Last Known Activity
William F. Tyson was born, supposedly in Norriston, Pennsylvania in 1922. His parents were J. Dilmur and Eleanor Tyson. The US Census 1930 shows the family residing in Norriston.
Tyson enlisted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a private on October 9, 1942. His NARA enlistment form states he had completed 2 years of high school, and was working as a salesperson.
Selected for flight duty, he was trained as an aerial gunner and assigned to a combat force in North Africa, arriving there in early 1943. He flew at least 20 missions, although he is not believed to be an original member of the Scott crew.
On December 8, 1943, he was part of a bombing raid on the Athens/Celieus Airdrome in Greece. The target was reached, and the bomb run began. According to observers elsewhere in the formation, the aircraft drooped 2 bombs in trail, then the bombs stopped coming out. An internal explosion rocked the ship, and the aircraft fell from formation, turned over, and exploded.
Six parachutes were observed after the aircraft exploded. Six crewmen reached the ground safely, but were captured. The three rear gunners were killed.
Tyson's body was evidently recovered at some time as he now lies in a common grave with his two companion gunners in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St.Louis, Missouri. The grave is at Section 82, Site 103A.
NARA Enlistment Records
US Census 1940
SSgt William F. Tyson was the tail gunner on B-17F 3 42-3137, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1481 was issued for this loss. Mission loading lists show the crew consisted of:
1 Lt Jack A. Scott p
2 Lt Joe R. Rouselle c-p
2 Lt Cyril J. Niemic nav
2 Lt William F. O'Brien bomb
TSgt Leslie D. Morgan eng/tt gun
TSgt Howard C. Ross r/o
SSgt Homer L. Patton btg
SSgt Dennis E. French wg
SSgt William F. Tyson tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
The three rear gunners were killed; the forward crew was captured and became POWs.