|Birth: ||May 18, 1922|
|Death: ||Nov. 28, 1943|
S/Sgt Ottis D Alford, the son of Sidney Albert Alford, and the former Miss Valeria Isabel Clay was born in Pickton, Hopkins County, Texas. He was the husband of the former Miss Grace Edwards of White Oak, Texas. He enlisted in the Army Air Force 16 October 1942 in Tyler, Texas. After training at Grand Island, Nebraska, and other locations, he was deployed to England. He was assigned to Bomber Group 94, Bomber Squadron 333, part of the 8th Army Air Force. According to AAF accident records the B-17G [42-37815] that S/Sgt Alford was flying in on his last mission was involved in a minor accident while in transit to England, at the Presque Isle AAF Base in Maine on October 4, 1943. The pilot at this time was Lt. John W Perdue. The aircraft was repaired and on its way overseas in a short time. This was only a month or so before its loss over France. [Interesting enough, the pilot, Lt. John Perdue was involved in another B-17 accident [42-3374] which had been accepted by the AAF for service on 26 May 1943] on 12 August 1943 at Dyersburg, AFB. Sgt Alford's unit was stationed at Bury St. Edmunds Airfield near Rougham, Suffolk, UK. It was designed as Station 468 by the AAF. His unit operated out of this field from June 1943 to December 1945. The Eight Army Air Force generally operated in daylight hours and the British RAF operated during the night hours. Ottis was a waist gunner on a heavy bomber, a B-17 model G. The nose name of his B-17 was "Miss Lace". He, as well of other crew members, were listed as MIA on 28 November 1943 over France which was occupied by the Germans at the time. The 8th Air Force on Friday, 26 November 1943 in mission order # 38 sent 350 B-17s heavy bombers to attack the port area of Bremen, Germany at 1145-1229 hours. 22 B-17s were lost, 3 damaged beyond repair, and 139 were damaged. Casualties were 10 KIA, 35 WIA and 215 MIA. In addition, 128 B-17s bombers were assigned to attack industrial targets [ball bearing factories] in Ivey (Seine} or Paris, France. Ivey [Seine] is located about 30 miles west of Paris on the Eure River. The mission to attack this area was reportedly officially aborted upon arrival on target due to complete cloud cover which totally obscured the target. The mission records report the weather over target as 10/10 cloud coverage, and visibility poor. They could not see to drop bombs without endangering civilian population [which they were more careful of in France ], but the danger from attacking enemy aircraft was still as great and they were attacked by German fighter aircraft and German AA ground batteries as they circled the area coming and going. The record indicates that they were en route to the alternate target Hamm, Germany when they crashed. Crewman on the plane report that they were hit at least twice by German Fighter AC [likely by 20 MM cannon but the report does not indicate this] just before crossing the target area or just after. It appears that the waist area and the front area of the AC received direct hits from German cannon fire. This affected the two waist gunners, two pilots and navigator. Surviving crewman indicate that the damaged AC left the formation in the turn away from the target area. This is likely when the AC went out of control. Crewmen report the plane descending slowly in a spiral. Both pilots may have been wounded. They did not hear a bail out order, so each crewman took it upon himself to bail out when he saw the plane descending. Records indicate that 4 American aircraft were lost, 18 damaged, initial casualties reports were 3 WIA, and 40 MIA on this mission. The B-17 Model G [AC Serial # 42-37815] that S/Sgt Alford was flying on crashed in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. Out of the ten crew members on the aircraft, 5 were KIA, 3 became POWs, and 2 crew members were evacuated out of the county by the French underground. The following personnel made up the crew of AC 42-37815 on the mission over Paris on 26 November 1943. The pilot was 2/Lt William David Porter from Ohio. He was reportedly killed when he either jumped too late or bailed out without a parachute. He may have been injured by cannon fire. He was born in 1920 and enlisted at Lockbourne AAFB at Columbus, Ohio on 3 April 1942. He came from Clark, Ohio. He is buried in the Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, Vosgu, Lorraine Region, France. The co-pilot was 2/Lt Henry Robert Pohl. He was born in 1919 and enlisted at Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 15 April 1942. He may have been wounded because according to crew members, the pilot was frantically trying to communicate with him over the intercom just after the fighter attack. It was reported by German soldiers who captured the crew members that his parachute