2LT Anthony Louis Destro

2LT Anthony Louis Destro

Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, USA
Death 22 Dec 1943 (aged 22)
Mirns, De Fryske Marren Municipality, Friesland, Netherlands
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Plot A, 4108
Memorial ID 3153625 View Source
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Anthony was born in Jamestown, NY on 15 JAN 1921.

And as was the Italian/Sicilian custom he was named after his Grandfather, Antonino Destro.

His parents were:

*Luigi (Louis) Destro, born in Bronte, Sicily
*Maria (Mary) Agate, born in Bronte, Sicily

His paternal Grandparents:

*Antonino Destro, Bronte
*Felicia Gullo, Bronte

His Maternal Grandparents:

*Salvatore Agate, Bronte
*Nunzia Shiros, Bronte

His Siblings:

*Phyllis, 1922-2000
*Samuel, 1930-2001

Anthony spent his early childhood in Jamestown. When he was around 10 years old his father moved the family to Florida and Anthony finished his schooling there.

In 1942, at the age of 21 he entered into the US Army Air Forces as an Aviation Cadet. He completed the program and earned his commission as a 2nd LT.

The following is an abbreviated summation of his short lived military aviation career.

US Army Air Forces, O-732613

# 14061673

of Miami, FL

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Crew Member Position ~ Bombardier

B-24 ~ serial # 42-7554,

Aircraft Inscribed Nickname: “Tail End Charlie”

Assigned to:

2nd Air Division
2nd Combat Bombardment Wing
8th Air Force
445th Bomber Group (Heavy)
702nd Squadron

Last assignment was: Tibenham Airfield, Norfolk, England.

22 DEC 1943, Mirns, Holland, age=22 ~ Killed In Action

The real & true story of an American Hero!

On that date the orders were for the 445th Bomber Group to send in its bombers to targeted areas in Osnabruck & Munster, Germany.

A massive raid consisting of 225 B-17’s & 121 B-24 flew to their targets.

Between 1300L-1500L hours they struck their targets.

5 B-17’s & 12 B-24’s are lost.

Reports from the field revealed the following:

6 immediately confirmed KIA (killed in action)
12 WIA (wounded in action)
160 MIA (missing in action), sadly almost all of the MIA’s will turn into KIA’s.

2nd LT Destro’s B-24, nick-named, “Tail End Charlie” departed on the bombing mission with a 10 man crew. They completed their tasking, however came under attack by German ME-110 fighters off the coast of Holland.

According to the Co-pilot, 2nd LT Erwin J. Beinvs’ interrogation report to the US Army Air Forces, he stated:

“…the B-24 was hit by flak over the target, losing the oxygen supply in the nose. They left the formation and went down to 14,000 feet to give oxygen to the three men in the nose (this is where the Bombardier, 2nd LT Destro would have been seated). The plane was then hit by a German ME110 and raked from end to end.”

On that mission, 7 air crew members’ lost their lives, 1 evaded capture for 473 days, and 2 became POW’s.

Although the story is tragic, families & loved ones are now able to read through several of the most reliable sources of exactly what happened to their service member or loved ones.

Thanks to Mr. Jaap Halma, a Dutchman who resides not far from the crash site. Mr. Halma conducted an amazing research project into this event in 2014.

And 7 decades after this crash, and through his lengthy and through research came upon the eye witnesses that actually saw this B-24, “Tail End Charlie” as it was crashing into a cemetery in Mirns, Holland.

Mr. Halma’s historical research story of the crash was published in March 2014 in: Periodical of the Heritage League of the Second Air Division (USAAF), Issue Number 54, page 15.

This is a direct web link to his incredible research and story as told by the eye witnesses who saw the B-24 crashing: The story starts on P. 15.


Also available released by the US Government is the full and very detailed “Debriefing, aka “INTERROGATION” Report” of the Co-Pilot, 2LT Erwin J. Bevins who was lucky enough to bail out of the B-24 seconds before it crashed. He evaded capture for 473 days in Holland with the help of the Dutch Resistance/Underground.


Please recognize and thank another Dutchman, Mr. Alexander Tuinhout. Mr. Tuinhout is an Archivist at Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden, Holland.

Mr. Tuinhout tracked down our family in the US from Holland several years ago and has provided much research & information to my family, to include the original published MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) that we never saw before.

He has been hard at work researching information and spending countless hours corresponding with government agencies for the release of information on WW II historical events & service members’ history.

A very big thanks’ to our Dutch friends Mr. Jaap Halma & Mr. Alexander Tuinhout for their hard work.

Our family, my uncle’s relative’s: his mother, father, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) never knew exactly what happened.

Over the last 70 years many of the detailed historical reports & personal letters that were sent to the US families by 1 of the first men to arrive on the crash scene have surfaced. The Dutchman who wrote the US families wass Jan Keulen, Sr. (aka John in the US).

Now recently many of the next of kin have learned the story of what happened to their family member and how their efforts contributed during World War II.

On that day, at that crash site 7 men instantly lost their life, and they did it for our country just as tens of thousands of service men have ~ in the name of freedom!

The country of Holland, and its Dutch citizens contributed immensely to the U.S. and its allies war efforts during WW II. They saved many allied lives by assisting in underground efforts to provide medical aid, food, supplies, hide and repatriate fallen soldiers & airmen.


Let us not forget the other aircrew members that were on that B-24 that crashed 2 days before Christmas, 22 DEC 1943. They are:

1LT John Harold Allen, Pilot in command age 23 ~ KIA

2ND LT Erwin James Bevins, JR., Co-Pilot age 23 ~ Evaded Capture

2ND LT Joseph F. Gill Jr., Navigator age 25 ~ POW

T/Sgt John R. Elder, Eng/Top Turret Gunner age 22 ~ KIA

T/Sgt Oscar Robbins Jr., Radio Operator age 21 ~ KIA

T/Sgt James C. Owens, Aerial Gunner age 23 ~ KIA

S/Sgt Everette Morrison Odom, Waist Gunner age 20 ~ KIA

S/Sgt Joseph J. Paveldo, Tail Turret Gunner age 20 ~ KIA

S/Sgt Harry L. Henry, Ass. Engineer ~ age 24 ~ POW

Anthony was originally buried in Holland. In 1950 several families made arrangements for their loved ones remains to be repatriated to the US.

Anthony, along with 3 of his fellow air crew members are buried together, they are:

*1st LT. John Harold Allen, Pilot
-------------( find a grave # 272408 )

*T/SGT. James C. Owens, Asst. Engineer
------------- ( find a grave#3166134 )

*T/SGT. Oscar Robbins, Jr., Radio Operator
------------- ( find a grave # 3168435 )


+++ THANK YOU Joe Orecchia & Michael Destro for spending so much time and dedication on different family members profiles.

You both have provided ancient pictures of some of our past family members, most we have never seen before. And you both have contributed to fantastic historical narratives for some of them, and other information on others.

We all really appreciate what you all have done.....Thank you so much!

From our family, we thank you for remembering them.


My name is Anthony L. Destro, II.
This was my uncle who perished in this crash.

Family Members