Sgt Leslie Earl Kraus

Sgt Leslie Earl Kraus

Birth
Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
Death 23 Jun 1944 (aged 21)
Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Burial Fort Mitchell, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
Plot Section 7, Lot 120
Memorial ID 73432555 · View Source
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Staff Sergeant Leslie Earl Kraus, Army serial number 35683235, was born at Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky on March 7, 1923. He was the only child of Earl John Kraus (6 Aug 1900 – 10 Oct 1937) and Elizabeth E. 'Bess' (Reinersman) Kraus (3 Oct 1900 – 3 Feb 1991). His parents married about 1922. His father, a well-known speedboat racer in northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area, was killed in a boat racing accident in 1937. His home of record was 617 Durrett Street, Covington, Kentucky. He attended La Salette Academy Catholic elementary school, and graduated from Holmes High School in Covington in the class of 1941 1/2. He worked as a machine operator (gear cutter) at Wright Aeronautical Corporation in Lockland, Ohio, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army at Cincinnati, Ohio on January 19, 1943. His Army serial number is 35683235. (It has also been reported incorrectly as 35794435.)

He completed Army Air Forces basic training at Saint Petersburg, Florida; radio operator training at Scott Field, Illinois; and aerial gunnery training at Tyndall Field, Florida. He was then assigned as radio operator on the heavy bomber crew of Lt Joseph S. Van Dyke, in the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. In December 1943 the Van Dyke crew began B-24 crew training at Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, Arizona. In January 1944 the Van Dyke crew was assigned to the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. There they completed B-24 crew training, and deployed with the Group to England in March 1944. The crew flew B-24H 41-28822 from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Lavenham, England via the southern Atlantic ferry route—a journey of about 10,000 miles—and arrived in England by mid-April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137 near Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and was part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. There is a photo of the Joseph S. Van Dyke crew that was taken during training in the States.

Here is Lt Van Dyke's crew roster on June 23, 1944:
B-24H 41-28822 – 836th Bomb Squadron
• Van Dyke, Joseph S – 2/Lt – Pilot – KIA
• Thies, Merle J – 2/Lt – Copilot – KIA
• Zebora, Rudolph J – 2/Lt – Navigator – KIA
• Kraus, Leslie E – S/Sgt – Radio Operator – KIA
• Glenn, James R – Sgt – Ball Turret – KIA
• Crossley, Charles H – S/Sgt – Top Turret – KIA
• Spindler, William H – Sgt – Tail Turret – KIA
• Rupe, Bradford A – Sgt – Nose Turret – KIA
• Snead, John E – T/Sgt – Engineer – KIA

S/Sgt Kraus and his eight crewmates were killed in action on June 23, 1944, when their aircraft, B-24H 41-28822, was shot down near Brussels, Belgium after bombing an airfield at Juvincourt, France. The aircraft was hit by flak in the open bomb bay. It exploded in the air and fell in pieces near a hospice in Rue du Paloke, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a western suburb of Brussels (aka Palokestraat, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Bruxelles, Belgium).

S/Sgt Kraus was buried initially at Evere Cemetery in Brussels, Belgium. His remains were returned to the United States and reinterred at Saint John's Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky in 1949.

Sources:
1. 487th Bomb Group Association

2. 1900 US Census; Indiana; Ripley County; Laughery Township; Batesville Town. Kraus, Edward. Jun 1900 (his father's father)

3. 1910 US Census; Kentucky; Kenton County; Covington; Ward 4; 227 Pike Street. Kraus, Edward. 18 Apr 1910 (his father's father)

4. 1930 US Census; Kentucky; Kenton County; Covington. Kraus, Earl J. 21 Apr 1930 (his father)

5. 1940 US Census; Kentucky; Kenton County; Covington City; Ward 6; 617 Durrett. Kraus, Elizabeth. 19 Apr 1940 (his mother)

6. 1940 US Census; Kentucky; Kenton County; Covington; Ward 6; 227 Sterrett Ave. Kraus, Edward A. Apr 1940 (his father's father)

7. Cemetery records of Saint John's Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, KY

8. de Jong, Ivo. 'The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H)'. Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004

9. HQ, 359th Combat Crew Training School, Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. 'Special Orders Number 71'. 11 March 1944 (487th Bomb Group flight echelon order to proceed from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Herington, Kansas during the deployment to England)

10. HQ, Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona. 'Special Orders Number 1'. 1 January 1944 (transfer of fifty heavy bomber combat crews, less navigators, from Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona to the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico)

11. Kentucky Death Records, 1911–1963: Earl Kraus died in a boating accident in the Ohio River at Newport, Kentucky on 10 Oct 1937. (his father)

12. Kraus, Elizabeth E. (mother of Leslie E. Kraus). Scrapbook containing photos, newspaper articles, and personal notes; provided by David L. Steigerwald, his cousin)

13. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 6263

14. U.S. Headstone Application for U.S. Military Veterans. S/Sgt Leslie E. Kraus; date of death 23 Jun 1944; burial at St. John's Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

15. U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939–1945

16. U.S. War Department. 'World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel'. Washington, D.C., June 1946

17. World War I Draft Registration of Earl John Kraus. 12 Sep 1918 (his father)
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Research by:
Paul Webber
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572
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Contributor:
Paul Webber - pwebber@pcisys.net


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  • Created by: David Steigerwald
  • Added: 16 Jul 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 73432555
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Leslie Earl Kraus (7 Mar 1923–23 Jun 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 73432555, citing Saint John Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by David Steigerwald (contributor 47492923) .