Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Sheldon R. Coons, Jr.

The end of the Second World War in Europe on May 8, 1945, did not mark the end of military deaths in that theater of war.

On June 8, 1945, B-17G Flying Fortress 44-8639, an aircraft of the 509th Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, piloted by 1 Lt. Howard R. Hibbard, crashed at Craig Cwm Llwyd, Wales, while on a return flight to the United States from Polebrook, Northamptonshire, England.  (There is no Missing Aircrew Report for this aircraft loss.) 

Much more information about this incident, written by Allan Clark and published in July of 2016, can be found at the Peak District Air Crashes website.

Among the plane’s twenty crew and passengers was Sergeant Sheldon Reynolds Coons, Jr., whose obituary appeared in both the New York Times, and, Wilkes-Barre Record, on June 28, 1945.   

Sergeant Coons is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery, in Cambridge, England.  (Plot D, Row 2, Grave 83)

Flier on Furlough Killed In Plane Crash in Wales

Sgt. Sheldon Reynolds Coons, Jr., 23-year-old member of the 351st Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force, was killed on June 8 when the plane in which he was flying for furlough at home crashed in Wales, the War Department has informed his father and stepmother, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon R. Coons of 910 Fifth Avenue.  The father, a business consultant, is president of the Better Business Bureau of New York City and a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Born in New York, young Coons attended the Walden School, New York; Hessian Hills School, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., and was graduated from the Scarborough (N.Y.) School.  He had completed his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina when he enlisted in the Army in August, 1942.  He was based in England for twenty-six months.  His group was frequently decorated.

In addition to his father, with whom he lived, he leaves his mother, Mrs. Esther Merrill, of Mexico City; a half-brother, Joseph D. Coons, a student at Trinity School here, and a stepsister, Deirdre Coons, a student at the Mary A. Burnham School, Northampton, Mass.


The reason for the appearance of Sergeant Coons’ obituary in the Wilkes-Barre Record is explained in that new item’s final paragraph: His great-grandfather emigrated to Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley in the early 19th century, his father was born in Wilkes-Barre, and, his grandparent’s resided in that city. 


Here is a contemporary view of 910 Fifth Avenue, the wartime location of the Coons’ family residence, from


 Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Another Jewish casualty on June 8, 1945, was…

Solomon, Leonard L., PFC, 39728697
Americal Division, 182nd Infantry Regiment
Born 7/17/26
Los Angeles, Ca.
American Jews in World War Two – Not Listed
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, Ca. – Section H, Grave 546


Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: David Chrystall

First Lieutenant David Chrystall (0-452872), born in 1918, who served in the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion, was killed in action in Belgium on January 4, 1945.  His name appeared in a Casualty List published on March 8 of that year, while his obituary – transcribed below – appeared in the Times a little over one year later: On January 6, 1946. 

He is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery, in Luxembourg, at Plot E, Row 8, Grave 41. 


Officer Lost in Action With Airborne Infantry

The War Department has notified Maurice M. Chrystall of 311 East Seventy-Second Street, that his son, Lieut. David Chrystall of the airborne infantry, was killed in action in Belgium early in January.  He was 27 years old.

Born in New York City, he attended public schools in Paterson, N.J., and was graduated from Cornell University.  He enlisted in the Army in December, 1940, and attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga.  He later attended the Advanced Infantry School at Fort Benning and was promoted to a first lieutenancy.

In addition to his father he is survived by a sister, Mrs. Claire Seckler of Brooklyn.


An (from image of the building where the Chrystall family resided, at 311 East 72nd Street, is shown  below.


Some other Jewish military casualties on January 4, 1945, include the following…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Brafman, Arthur A., PFC, 42134385, Purple Heart, Killed in France
70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment, C Company
Mr. Samuel Brafman (father [12/26/50]), 128 Bay 28th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1926
American Jews in World War Two – p. 282
New Montefiore Cemetery, West Babylon, N.Y. – Society Bayview Nemo B.A., Block 11, Row 16, Section 3, Grave 1R; Buried 1/10/49

, Abraham, Pvt., 32231143, Purple Heart, Killed on Leyte Island

242nd Engineer Combat Battalion
Mrs. Yetta Cooperstein (mother), 245 Kosciusko St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
American Jews in World War Two – p. 294
Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines – Plot B, Row 13, Grave 101

, Stanley C., Sgt., 11138290, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Killed in Luxembourg

26th Infantry Division, 104th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Selig Fishman (father), 11 Colony Road, New Haven, Ct.
Born 7/30/25
The American Hebrew 3/30/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 63
Congregation B’Nai Jacob Cemetery, New Haven, Ct. – Plot AG4

, Joseph H., S/Sgt., 17066957, Purple Heart

4th Infantry Division, 8th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Bertha Haffits (mother), 2603 Court St., Sioux City, Ia.
Born 1920
American Jews in World War Two – p. 126
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot E, Row 2, Grave 45

Hoffman, Joseph, S/Sgt., 32894589, Purple Heart
45th Infantry Division, 179th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Abraham Hoffman (father), 2102 Daly Ave., New York, N.Y.
Casualty List 3/1/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 346
Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France – Plot D, Row 6, Grave 18

Jachman, Isadore Siegfried, S/Sgt., 13136814, Medal of Honor, Purple Heart
17th Airborne Division, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mr. Leo Jachman (father), 2005 Whitter Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Born Berlin, Germany, 12/14/22
American Jews in World War Two – p. 140
Hebrew Mount Carmel Cemetery, Adath Israel Anshe Sfarad Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.

Images of Staff Sergeant Jachman’s matzeva can be found at his biographical profile at 

, Jerome, PFC, 32974066, Purple Heart

26th Infantry Division
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham and Lillian Leshne (parents), Seymour Leshne (brother), 1500 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mr. Robert Lippin (“foxhole buddy”)
Casualty List 3/13/45; The New York Times Obituary Page 8/22/48
American Jews in World War Two – p. 375
Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, N.Y.; Buried 8/22/48


Erlick, Samuel, PFC, 13185920, BSM, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
26th Infantry Division, 104th Infantry Regiment, K Company
Also wounded 11/10/44
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Eva (Borosh) Erlick (parents), 709 Hoffman St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 6/24/24
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Silver, Alvin S., Pvt., 33577617, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Wounded in Germany (Also wounded 3/28/45)
Mrs. Rhoda Mae Silver (wife); Barbara Ann and Michael David (daughter and son), 1133 Cobbs St., Drexel Hill, Pa.
Mrs. Rose Bass (mother), 5701 Lebanon Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 7/28/23
The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia) 5/4/45; Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Record 4/21/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 552

Prisoners of War

Cohen, Melvin, Pvt., 11047725, Purple Heart
550th Airborne Infantry Battalion
Stalag 4B (Muhlberg)
Mrs. Lena Cohen (mother), 32 Coleman Road, Arlington, Ma.
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/13/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 154

, Melvin I., Pvt., 12220289, Purple Heart

550th Airborne Infantry Battalion
Stalag 4B (Muhlberg); German POW # 98655
Mr. Benjamin Goldberg (father), 58 Manhattan Ave., New York, N.Y.
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/20/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 325


Email correspondence with Samuel Erlick, 2004-2006