Jay Verl Gifford

Jay Verl Gifford

Birth
Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, USA
Death 5 May 1945 (aged 13)
Lakeview, Lake County, Oregon, USA
Burial Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 59796284 · View Source
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"According to his mercey he saved us / All killed by enemy balloon bomb"

Bly is the site of the only fatal casualties of World War II in the mainland United States due to enemy attack. On May 5, 1945, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded as it was being pulled from the woods by curious picnickers. Killed in the explosion were: Mrs. Elsie Mitchell, 26, wife of a local minister; Edward Engen, 13; Richard Patzke, 13; Jay Gifford, 12; Sherman Shoemaker, 12; and Joan Patzke, 11.

Elsie Mitchell was a minister's wife who was killed, along with five children she was watching, by a Japanese balloon bomb which had drifted over the Pacific into Oregon, on May 5, 1945. It exploded when a 13-year-old girl (Joan Patzke) attempted to pull the immense balloon from a tree during a church group picnic in the woods near Bly. They were the only people killed by enemy attack on the US mainland during World War II. The minister, Archie Mitchell, escaped by luck of being a short distance behind. Those who died were:

Elsie Mitchell, 26; Edward Engen, 13; Jay Gifford, 13; Joan Patzke, 13; Dick Patzke, 14; and Sherman Shoemaker, 11

A memorial, the Mitchell Monument, is located seventy miles northeast of Klamath Falls and thirty minutes north of Bly. It was re-dedicated during a 50-year anniversary service in 1995.

contributor Bucky Hydal # 47943724
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Jay Gifford, age 13, was one of six people killed by a Japanese balloon bomb they discovered while on a fishing trip. This event was the only place in the continental United States where death resulted from enemy action during World War II.


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  • Created by: Bill Erickson
  • Added: 8 Oct 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 59796284
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jay Verl Gifford (29 Mar 1932–5 May 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 59796284, citing Siskiyou Memorial Park, Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Bill Erickson (contributor 47234739) .