Last Known Activity
According to documents located, Lt Duke D. Cummings was born in Port Aransas, Texas in 1921. His parents were Newton L. and Elva S. Cummings. The US Census 1930 shows the family living in Port Aransas while the US Census 1940 has them in Luling, Texas, and Elva is listed as "divorced."
Cummings enlisted at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas on November 1, 1941 as an aviation cadet. His enlistment papers confirm nativity and birth year, and also state he had completed 2 years of college (unnamed), and was a semiskilled routeman.
After completing pilot training, Cummings was commissioned, awarded wings, and assigned to transitional flying in multi-engined aircraft. He was assigned to the 301st Bomb Group. and deployed with them to England in 1942.
In October, 942, the 301st Bomb Group moved most of its aircraft to Algeria in North Africa. Some units moved as the front lines moved, so members of aircraft crews had a few stations in a short time.
On April 13, 1943, the aircraft left St. Donat, Algeria for a bombing run on targets in Sicily and Italy. It never returned. No details have been located on the loss of this aircraft.
Evidently, bodies of the crew were never recovered, as the crew is memorialized in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy on the Walls of the Missing.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Lt Duke D. Cummings was the assigned co-pilot on B-17F # 41-24394, named "Hockomolock Jock IV BB," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron. No explanation of or for the name is given in aircraft records - just the name, number, and squadron call sign.
Missing Air Crew Report 16302 was issued. Outside of crew listing and aircraft identification, it merely states "Failed to return from mission." The crew is listed as:
1 Lt Jerry E. Thomas p
1 Lt Duke D. Cummings c-p
1 Lt Harry A. Wann, Jr. nav
1 Lt William E. Loewecke bomb
TSgt Julius J. Jacobs eng/tt gun
TSgt Joel B. Busby r/o
SSgt Ray O. Weeks btg
SSgt James Agee wg
Sgt Robert F. Nance photo
SSgt Richard J. Carignan tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date. Records state Thomas was promoted to Captain May 18, 1943.