did not open and he was dead. The Germans found his name on his chute, flying boots and his escape kit had his photo in it. He is buried in the Epinal American Cemetery in France. The navigator was 2/Lt Angelo Rivera. He was born 4 December 1917 and enlisted in New York City 15 May 1941. He was reported by the crew as being hit by the first fighter attack and was lying mortally wounded near the navigator's table in the AC. He went down with the AC. Later, German soldiers reported him dead, and requested his first name and rank from other crew members for his grave marker. They had found his last name on his flight boots. He is buried in the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmington, New York. The bombardier was 2/Lt William T Campbell. The only information known about him was that he bailed out of the AC safely and was picked up by the French underground and hidden from the Germans. He was transported eventually out of the country and returned to England and his unit a few months later. The top turret gunner was S/Sgt Frank Joseph Moast. He had only been in England for about one month before he was shot down. He was from Spangler , PA. He trained in Florida and Mississippi before being assigned overseas. He bailed out of the AC safely and was also picked up and hidden by the French underground who helped him get out of the county and back to his unit in England a few months later. The left waist gunner was S/Sgt John David Irving. He was born in 1921 and enlisted in Albany, New York 8 September 1942. He was reported as mortally wounded and lying in the waist area of the AC. He went down with the plane and was killed in action. He is now buried in the Epinal American Cemetery, in France. The other waist gunner was S/Sgt Ottis D. Alford. He was the right waist gunner, and other crew members report him as being mortally wounded and lying in the waist area of the AC. He went down with the plane. His first name and rank was given to the Germans for a grave marker by other surviving crewmen. The ball turret gunner was S/Sgt Frank Anthony Walancus. Born in 1920 from Allegheny, PA and enlisted at Ft. George G. Meade, MD 24 October 1941. He was able to bail out and was captured and served the rest of the war in a POW camp. He was released from Stalag 17B Braunau, Gneikendorf near Krems Austria [48-15] and returned to American control on 19 July 1945. The tail gunner S/Sgt Arthur Edgar Shroyer from Harrisburg, PA. He was born in 1917 and enlisted in the AAF 23 October 1942. He was able to bail out and was captured and spent the remainder of the war as a POW. He was released to American control from Stalag 17B, Braunan, Gneikendorf near Krems, Austria on 14 June 1945. The radio operator was S/Sgt Edwin Joseph Zahn from Berkshire, MA. He enlisted in the AAF 2 November 1942 and was born in 1922. He survived the war by bailing out of the AC and was captured and placed in a POW camp. He was placed in a different POW camp than his two crew mates, probably because he was the radio operator and the Germans sent him to a special camp. He was released to American control on 1 June 1945 from Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow [formerly Heydikrug Pomerainre, Prussia] moved to Wobebelin Bei Ludwigslust and then to Usedom Bei Savannupde].
Sgt Alford's mother, Mrs Valeria Alford received a letter from a French mother who lived in the Paris area who advised her that she saw the plane go down at Doment [Seine at Oise] France and bodies taken off and transported to the hospital Beaujon at Clicky. She advises that S/Sgt Ottis Alford died on 1 December 1943 and was buried at Clicky, France. If this information is true then he survived the crash landing. She stated that she attended the burial services and was then tending to the soldier's graves. She was identified as Madame Marcelle Waller, Clichy [Seine] France. Another letter about the AC crash was received by a surviving crew member after the war written by a Frenchmen who had administered first aid to some of the crewmen who bailed out of the AC but its contents are unknown since it was written in French. After the war, S/Sgt Alford's remains were returned to Texas for burial.
Sgt Alford was awarded the Purple Heart and other ETO Battle Ribbons with stars Posthumously . It goes without saying that these men were ordinary, but they did extraordinary things for our county. They were heros and their deeds and sacrifices should never be forgotten.
Sidney Albert Alford (1886 - 1937)
Valeria I. Clay Alford (1888 - 1969)
Created by: C B Mays
Record added: Apr 21, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51439293
Thank you for your service and sacrifice to our country.|
C B Mays
Added: May. 27, 2010
Killed in action, WW II over Paris, France|
C B Mays
Added: Apr. 21, 2010