Last Known Activity
Paul M. Kerr was born on October 10, 1920 in Westminster, Ohio to George W. and Goldie Maybell Montague Kerr. Both the US Censuses 1930 and 1940 show the family residing in Auglaize, Ohio.
Kerr enlisted at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana on January 8, 1942 as a private in the Army Air Forces. He was selected for flight duty, and subsequently trained as a pilot. He entered pilot training on March 13, 1943, and received training at both Arcadia, Florida and Greenwood, Mississippi before graduating on January 7, 1944.
He was awarded wings, commissioned, and sent overseas in 1944 to a bomber unit in Italy. There, he flew at least 5 missions.
On July 26, he was tasked as part of a crew to bomb the aircraft engine plant at Weiner-Neudorf, Austria. Weather conditions worsened as the flight progressed, and a Recall was issued. The planes of the 301st Bomb Group did not receive that call, but the fighter escort did, and left.
The unprotected bombers continued to the target area where they were attacked by numerous German fighters. At least 11 of the 38 plane formation were shot down. Kerr's plane was raked from nose to tail by machine gun and cannon fire which killed several crew members at their stations. The aircraft was riddled with holes, and soon crashed near Strallegg, Austria.
Only two crew members survived, and they were captured by enemy troops. The dead were recovered and buried locally. After the war, they were retrieved and moved to various cemeteries. Lt Kerr now lies in the Westminster Salem Cemetery in Westminster, Ohio.
US census 1930
US Census 1940
Ohio Birth Index, 1908-1964
Application for Headstone Records Card (signed by father in 1950)
Lt Paul M. Kerr was acting as co-pilot on B-17G # 44-6168, not named, assigned to the 32nd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 7142 was issued, although the copy is faint and redacted in part. No details are given concerning the loss. Mission loading lists show the crew as:
1 Lt Ralph C. Delonney p
2 Lt Paul M. Kerr c-p
2 Lt Bobbie L. Massey nav
2 Lt Jack S. Kuhn bomb
SSgt Gilbert J. Chesney eng/tt gun
TSgt Joseph K. Salasek r/o
SSgt George Demos btg
SSgt Eugene H. Anderson wg
SSgt Melvin K. Stark wg
SSgt Roscoe G. Fulton tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
In the loading list, the pilot's name is spelled "Delloney," and the navigator's name is spelled "Bobbie." All other sources use "Delonnay" and "Bobby."
The only survivors were Demos and Stark.