Paterson, Lester F., Sgt

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Paterson, Lester F., Sgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron

Lucera, Italy

Casualty Date
May 29, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Woodlawn National Cemetery - Elmira, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section G, Site 4855

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Lester Frederick Paterson was born to Lester A. and Margaret C. Gibb Paterson on March 8, 1919 in Natick, Massachusetts. He was one of six children in the family. The US Censuses 1920 and 1930 shows the family in Newton, Massachusetts.

Paterson attended Newton High School where he was a member of the school band, and active in school government. He graduated in 1937. He married Louise C. Hickie in Waltham, Massachusetts on July 26, 1941.

He enlisted as a private in the Army Air Forces on July 20, 1942 in Boston. His enlistment record shows he had completed 4 years of high school, and was employed as a semi-skilled driver/chauffeur.

Paterson was selected for flight duty, and received training as an aerial gunner. He was sent overseas in late 1943 to a unit stationed in North Africa, and later moved to a unit in Italy. According to records, he flew at least 5 missions.

On May 29, 1944, he was part of a crew sent to bomb the railway marshalling yards located at Wallendorf A/D, Austria. Over Yugoslavia, the aircraft was hit and damaged by flak. The #2 engine was smoking, as the aircraft went into a tight spin, and dove toward a lower altitude. Then, the aircraft exploded.

All crewmen managed to bail out before the explosion, but two were killed in the jump. Another's parachute did not open properly, and he suffered injuries of which he died 4 months later in a partisan hospital. The partisans rescued and returned 5 of the crew. They buried the dead at the crash site. Two of the crew were captured, and one died in partisan hands of his wounds.

After the war, the two dead crewmen were retrieved and returned to the U.S. where they are buried in a common grave in the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. The grave is in Section G, Site 4855.
US Census 1920
US Census 1930
NARA Enlistment Records
National Cemeteries Interment Records card (1949)
Massachusetts Marriage Index


Sgt Lester F. Paterson was acting as waist gunner on B-17G # 42-97580, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 5444 was issued, but gives few details of the loss. Mission loading lists state the crew was composed of:

2 Lt Francis A. DiDomizo  p
2 Lt Otto R. Hinds  c-p
2 Lt Jerome M. Cohen  nav
2 Lt Charles R. Wensley  bomb
Sgt  William M. Lessera  eng/tt gun
SSgt George A. Bertuzzi  r/o
Sgt  Richard J. Adam  btg
Sgt  Lester F. Paterson  wg
Sgt  Harold G. Swenson  tail gunner
SSgt Jimmie G. O'Leary  photo

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Adam and Paterson were killed; Hinds died of wounds later.

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