Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Second Lieutenant Herbert Forman

A war ends. 

But, it may never really “end”, especially for the families of servicemen who remain missing: those who lost their lives under unknown circumstances, or those whose ultimate fates were known, but whose bodies were neither identified nor recovered, and who thus have no definite place of burial. 

The centrality of this aspect of military commemoration, and in turn, human memory – both collective and individual – is exemplified in the Funeral Oration of Pericles, which is dated to approximately 431-430 B.C.E.  Recited in accordance with the annual custom of the Athenians, his speech was presented in memory of Athenian military dead of first years of the Peloponnesian War.  Pericles particularly called attention to the Athenian practice whereby, “…an empty bier is decorated and carried in the procession: this is for the missing, whose bodies could not be recovered.”

Though the Second World War ended seventy-two years ago, there are still innumerable military dead from that conflict who have never been recovered and have no place of burial, or, whose final fate remains unknown.  Among the 407,300 Americans military deaths from that conflict there are some 73,000 who remain unaccounted for.   Through the efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency some will, in time, certainly be found.  Others, due to either the circumstances or locations in which they were lost, will probably remain missing.*

One missing serviceman was Second Lieutenant Herbert Forman (serial number 0-807304) of the Bronx.  Reported Missing in Action in a Casualty List published on June 30, 1944, his name appeared in a Casualty List of Killed in Action published on March 3, 1945. 

His obituary – below – appeared in the Times two days later: on March 5, 1945.

Eighth Air Force Pilot Lost in Action Over Europe

Second Lieut. Herbert Forman, a fighting pilot with the Eighth Air Force in England, was killed in action over western Europe on May 23, the War Department has informed his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Forman of 3222 Cambridge Avenue, Riverdale, the Bronx.  Recently also his family heard officially that his brother, Sgt. Martin S. Forman of the Infantry, their only other child, had been seriously wounded in Luxembourg.

Twenty-two years old, Lieutenant Forman was born in New York.  He was graduated from De Witt Clinton High School in 1938.  He attended New York University, where he was active as a photographer, and then went to Georgia University, where he played the saxophone and clarinet in the university band.  Majoring in journalism and economics, Lieutenant Forman was a senior at Georgia when he joined the Army in 1942.

He was reported missing in a message received on D-day, June 6.  On Jan. 11 his parents heard that he was dead.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. and Sadye L. Forman, Herbert served as a 9th Air Force P-38 Lightning fighter pilot in the 402nd Fighter Squadron of the 370th Fighter Group.  Shot down while piloting P-38J 42-68179, his name is commemorated upon the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery, in Cambridge, England.  The recipient of the Purple Heart, he was also awarded the Air Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster, suggesting that he’d completed approximately 10 to 15 combat missions by the time of his death.  His name appears on page 311 of American Jews in World War Two. 

Herbert’s brother Martin, who was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, passed away on April 6, 2011. 

This image is a June, 2014 Google Street view of the possible location o the Forman family’s wartime home: 3222 Cambridge Avenue, in the Bronx.  (Is this the “original” building where the family resided, or a newer residence constructed subsequent to the Second World War?  The right “wing” of the apartment – or condo? – appears to be of substantially newer architecture than the left …)

Unlike the other servicemen whose obituaries in The New York Times have been presented in this blog, several photographs and a published account exist concerning Lieutenant Forman.

The image below was taken at Craig Field, Alabama, while Herbert Forman was an Aviation Cadet.  He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and received his “wings” as graduate of class 43-G on July 28, 1943. 

The portrait is from a collection of several thousand such images, in the United States National Archives collection of “Photographic Prints of Air Cadets and Officers, Air Crew, and Notables in the History of Aviation – NARA RG 18-PU”. (Specifically, within Box 30.)  You can find more about this collection in the post Five Pilots in December at my brother blog, The Past Presented.

The next two images can be found in Jay Jones’ 2003 book The 370th Fighter Group in World War II – In Action Over Europe with the P-38 and P-51.  The first photo is a simple portrait (an officer’s identification card photo?) of Herbert Forman as a Lieutenant, while the second shows him posing before a P-38J Lightning undergoing repairs, probably at the 370th Fighter Group’s base at Andover, England.  (The 370th Fighter Group credits both images to John and Ruth Fulton.)

This excellent photo, from the American Air Museum wesbite, is from the Roger Freeman collection (as image FRE 10071), and shows Lieutenant Forman (most definitely!) at Andover, England.  The camera is not surprising, as the Times’ obituary notes Lt. Forman’s interest in photography.  Note the “natural-metal” (sans camouflage paint) P-38J at the right. 

In The 370th Fighter Group in World War II, Jay Jones provides a very detailed account of the Group’s mission to Coblenz, Germany on May 23, 1944. 

The 370th lost three pilots that day:  Lt. Forman – covered in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 6505; 1 Lt. Herbert R. Schultz (also of the 401st Fighter Squadron) in P-38J 42-67278 – covered MACR 6506; 1 Lt. Maurice B. Thibert (of the 402nd Fighter Squadron) in P-38J 42-104066, covered in MACR 6497.  Of the three, only Lt. Schultz returned.  Captured, he spent the remainder of the war as a POW at Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany.  Jay Jones’ account concludes with Herbert Schultz’s “shoot-down”, in the latter’s own words.  

The account proceeds…  

From the Clouds to the Deck

The pilots flew a boring escort on the morning of May 23, and then a field order arrived the pilots had been waiting for.  The 370th would finally let loose all of its destructive tactical power against targets on enemy soil.  Forty-eight Lightnings were sent in to bomb the marshaling yard at Coblenz.  After the bombing, the pilots hit the deck and flew back toward the English Channel strafing whatever they could find.  Each plane carried one belly tank and one 1,000 pound bomb.

