Staff Sergeant Robert S. Champlain, born in 1921, was the son of Octave and Olive Champlain of Lawrence, Lawrence County, Massachusetts. Lawrence is 26 miles due north of Boston. His father was Canadian.
In the 1910 Lawrence, Massachusetts, city directory Octave Champlain is listed as a woodworker living at 113 Valley.
In the 1924 Boston city directory Olive is listed as the widow of Octave residing at 66 Tremont, so Robert's father died before he was 3 years old.
In the 1940 census 19-year-old Robert is living with his mother at 38 Codman Park, in Boston. His mother is a seamstress.
Robert enlisted 16 Jan 1941 in the field artillery at Boston. He'd had one year of high school and was single without dependents. His civil occupation was listed under architects. He was 5'6" and weighed 121 lbs. He was ultimately assigned to the air corps and the 447th Bomb Squadron of the 321st Bomb Group (M) flying B-25s. In North Africa, the 321st engaged primarily in support and interdictory operations, bombing marshalling yards, rail lines, highways, bridges, viaducts, troop concentrations, gun emplacements, shipping, harbors, and other objectives in North Africa. Later targets shifted to Southern France, Sicily, Italy, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece. The 321st also engaged in psychological warfare missions, dropping propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines. Took part in the Allied operations against Axis forces in North Africa during March–May 1943, the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa in June, the invasion of Sicily in July, the landing at Salerno in September, the Allied advance toward Rome during January–June 1944. In Feb 1944 the Group moved to Gaudo Airfield, Italy, 3 km north of Paestum and 23 miles south southeast of Salerno.
Per Missing Air Crew Report 3518, Sgt Champlain was radioman/Gunner aboard B-25C 42-32498 "Dumbo" piloted by 1st Lt Lyle L Edwards and shot down by flak on a mission to bomb the railroad bridge east of Perugia on 28 Mar 1944. Perugia is 89 miles southeast of Florence.
HQ 321st BG Mission Summary 28 Mar 1944: (Ops Order 282/mission 281) Group Mission # 244: Back to Perugia Railroad Bridge, 19 of our bombers found the flak waiting for them with the result that two of our planes were shot down and every plane in the formation holed. Lt. Jones was seen to make a controlled landing in Lake Trasinieno. Three chutes were seen to open from Lt. Edwards ship—the second to go down. Lt. Jones is from the 448th; Lt. Edwards, 447th. Photos show a scattered pattern of bombs falling east of the bridge with at least one direct hit on the tracks. Edwards, Lyle L., 1Lt, pilot, 447th BS. Planes Lost: 2 – Plane #498, Lt. Edwards, pilot, 447th Squadron hit just after dropping bombs and seen to go down in flames and hit ground. 3 chutes observed, two open.
The NARA WWII casualty listings by state and county show Champlain, Robert S., 20112771, S Sgt, from Suffolk County, Massachusetts, as killed in action 28 Mar 1944. He was listed as missing first and then confirmed killed on 28 Mar 1944. Lt Edwards plane was the only plane from the 447th to go down that day.
The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 11 May 1944, Thu – Page 120– 22 MASSACHUSETTS SOLDIERS MISSING, 46 ARE WOUNDED – The names of 22 Massachusetts soldiers are included in a list missing in action in the Asiatic, European, Mediterranean and South Pacific areas, and 46 other Bay State men wounded in action in the Mediterranean and Southwest Pacific areas. The casualties include: MISSING – Mediterranean Area – CHAMPLAIN, ROBERT S., S SGT – Mrs. Olive Champlain, mother, 38 Codman Park, Roxbury.
The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 18 Jul 1944, Tue – Page 11 – 15 MASS SOLDIERS KILLED; 13 PRISONERS – The names of 28 Massachusetts soldiers are included in a list killed in action in several war areas or prisoners of war of Germany. The names: DEAD – Mediterranean Area – CHAMPLAIN, ROBERT S., S SGT – Mrs. Olive Champlain, mother, 38 Codman Park, Roxbury.
Contributor: Andy (48021049)
Name: Olive Champlain
Residence Year: 1924
Street address: 66 Tremont Br
Residence Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Spouse: Octave Champlain Publication Title: Boston, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1924
His mother Olivine Jencks and his Father Octave Champagne JR (AKA Champlain) Were still married and together when Robert was KIA in 1944. Olive aka Olivine was in 1940 living with Robert while his father was out of state working in Ohio he was employed by James Murphy off of main street at the time. He used his sister Dorilada Champagne as a contact for the ww2 old man registration. (she was still living in Fall River Mass at the time) Robert followed in his fathers foot steps he to was a Sargent in WW1. When his sister Beatrice I Champagne AKA Champlain.
It was also in the newspaper about her brother Robert S Chaplain (spelt at the time Champagne) they did not know how to write at the time and we were told many times the last name changed to whom ever decided to write and spell it sometimes even Champain. Robert was Born in Vermont just like his older sister she was 12 years older than he was she was born in 1912. This family is a prominent family in Rhode Island and Mass and Vermont. I am hoping you will correct the info you have on my Uncle
Entered the service from Massachusetts.