Joseph Leonard Albury, Jr was born on 13 February 1917, in Miami, Florida, his father, Joseph, was 38 and his mother, Mary Olive (Millard) Albury was 27. Joseph was referred to by his family members using his middle name Leonard. He had four brothers, two older Joseph K. and Gordon M. and two younger Phillip S. I. and Charles (Don). One older sister Barbara M. and one younger sister. Joseph, Jr will hereafter in this bio be referred to as Leonard, as he would be remembered by his family.
Prior to entering military service Leonard was the chief accountant for the Embry-Riddle Flying School at Arcadia, Florida. He was a graduate of Miami High School and attended the University of Miami.
Leonard was enlisted into the military on 10 January 1942 at Camp Blanding Florida, original ASN: 34200250, and transferred to Santa Ana Army Air Base, CA for AAF basic training and aptitude evaluation. During this process Leonard was quickly advanced into the Aviation Cadet Program. Leonard was assigned to Eagle Field, Dos Palos Airport, in central California for primary pilot school training flying Ryan PT-22s training there through January 1943. He would go on to advanced pilot training where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and awarded his silver pilot wings, and issued his new officer serial number O-747698.
Leonard continued to advance in his pilot training being awarded his multi-engine rating. In January 1944 Leonard was assigned to combat training with the 335th Bomb Group (BG), 474th Bomb Squadron (BS) a B-26 Marauder Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana. By 27 March 1944 combat crew training was completed and Leonard and his crew were ready for overseas deployment.
By order of Barksdale Field HQ Special Order No. 84 dated 24 March 1944 assigned Leonard and his crew designated as #12 of the 474th BS were deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Deployment was to be carried out via the South Atlantic air route through Brazil to North Africa. Final destination and assignment was with the 17th BG, 95th BS, 12th Air Force already operational at that time from the Air Field at Villacidro on the island of Sardinia.
Villacidro Air Field Ref:
Once Leonard reached Villacidro Air Field he would go on to complete 33 missions with the 95th Squadron, 17th BG. Sadly Leonard was killed in action along with his crew, save two members on his 34th mission on 20 August 1944. This was a bombing mission attacking the large harbor defensive gun emplacements at Toulon, France during Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France.
There are some historic images, one included here of the loss of Leonard’s B-26 Marauder B-26C-45-MO-42-107735, named “Flossie's Fury" captured by photographer S/Sgt. Peter Holmes aboard another 17th BG aircraft that day. Quite horrific capturing the moment a Nazi 88 mm AAA shell exploded removing the starboard engine of Leonard’s Marauder. The plane would crash east of the target near Carquieranne, France.
Miraculously two crew members were able to escape and evade capture. Well documented in this internet account:
The following is a listing of Leonard’s crew on this day of days with links to their final resting places today.
1st Lt Joseph Leonard Albury, Jr.,(Pilot) KIA
2nd Lt Joseph J Casey (Co-Pilot) KIA
2nd Lt Edgar W Hawthorne (Bombardier) KIA
1st Lt Paul Marshall, Jr (Navigator) KIA
S/Sgt Francis A Pesta (gunner) KIA
Pvt Herman L Frieden Photo/Gunner KIA
S/Sgt Robert J McCluskey (Radio Operator) Evaded, RTD, EUS
S/Sgt George L Moscovis (Engineer/Gunner) Evaded, RTD, EUS
After Allied forces had captured southern France the remains of Leonard, 2nd Lt Joseph J Casey, 2nd Lt Edgar W Hawthorne and 1st Lt Paul Marshall, Jr., where initially interred at the Luynes, Temporary Cemetery Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur approximate coordinates 43°29'10.74"N,5°25'5.37"E this temporary cemetery no longer exists. Postwar Leonard and his three crew members were returned to the United States and interred in a common grave because individual identification was not possible. They to this day rest together at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, may they all rest in peace together.
1st Lt Joseph Leonard Albury, Jr awards included, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Air Medal with 1 Silver and 4 Bronze Oak-Leaf Clusters. This award is presented under authority of General Order No. 120, Twelfth Air Force. Presented for meritorious achievement during the following missions:
Taggia, Italy 3 May 1944
Cortona, Italy 13 May 1944
Lissono, Italy 19 May 1944
Capretrello, Italy 26 May 1944
Pontassieve, Italy 27 May 1944
La Bufolara, Italy 30 May 1944
Pisoniano, Italy 2 June 1944
Termi, Italy 5 June 1944
Zoagli, Italy 20 July 1944
Toulon, France 13 August 1944
Obviously this is not a complete record of Leonard’s 34 missions, however adds some depth to the known missions in which he participated, and Leonard was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal posthumously, as many are when KIA.
Leonard’s youngest brother, Capt. Charles “Don” Albury also an AAF pilot acquired some fame assigned to the 509th Composite Group. Don Albury served as pilot abroad the B-29 named “Bockscar”, commanded by Major Charles W Sweeney during the Kokura/Nagasaki mission 9 August 1945, which helped to bring the Pacific War to an end, with Japanese unconditional surrender.
Bio by Vindicator I
1LT, Air Corps, August 20, 1944