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2LT Wilburn E Furr
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Birth: Jan. 30, 1920
Concord
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Sep. 30, 1944
Bielefeld
Bielefelder Stadtkreis
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Second Lieutenant Wilburn E. Furr, Army serial number O-750971, was born at Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina on January 30, 1920. He was one of at least five children of Arthur Jason Furr Sr (6 Oct 1896 – 26 Mar 1981) and Eva Lola (Blackwelder) Furr (23 Jun 1896 – 18 May 1973), who were born at Concord, North Carolina. His parents married at Concord, North Carolina on July 8, 1914. His father was a weaver at a cotton mill. Prior to enlisting, Wilburn Furr worked for Canon Mills Textile Company in Concord, North Carolina. His home of record was Route #1, Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina. His family lived on Rocky River Road, just south of Concord.

He completed Army Air Forces pilot training in Class 43-G, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on July 28, 1943. He was then assigned as copilot on the heavy bomber crew Lt Edgar L. Fuller in the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. The Fuller 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. The Fuller crew flew B-24H 42-52609 from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Lavenham, England 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 3d Bomb Division of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. There is a photo of Lt Furr with the Edgar L. Fuller crew, taken during the deployment.

By August 1944 the 487th Bomb Group transitioned to flying the B-17 'Flying Fortress'; and by September 1944 Lt Furr was assigned as copilot on the crew of Lt Harold E. Oesch in the 836th Bomb Squadron. Here is the Oesch crew roster on September 30, 1944:

B-17G 43-38154 – 836th Bomb Squadron
• Oesch, Harold E – 1/Lt – Pilot – O-814954 – KIA
• Furr, Wilburn E – 2/Lt – Copilot – O-750971 – KIA
• Miller Jr, Henry J – 1/Lt – Navigator – O-696503 – KIA
• Zalneraitis, Vitold A – 1/Lt – Bombardier – O-694996 – POW
• Volavka, Melo – T/Sgt – Engineer – 37149994 – KIA
• Stanley, Martin E – T/Sgt – Radio Operator – 33582014 – KIA
• Graves, Hudie E – S/Sgt – Ball Turret Gunner – 38444547 – KIA
• Green, Willard A – S/Sgt – Tail Gunner – 37491798 – KIA
• Focht, William J – S/Sgt – Waist Gunner – 17119136 – KIA

On September 30, 1944, the 487th Bomb Group took off from Lavenham Airfield to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Bielefeld, Germany. The Oesch crew flew B-17G 43-38154 'Heavenly Body' on this mission. Lt Furr and seven of his crew mates were killed in action when their aircraft collided with another aircraft just after bombs away over Bielefeld. Apparently Lt Oesch, flying in the number 7 position of the Low Squadron, was caught in prop wash turbulence during the descending turn away from the target. His aircraft flipped over on its back and collided with B-17G 43-38037 'Liberty Belle', piloted by Lt Raymond F. Jackson, who was flying in the number 9 position. (Note: This is based on an eyewitness account, and differs from the report in MACR 9423.) 'Liberty Belle' lost its outboard starboard wing, and both ships went down. Lt Zalneraitis, bombardier on the Oesch crew, was able to parachute safely and survived as a prisoner of war. Seven members of the Jackson crew were killed; two survived.

After the war, Lt Furr's remains were returned to the United States and reinterred at Oakwood Cemetery in Concord, North Carolina. He is buried in Section I, Lot 57, next to his parents.

Sources:
1. 487th Bomb Group Association
2. 1920 US Census; North Carolina; Cabarrus County; Township #11. Furr, Arthur J. 7 Jan 1920 (father of Wilburn Eugene Furr)
3. 1940 US Census; North Carolina; Cabarrus County; Township #11. Furr, Arthur J. 1 May 1940 (father of Wilburn Eugene Furr)
4. Cemetery records of Oakwood Cemetery in Concord, NC
5. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004
6. Furr, Wilbur Eugene. World War II Draft Registration Card. 1941 (Undated D.S.S. Form 1, Revised 6-9-41. He was 21 years old when he registered.)
7. 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 deployment to England)
8. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 9423
9. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946
10. World War I Draft Registration of Arthur J. Furr. 5 Jun 1918 (his father)

Research by:
Paul Webber
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Arthur Jason Furr (1896 - 1981)
  Eva Lola Blackwelder Furr (1896 - 1973)
 
 Siblings:
  William Arthur Furr (1915 - 1916)*
  Annie Norine Furr (1917 - 1918)*
  Wilburn E Furr (1920 - 1944)
  Arthur Jason Furr (1933 - 2011)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
WILBURN E FURR
NORTH CAROLINA
2D LIEUT 836 AAF BOMB SQ
WORLD WAR II
JAN 30 1920 SEP 30 1944
 
Burial:
Oakwood Cemetery
Concord
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA
Plot: Section I, Lot 57
 
Created by: Paul Webber
Record added: Oct 10, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 78093113
2LT Wilburn E Furr
Added by: B24CoPilotNiece
 
2LT Wilburn E Furr
Added by: B24CoPilotNiece
 
2LT Wilburn E Furr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Armantia
 
 
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- K&V Grammer
 Added: Oct. 7, 2013

-Anonymous
 Added: Oct. 8, 2012
~Honoring Your Service, Your Story, and Your Sacrifice~ Jana
- B24CoPilotNiece
 Added: Oct. 19, 2011
 
 
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