Last Known Activity
David M. Davis, Jr. was born in Pennsylvania in 1913. His parents were David M., Sr. and Elizabeth E. Davis. Both the US Censuses 1930 and 1940 lists the family as residing in West Mahanoy, Pennsylvania.
Davis was drafted, and inducted into military service on August 25, 1942 at Allentown. He had completed 4 years of high school, and was employed as a salesperson. He was assigned to the Army Air Forces, and trained as an aerial gunner. He was then assigned to crew training which took him through many stations in Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Tennessee. The crew deployed to England, arriving there in October, 1943.
The first combat mission came on November 3, 1943 - a raid on facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The second mission was scheduled for November 5, 1943 - a bombing strike aimed at the synthetic oil plants at Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The aircraft was hit by flak near the target, rendering one engine, the compass, and the electrical system inoperable. The bombardier salvoed the bomb load to prevent an explosion. The pilot turned to a return course to England, and ordered bail out. Only two crewmen managed to do so. They landed safely, and with the aid of French patriots, evaded until August, 1944, when they managed to return to England.
All the remaining crew was in the aircraft when it vanished. Presumably, it crashed into the English Channel, and all were killed. No remains or wreckage was recovered. Today, Sgt Davis is listed on the Walls of the Missing in the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. There is a memory stone for him located in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Pennsylvania.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Sgt David M. Davis, Jr. was acting as a waist gunner on B-17G # 42-37748, unnamed, assigned to the 418th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1156 contains details of this loss. Crew rosters and mission lists show the crew as:
2 Lt Thomas R. Martin p
2 Lt James A. Kennemer c-p
2Lt James W. McCorley nav
2 Lt Joseph P. Murphy bomb
Sgt Lloyd R. Arnett eng/tt gun
SSgt Donald H. Allwine r/o
Sgt Cosmos J. Braun, Jr. btg
Sgt David M. Davis, Jr. wg
Sgt Merritt K. Gillespie wg
Sgt Laverne E. Clarke tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Lts McCorley and Murphy evaded.
In the crew photo, Davis in in the back row, at left.
Sgt Braun, Jr.'s first name is recorded as "Cosmos" in crew roster. All other sources list "Cosmas."