S/Sgt Thomason was a gunner on B-24L #44-49710, assigned to the 15th Air Force, 464th Bombardment Group, 779th Bombardment Squadron. The plane was named Stevenovich II, after the pilot's son.
They were flying from Pantanella Air Base on a bombing mission against Lugo Italy to support ground forces of the the British 8th Army. Right after releasing the bombs the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire on the left wing which caught fire and broke apart. The plane turned over and started tumbling. The radar operator was thrown clear and was able to parachute to the ground where he was taken prisoner. The other ten men aboard were killed.
Thanks to Eric (Find A Grave member dfr, #47109209)
The Wellington Leader September 6, 1945
The Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to S-Sgt. Melvin Thomason and recently was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Thomason of the Cottonwood Ranch.
Sgt. Thomason was a gunner on a B-24 bomber with the 15th Air Force in Germany. He was killed in action April 10, however he was listed as missing in action from that date until late June. The young flyer was 19 years of age.
Thanks to Find A Grave member Dodson Cemetery Association (#47740398).
World War II
Aerial Gnr. MIA