N. Mire bomb
TSgt Fredinand J. Janisch eng/tt gun
TSgt Arthur H. Woods r/o
SSgt Madison H. Ross btg
SSgt Edward P. Madak lwg
SSgt Melvin M. Dare rwg
SSgt William C. Sparks tail gun
SSt Madak was the only body recovered.
In the crew photo, Lt Clemons is in back row, 2nd from left
Service photo source: