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Sgt Donald P Gromis

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Sgt Donald P Gromis

Birth
Death 16 Sep 1943 (aged 20)
Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales
Burial Leesport, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 127939671 View Source
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T/Sgt, U.S. Army Air Force, 562 Bomb Squadron, 4th Wing, 8th AF, AAF. Killed in action over Germany


Sgt. Gromis had been based in England since going abroad in June. he entered the service on August 9, 1942, and before leaving the U.S. had been stationed successively at Miami and Clearwater, Fla.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Las Vegas, Nv.; Boise, Idaho, and Sioux City, Iowa. A mamber of the Flying Fortress crew. he participated in several raids. During an attack on Bonn in the Ruhr Valley last month, a news dispatch reported that a German anti-aircraft shell hit the control arm of the bomb rack in the bomber in which Gromis was serving and released all but three of the plane's missiles on target.
In Reading High School he was a major contributor to their successful basketball and football teams. He attended Syracuse University one year after graduation.
Surviving are his widow, the former Ellen Heckman, his parents Mr and Mrs Paul G Gromis, 3 brothers and a sister, Leonard of the U.S. Marine Corps, Doris,Robert and Allen, at home.
Both brothers Allen and Robert served in WW2
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On 16 September 1943, the crew of the Sondra Kay, a B17 Flying Fortress came down at Upper Cilgee farm, Llanyre, two miles from Llandrindod Wells.
We saw that the plane had brought down 15 trees as if they were matchsticks Florence Davies, now, 82 and living in Rhayader, Mrs Davies remembers the night clearly. "It was a very foggy night and I remember hearing this loud noise which must have been the plane crashing through trees on our land before it crashed," she said. "The plane crashed in a field near to the farmhouse but we couldn't see anything apart from the flames being reflected in the sky." The bodies of eight of the airmen were found that night along with the plane's engines, which ended up near the house and the stables."Because of the fog they didn't find the bodies of the other two until the next morning, when they were found in the garden," said Mrs Davies. "That day we saw that the plane had brought down 15 trees as if they were matchsticks and it was that collision that brought the plane down."
The farm is now run by Mrs Davies' son, John, who has agreed to let another plaque be placed at the site of the crash.
The remembrance service, conducted by Rev Neil Hook, has been organised by Dennis Cleaton. "Many small aircrew memorials exist in Wales, and I have always wanted to see one here for these very brave American airmen who died to help save this country in the last war," said Mr Cleaton. The plane that crashed had been on a raid on German U-boat pens at La Pallice in south west France. Part of the American 388th bombardment group based at Knettishall, Suffolk, the plane had been diverted to an airstrip near Presteigne but because of the bad weather had failed to find it.


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