Southworth, William Brooks, Maj

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1024-Pilot, Four-Engine Aircraft
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1942-1943, M 1024, 8th Air Force
Service Years
1940 - 1945

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt S. Kimbrow to remember Southworth, William Brooks, Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Feb 15, 1945
Location of Interment
Greenlawn Cemetery - Columbus, Ohio
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  1945, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Major Southworth had been an American professional baseball player (1936–1940)  prior to becoming a decorated bomber pilot in the USAAF during World War II. Rising to the rank of major, Southworth was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf clusters after completing 25 bombing missions in the European Theater of Operations in 1942 and 1943.  He served with the 427th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group. 8th Air Force at RAF Molesworth, England.

He lost his life at age 27 while leading flight training for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, when his aircraft crashed into Flushing Bay, off the Borough of Queens in New York, in early 1945.  

"He took off from Mitchell Field on Long Island in a B-29 Superfortress. Major W.L. Anken, an observer on the bomber and situated in the top gun turret, noticed smoke coming from engine one shortly after take off. He reported this over the intercom to Major Southworth. 'Keep an eye on it,' was the reply. Those were the last words of William Southworth. He tried to land at LaGuardia Field. The plane touched the runway, according to Anken, but then clipped the water and somersaulted before bursting into flames and falling into icy Rikers Island Channel of Flushing Bay. Five died in the crash, including Major Southworth. His father and stepmother flew to New York as the Navy searched for his body; it was nearly half a year before it was located... "  

He was the  son of Baseball Hall of Fame manager Billy Southworth.  Southworth Jr. grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from East High School and attended Ohio State University. An outfielder like his father, Southworth signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom Billy Sr. was then a minor league manager, in 1936. He played five seasons in the Cardinal and Philadelphia Athletics organizations, reaching the top minor league level for 15 games with the 1940 Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League.

At the end of that season, on December 12, Southworth enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps.

He was interred in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.
Other Comments:
Notes/Links: (bomb crew in England)
http://Mighty8thAF.Preller.US/php/1Unit.php?Unitkey=878,_born_1917) (stats) (newspaper photo) (quote about loss of aircraft)
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 Unit Assignments
427th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy303rd Bombardment Group, Heavy8th Air Force
  1942-1943, M 1024, 427th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1943, M 1024, 303rd Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1943, M 1024, 8th Air Force
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  B-29 Superfortress  
  1942-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1944-1045, B-29 Superfortress
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