Lieut Gilbert Benny “Gib” Hadley

Lieut Gilbert Benny “Gib” Hadley

Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas, USA
Death 1 Aug 1943 (aged 22)
Burial Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas, USA
Plot Space 1, Lot 369, Addition SOUTH
Memorial ID 47575857 · View Source
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World War II

1st Lt Gilbert B. Hadley 0-661482
22 year old pilot of his Disabled Bomber was forced down in the Aegean Sea Aug 1, 1943 after a low level bombing of Ploesti Rumanian Oil Center.

Son of Mr. & Mrs. Perry Hadley

Pilot 1st/Lt. Gilbert B. Hadley DFC KIA
Hometown: Arkansas City, Kans.
Squadron: 344th BS 98th Bomb Group
Service# O-661482
Awards: Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Target; Low level mission to destroy Rumanian Oil Fields, White IV. Ploesti.
Missing Air Crew Report Details
Date Lost: 1-Aug-43
Serial Number: 41-24311
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter:L
Aircraft Name: HADLEY'S HAREM
Location: Lost -- ditched off south coast of Turkey.
Cause: Crew 10 3KIA 7INT

Lt. Hadley lost his life in action while on duty with the 98th Bomb Group for "Operation Tidal Wave " one of the most daring raids of WW2. Coming in at tree top level the crew of HADLEY'S HAREM destroy Rumanian oil refineries.

Flown by Lt Gilbert B. Hadley and crew of the 98th BG from North Africa to Ploesti, Rumania 1943.
Lt. Hadley name appears Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery Carthage, Tunisia, however according to AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION His remains were recovered and interned in the USA.

NARA War Department records list this soldiers Home of Record as Cowley County, Kansas...Killed In Action.

Arkansas City Traveler
Arkansas City, Kansas
Monday, January 6th, 1997
page 1

Services Thursday for Local Legend Hadley

By Jeff Guy

Gilbert Hadley is coming home to rest peacefully among those who loved and cared for him.

His family and the men who served with him on the 98th bomb group in World War I view this hometown son of Arkansas City as a legend - a fearless, charismatic life who packed a lot of living in his fast 22 years.

Hadley's star burnt out all too soon.

He died when his B-24 Liberator crashed off the coast of Turkey. He had helped the 98th bomb group, known as the Pyramiders, and four other groups of Allied planes in a bombing raid over the Ploesti oil fields in Romania.

For more than fifty years, the sunken plane and Hadley's body were lost at sea. A few years ago, Leroy Newton, who served with Hadley in the 98th bomb group traveled to Turkey in a quest to recover the plane.

Since then, the plane has since been raised and Hadley's remains have been discovered and identified.

"I'm really certain he would've preferred to be back home," said Hadley's brother, Bill Hadley.

Gilbert Hadley's remains are to be returned to Ark City today. Military honors will be held for "Gib" Hadley at 2 p.m. at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Riverview cemetery.

For Bill Hadley the surviving member of the Hadley family, having his brother's remains brought home is a dream and his family never imagined would unfold.

"I think Dad had accepted the fact said Bill Hadley." "I think Mother, since he supposedly drowned - there was always a possibility that he got out alright, he made it and someday he'd walk in on them I think she felt that all her life."

An unmarked stone was place for Hadley in Riverview cemetery. His family never dreamed Hadley's remains would be returned said Bill Hadley.

Bill Hadley was 19, in the Air Force and in Michigan when he heard his brother was missing. The family still held hope that he would be found.

(Cont. page 3)
from page 1

alive. But after a time, the family resigned itself to the fact that "Gib" had died and was not coming home.

"I'm just thankful that it has come about," said Bill Hadley. "It's something I never dreamed would be possible. I wish it would've come about sooner when my sister was alive."

Pat Allen, Hadley's sister died on August 1995.

For Newton, it is an opportunity to tell the true story of Hadley and the tragic Ploesti mission and a human story of Hadley the man.

Hadley flew an airplane like he was born in it, wore cowboy boots and carried a pearl handled pistol. He was a born salesman with the gift of gab, a drinker of scotch and a ladies man. Some have said the B-24 was named "Hadley's Harem" for all the girlfriends Hadley made all over the world.

