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Lieut James Joseph Dolan
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Birth: Sep. 26, 1920
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Death: Aug. 25, 1944
Rechlin
Mecklenburgische Seenplattener Landkreis
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Lieutenant James Joseph Dolan, Army serial number O-749835, was born in Los Angeles, California on September 26, 1920. His family and friends called him Jimmy Joe. He was the youngest of four children of Francis Hager Dolan (23 Jun 1880 – 24 Sep 1956), who was born in Nebraska, and Josephine Ware (Happersett) Dolan (19 Jul 1880 – 8 Dec 1967), who was born in Ohio. His parents married at the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana in Los Angeles, California on November 19, 1902. His father was a real estate broker. In January 1920 the family lived at 1726 W 54th Street, Los Angeles, California. By 1930 the family lived at 3660 Aureola Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. He completed three years of college, and was single, without dependents, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Los Angeles, California on June 5, 1942.

He completed Army Air Forces bombardier training, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on July 10, 1943. He was then assigned to the heavy bomber crew of Lt Robert O. Shacklett in the 839th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. The Shacklett crew completed B-24 combat crew training with the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico, and deployed with the Group to England in March 1944. There is a photo of Lt Dolan and the Robert O. Shacklett crew that was taken at Herington, Kansas during the overseas deployment. The Shacklett crew flew B-24H 42-52618 'Chief Wapello' overseas via the southern Atlantic ferry route—a journey of about 10,000 miles—and arrived in England by mid-April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137, near the village of Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and was part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. In July 1944 the 487th Bomb Group transitioned to flying the B-17 'Flying Fortress'.

After arrival at Lavenham, Lt Dolan was assigned to the lead crew of Lt Joseph A. Duncan in the 839th Bomb Squadron. On August 25, 1944, the Duncan crew took off from Lavenham Airfield on a mission to bomb the German airfield at Rechlin, Germany. Captain Winston S. Rogers flew in the copilot position as Air Leader. Copilot Lt James Hood Jr moved to the tail gunner postion as Officer Tail Gunner and formation observer. Lt Dolan and eight of his crew mates were killed in action when the aircraft was hit by flak just after bombs away over Rechlin, Germany. The right outer wing was lost, and the burning aircraft went into a right spin, exploded, and broke apart before crashing in Muritz Lake (Mόritzsee) near Boek, Germany, north of the target. Two crew members, 1/Lt Joseph Anderson Duncan and S/Sgt Monroe Stanley Wolyn, were blown clear and survived. Lt Hood's body was never found. He probably went to the bottom of Muritz Lake with the aircraft wreckage.

Here is the Duncan crew roster on August 25, 1944:
  B-17G 43-37980 – 839th Bomb Squadron
• Duncan, Joseph A – 1/Lt – Pilot – POW
• Rogers, Winston S – Capt – Air Leader – KIA
• Jones, Richard L – Capt – Pilotage Navigator – KIA
• Friedman, Ely N – 2/Lt – Navigator – KIA
• Dolan, James J – 2/Lt – Bombardier – KIA
• Henahan, Joseph W – T/Sgt – Engineer – KIA
• Brown, Gerard F – T/Sgt – Radio operator – KIA
• Everett, Lloyd E – S/Sgt – Ball Turret Gunner – KIA
• Brown, Rhodes L – S/Sgt – Waist Gunner – KIA
• Wolyn, Monroe S – S/Sgt – Waist Gunner – POW
• Hood Jr, James – 2/Lt – Tail Gunner – MIA

Lt Dolan's body was found in Muritz Lake near Steinhorn, northwest of Rechlin, on September 17, 1944. He was buried along with seven of his crew mates at the Retzow Cemetery in Retzow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, a short distance north of Rechlin Airfield.

His remains were returned to the United States and reinterred at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California on June 6, 1949. He is buried in the Sunny Slope Section, Lot 370, Grave W14, next to his parents.

Lt Dolan's parents donated a statue of 'Christ the Good Shepherd' to Transfiguration Catholic Church in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California, in memory of Lt Dolan. The inscription on the pedestal reads:

TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE OF THIS PARISH WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY AND GAVE THEIR LIVES UPHOLDING THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE AND CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES.
ERECTED BY FRANCIS HAGER DOLAN AND JOSEPHINE HAPPERSETT DOLAN IN MEMORY OF THEIR BELOVED SON LT. JAMES JOSEPH DOLAN, 1947.

Sources:
1. 49 Squadron Association. Retzow Cemetery in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany (shows location of cemetery, east of the town)
2. 487th Bomb Group Association
3. 1910 US Census; California; Los Angeles County; Los Angeles; 521 W 53rd Street. Dolan, H Francis. 16 Apr 1910 (Francis H. Dolan, his father)
4. 1920 US Census; California; Los Angeles County; Los Angeles; 1726 W 54th Street. Dolan, Francis H. 6 Jan 1920 (his father)
5. 1930 US Census; California; Los Angeles County; Venice Township; 3660 Aureola Boulevard. Dolan, Francis H. 14 Apr 1930 (his father)
6. 1940 US Census; California; Los Angeles County; Venice Township; View Park; 3660 Aureola Blvd. Dolan, Francis H. 19 Apr 1940 (his father)
7. California Death Records, 1940–1997: DOLAN, JOSEPHIN H [sic]; mother's maiden name: DYE; birth 19 Jul 1880; death 8 Dec 1967; birth place Ohio; death place: Los Angeles County
8. California, County Marriages, 1850–1952: Francis H. Dolan, age 23, married Josephine W. Happersett, age 22, at Saint Vibiana Cathedral, Los Angeles, California on 19 Nov 1902.
9. Cemetery records of Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, CA
10. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004
11. Duncan, Joseph A. Personal Conversation. 23 Sep 2014 (Pilot, 839th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomb Group)
12. Enlistment Record of James J. Dolan
13. Flynn, Ronald B. Personal Communication. Aug 2011 (cousin of James J. Dolan)
14. HQ, 359th Combat Crew Training School, Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. Special Orders Number 71. 11 March 1944 (487th Bomb Group flight echelon order to proceed from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Herington, Kansas during the overseas deployment to England)
15. Social Security Death Index
16. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 8470
17. U.S. Department of the Army, Adjutant General Office, Technical Records Section. Individual Deceased Personnel File of James J. Dolan, O-749835 (aka '293 File')
18. U.S. National World War II Memorial Registry. Honoree James J. Dolan (honored by Joyce Flynn)
19. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946

Research by:
Paul Webber
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Francis Hager Dolan (1880 - 1956)
  Josephine Ware Happersett Dolan (1880 - 1967)
 
Inscription:
     OUR BELOVED SON
LT. JAMES JOSEPH DOLAN
         1920 – 1944
 
Burial:
Inglewood Park Cemetery
Inglewood
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Sunny Slope, Lot 370, Grave W14
GPS (lat/lon): 33.9706, -118.341
 
Created by: Paul Webber
Record added: Mar 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87488247
Lieut James Joseph Dolan
Added by: Paul Webber
 
Lieut James Joseph Dolan
Added by: Paul Webber
 
Lieut James Joseph Dolan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: James Seidelman
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Not forgotten
- Sandra Boudrou
 Added: Jun. 14, 2014
 
 
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