2LT Alfred Beecher Abeles

2LT Alfred Beecher Abeles

New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 23 Jan 1945 (aged 21)
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Burial Henri-Chapelle, Arrondissement de Verviers, Liège, Belgium
Plot No Known Grave; name is listed on the Walls of the Missing.
Memorial ID 56278917 · View Source
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Alfred Beecher Abeles was born on the 12th of June 1923 in New York City as the eldest son of Margaret W. Beecher and Alfred T. Abeles. He had one younger brother, John H. Abeles.

Together with his parents and brother, Alfred Beecher moved to Fontana, San Bernardino, California, where his parents had an orchard and a restaurant. During the first three years of high school he attended Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California.

In 1941 the family moved again, this time to Wilmette, Cook County, Illinois. For his senior year Alfred Beecher attented New Trier High School where he was a member of the Career Club and Lens Club.

After graduation he attended Northwestern University for two years where he studied chemical engineering at the Technological institute. Alfred B. Abeles was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

In 1943 he volunteered for the United States Army Air Force and earned his Pilot Wings in April 1944 on Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona.

On the 29th of May 1944 he married Shirley A. Elling at the Wilmette Congregational church. The reception was held at the Women's Club of Wilmette.

2nd Lieutenant Alfred Beecher Abeles left for overseas to England in October 1944 and was a pilot of a Lockheed P-38J "Lightning" of the 430th Fighter Squadron, 474th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force.

On the 23d of January he volunteered for an Armed Reconnaissance mission to the city of Bonn in Germany, but during this an engine of his aircraft was hit by enemy flak. The aircraft eventually hit a tree and exploded near the German town of Euskirchen.

2nd Lieutenant Abeles was listed as missing in action until October 1945 when his status was changed into killed in action. Even though his exact fate was unknown, it was believed that he was killed when the aircraft crashed and exploded.

Alfred Beecher Abeles was survived by his wife, Shirley E. Abeles, his daughter Susan Gail Abeles, his parents Alfred T. Abeles and Margaret W. Beecher Abeles and his brother John Henry Abeles.

A memorial services was held on the 4th of November 1945 at the Congregational Church of Wilmette. In 1961 a memorial marker was placed at the Arlington National Cemetery in his memory. Alfred B. Abeles is also listed at the Walls of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American War Cemetery, Belgium.

2nd Lieutenant Abeles is also remembered at the New Trier high school on a bronze plaque which was placed in honor of those students who gave their lives in the service of their country.

His awards include the Purple Heart Medal and Air Medal with one Oakleaf Cluster, both were awarded posthumously. Alfred Beecher Abeles was also awarded with the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars.

His unit, the 430th Fighter Squadron, was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Belgian fourragère.

The letters of 2nd Lieutenant Abeles to his parents about the tragic lives of people who were displaced by the war inspired his mother to work with homeless refugees. As head of a committee at the Congregational Church of Wilmette, she worked with over 500 people, arranging homes and jobs for them. Many of them lived temporarily with the Abeles family.

The June 1956 edition of the magazine LOOK applauded her work for Persons in the Midwest and two years later she was honored for her work on the This is Your Life television show. As guests were amongst others her husband, son, brother and former daughter-in-law.



  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56278917
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2LT Alfred Beecher Abeles (12 Jun 1923–23 Jan 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56278917, citing Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial, Henri-Chapelle, Arrondissement de Verviers, Liège, Belgium ; Maintained by War Graves (contributor 6) .