"He looked like Clark Gable and Wyatt Earp," said Newton. "He was a legend happening under our feet."

It is a story Newton plans to tell in a book he is writing about Hadley's Harem. The manuscript, complete with dialogue will tell about the nine tough guys on the crew and what they went through. The writing is complete, save for.

Bill Hadley remembers his brother as a meticulous dresser who attended high school in a soft derby hat, fashionable in the 1940's and wore white shirts with french cufflinks.

"He was very likeable and sort of flamboyant," said Bill Hadley, the portion about Hadley's return to Ark City.

That was the spirit Hadley took with him to war, said Newton.

The plane was covered in dirt, when the crew first obtained it. Only later, when it was washed in Topeka, did they discover the gremlins painted on it. Newton now believes someone was trying to tell them it was "a bad news plane."

But, for a bunch of tough young guys it didn't matter. They were not scared, not even when they went on the "suicide mission" over Ploesti. Hadley could not wait to get into the war "while there were still Germans left to kill." said Newton.

Peter Frizell, a historian, who accompanied Newton to Turkey, said Hadley was someone "you could see in a John Wayne movie."

He has been infatuated with the story of the Ploesti mission since he raid about it as a boy. He has filmed a documentary of the raising of Hadley's Harem and of the Ploesti mission.

Frizell recalled that one of the emotional moments of his life was when Pat Allen, who knew she was dying, told her she would see Gilbert again.

That to me is worth everything, said Frizell.
(transcribed by Judy Mayfield)

Arkansas City Traveler
Arkansas City, Kansas
Monday, January 6th, 1997
page 10

Gilbert Hadley

First Lieutenant Gilbert B. Hadley, of Arkansas City, died August 1, 1943, while on a bombing mission.

Memorial services to honor the life of Lieutenant Hadley are scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, (Jan. 9, 1997) in the Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home. Jesse A. Kindred will officiate. Interment will follow in the Riverview cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the Regency Court Inn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, and after the funeral services and burial, until 6 p.m.

1st Lt. Hadley was born May 6, 1921, in Arkansas City, the son of Perry and Beulah (Bacastow) Hadley. Gilbert was raised and educated in Arkansas City. He attended the IXL Grade School, and graduated from Arkansas City High School in 1937. Gilbert continued his education at Arkansas City Junior college, received his degree in 1939. He was a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Arkansas City.

Gilbert entered the Aviation Cadet program of the United States Air Corps in the fall of 1941. He completed the program and received a commission from Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas, in June of 1942, as a Multi-engine Pilot. After training at numerous bases in the United States he was assigned a crew and was sent to Africa in 1943. The B-24 Bomber named "Hadley's Harem" piloted by 1st Lt. Hadley crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on Aug. 1, 1943, after participating in the first low level bombing attack on Ploesti, Rumania Oil Production Center. Lt. Hadley and his co-pilot, Flight Officer Rex Lindsey drowned in the crash.

After 50 years, due to the efforts of Leroy Newton of San Clemente, Calif., who was a crew member on the ill-fated flight and his friend Pete Frizzle, a historian from Gainsville, Fla., the sunken bomber was located and a portion was raised. The remains of Hadley and Lindsey were recovered.

Gilbert is survived by one brother and his wife, Bill and Mary Hadley of Bartlesville, Okla.; one brother-in-law, Maynard Allen of Arkansas City; five nieces and nephews, Karen Wever of Bartlesville, Linda Lilley of Midland, Texas, Mike Allen of Arkansas City, Douglas Allen of Stillwater, Gilbert Allen of Winfield, and Thomas Allen of Gainsville, Fla.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Perry and Beulah Hadley, one brother, Perry A. Hadley jr., and one sister, Patricia Allen.

Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home of Arkansas City is in charge of the arrangements.
(transcribed by Judy Mayfield)

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  • Created by: Judy Mayfield
  • Added: 4 Feb 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 47575857
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Gilbert Benny “Gib” Hadley (6 May 1921–1 Aug 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 47575857, citing Riverview Cemetery, Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Judy Mayfield (contributor 46636512) .