Last Known Activity
According to his enlistment records, Ralph N. Warne was born in New Jersey in 1921. His mother was Margaret Warne. The US Census 1930 shows her listed as Divorced: family info states she later remarried with name of Meister. (Headstine and Interment Record Card as well as MACR 12439, that shows her as Mother.
He enlisted in New York City (residing in New Jersey) on September 15, 1942. He had completed 4 years of high school and was employed as a general office clerk.
Evidently, he received training as a flight engineer and as an aerial gunner because he was assigned to Lt Wertz's combat crew in England in this capacity in November, 1944.
He flew 23 missions with this crew, the first being on December 11, 1944 to Mannheim, Germany. On February 16, 1945, the assigned target was the synthetic oil plant at Langerdreed, Germany. Over the target, flak was intense and accurate.
The aircraft was hit directly in engine #1, which pulled loose from the wing, sailed backward, and struck the aircraft in the fuselage at the waist window, tearing a huge hole in the aircraft. The aircraft dropped from, and lagged behind the formation, and later crashed at Klieve, Germany. Three crew members were killed in the crash; the rest taken prisoner.
After the war, Warne's body was recovered and buried in the American (Ardennes) Cemetery in France, where he lies in Plot B, Row 15, Grave 19.
NOTE: In a special ceremony on November 15, 1997, TSgt Warne was awarded (posthumously) the Distinguished Flying Cross.
NOTE: Info received from researcher that mother was remarried and named Margaret Meister.
NARA Enlistment Records
TSgt Ralph N. Warne was the assigned flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17G # 43-39081, unnamed, assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 12439 details this event. Mission loading lists show the crew to have been:
1 Lt Robert M. Wertz p
2 Lt Melvin A. Durst c-p
2 Lt Karl Minnis nav
TSgt John B. Price tog
TSgt Ralph N. Warne eng/tt gun
TSgt Edward J. Giering r/o
SSgt Kenneth E. Jensen btg
SSgt Walter C. Campbell wg
Sgt Kenneth A. Bennett tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Price, Warne, and Bennett were the crew members killed.
In the crew photo of Lt Wertz's crew (1944) Warne is in the back row, 4th from left