|Death: ||Jan. 29, 1944|
Frankfurt am Main
William John Yake was the son of William Yake (2/14/1887 Markham, Ontario - 4/1972 Riverside, California) and Anna Martha Sofia Lichtenberger(Oshoff).
William enlisted in the Army Air Corps and completed his basic training and Service Schools, earning his commission as a Second Lieutenant and his navigator's wings. In November 1943, William was sent with this new B-17 bomber crew mates to Ridgewell, England to join the 534th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, and participate in the bombing of Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany, and other targets in Europe. They were assigned for combat duty with the Group on 12/7/1943.
On Group Mission #61, William and his crew mates left Ridgewell on a bombing mission over Germany on B-17 Sn# 42-38045 (no known nickname). Their bomber, as well as another bomber, were delayed in take off due to a problem on the runway and as a result, lagged behind in the Group formation, leaving them vulnerable for attack by enemy fighters.
William was reported as being Missing in Action (MIA) on 1/29/1944 during a bombing raid over Frankfurt. Reportedly, the plane was attacked and shot down by German fighters, possibly by night-fighters of the Nachtjagdgeschwader 6 Squadron who were in operation in that area. The plane exploded before hitting the ground. All of the officers were killed on the plane along with one crewman. The rest of the enlisted crew bailed out and survived with one being wounded by German forces while trying to escape capture.
William and the other KIA crew members status was changed from MIA to Killed in Action (KIA) and declared dead on 4/28/1944. The crew, commonly referred to as the Mohnacky crew, consisted of the following men and disposition:
2nd Lt. Mohnacky, Robert W. Pilot (KIA)
2nd Lt. Flood, Joe Co-Pilot (KIA)
2nd Lt. Yake, William J. Navigator (KIA)
2nd Lt. Light, James A. Bombardier (KIA)
S/Sgt. Gentsch, Dale Top Turret (KIA)
S/Sgt. Hagen, Elmer F. Radio Operator (POW)
S/Sgt. Schenck, Peter Tail Gunner (POW)
Sgt. Grugan, Joseph W. Ball Turret (POW)
Sgt. Berg, Robert J. Right Waist Gunner (POW)
Sgt. Meyer, Russell A. Left Waist Gunner (POW)
Second Lieutenant William John Yake, Sn# O-753040, earned the following badges/decorations during his World War II service:
- Army Air Corps Pilot's Wings
- Purple Heart Medal
- Air Medal (not verified)
- American Campaign Medal
- European Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
Williams' name is memorialized on the Whatcom County, Washington War Memorial, located at the south end of the County Court House.
Martha Yake (1887 - 1927)
Note: Entered the service from Washington.
Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial
Departement de la Moselle
Plot: Plot K Row 30 Grave 13
Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56662588
In honored remembrance of your valiant service and ultimate sacrifice for our great nation and the Allied cause during World War II. May it not have been in vain.|
Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET)
Added: Apr. 10, 2013
Added: Nov. 11, 2010