Capt. Charles D.  “Wick” Wickliffe of the 402nd Squadron recalled,

It was in the late afternoon, late enough that it was going to be a little iffy when we were getting back.  We had forty-eight P-38s up.  Before we got to Coblenz, we had gotten rid of our belly tank.  We dropped our bomb and we dropped down, and that was called a rhubarb.  We went on the deck.  It got scattered.  Everybody was scattered all over the landscape.  It was incredible.  I don’t think there were any two airplanes that were even close together.  I had my bearings and knew where I was going, and it was in the direction of Holland.  I was down on the deck and it was kind of pleasant, cruising at about 200 or a little better.  I’d see a flak tower coming up and I’d cruise over and give it a squirt.  There would be a lot of action and everybody that was there ducked and I would go over the top and put a little rudder on it and the gunner would shoot ahead of me.

He referred to a flak evasion trick of using the rudders to put the plane in a skid to the left or right, throwing off the gunner’s aim.

Wick continued,

I’d burned up a lot of fuel, but I still had an adequate amount.  I saw a troop train and it was down sort of in a hollow.  There were some trees that I could see that were protruding up.  I started to make a big swing to get up to start strafing it.  At the same time I had an eye on where I was going to start my strafing run.  I remembered to keep a lookout for the trees along there.  I started my strafing run and began to fire and quickly pulled up and started another run.  As I dropped down I flew right through a tree.  It wasn’t a bush-it was a tree.  That P-38 cut right through that tree.  The airplane staggered, and my thought was this was what you would call a fireball in an instant.  That airplane staggered up and I wondered what was keeping it up.  It was moving and pulling up, although it was pretty slow.  The windshield was totally green.  You couldn’t even see out of it.  I couldn’t believe that airplane was still flying.  When I went through the tree it took off all of my antennas.  There was no conversation with anybody, anyplace.

I got oriented and I knew I was going in the direction of England.  As I climbed up I could see out one side and the other to see what was going on.  I got up to about 10,000 and I realized that I flew right over a German airdrome.  They had the Focke-Wulfs lined up all over the place.  I was up at 10,000 feet looking down, and that’s not too far down.  They didn’t come up.

I got over the Channel and I was surprised, pleasantly so.  It was getting darker.  I began to lose my bearings.  I wasn’t quite sure where I was, except that my general heading was okay.  I had dropped down to about 2,000 feet in order to get myself out of the airplane if I could.  The bail-out techniques for getting out of the P-38 were wishy-washy.  Nobody had a good idea of what the best way to do it was.  I was getting low on fuel.  I had to make a decision of whether to bail out or go in.  At that time I could see ahead a fighter airdrome.  I slowed the airplane down to about 170, and the airplane started to fall out.  I realized that all of the lift inboard was all smashed out.  The only thing I was working on was the outboard wings.  The rest of it was just like it was hit by a hammer.  I was looking at landing at about 175 miles per hour.  I went in and made a good landing.  The fuel gauges were on zero and it was quite dark when I finished my roll out.  I didn’t have any brakes, either.  I hit the brakes, what they were, and it spun the airplane around.  They just took the P-38 and trashed it.  I got a new one.

It was very stressful when all these things were happening to me.  You can do everything when you have a real load of stress on you.  but when I got out of that airplane I put a cigarette in backasswards.  I had a couple of big drinks real quick.  It was an exciting trip.

The mission not only was iffy because of the late start, but also because of the weather.  There was a solid overcast from around two to four thousand feet up to ten thousand feet.  There was also problems with the aircraft icing up.  Seth McKee, leading the mission, recalled,

All of our missions were scheduled by the Ninth TAC, commanded by Pete Quesada.  He decided he wanted to see what we could with targets of opportunity strafing at low level.  The weather was pretty bad.  We hit the deck, forty-eight aircraft line abreast, about a hundred yards apart, and headed back toward England strafing targets of opportunity.  We hit all kinds of targets.

The thing I remember most about it was the weather started getting worse and worse as we were going further toward home.  Finally, I ended up over some city, I still don’t know which it was, probably Brussels, Belgium.  1 remember seeing church steeples going by me at higher altitudes that I was.  The weather was so bad I called the mission off.  I said, “Hey guys, we’ll break it off now.  We’ll climb out, join up and go home.” I climbed up, broke out.  I looked around and I had forty-eight aircraft with me, but I only saw two other aircraft in the sky.  I thought, “I’ve lost the whole damn group!”  One was a squadron commander and the other was the Group Operations Officer, Major Lee Hoddy.  They formed up on me and we went back.

The weather was horrible in England.  In those days we had no radar-controlled approaches and that sort of thing.  You had a beacon and you let down off of a heading.  With a proper rate of descent if you broke out at all you saw the airfield.  If you didn’t you would try it again.  Anyway, we recovered with no problem.  I was really, really worried about the group.  I found we lost three aircraft out of forty-eight.  They recovered all over England because the weather was so bad.  They just got in wherever they could.  But, I’ll never forget I thought, “My God, I’d lost the whole damn group.”

Lt. Bud Gewinner was almost a casualty on this mission.  He wrote in his diary,

I hit the deck at about 300 M.P.H. and started looking.  What I wanted to find was a train.  I found this one train steaming around a bend and came down on the engine, throwing all the lead I could.  Before I pulled up I saw the boiler explode.  As I pulled off the target I saw tracers going by me.  The next thing I found was a flak tower.  I came in level and really peppered it.  They threw so much back at me, I don’t know how they missed.

A short while later I felt an explosion on my ship and the cockpit got smoky.  Believe me, I started sweating.  I must have passed near some guns I hadn’t seen.  I twisted and turned all I could right down to the deck to get out of their fire.  I found another train after that and got its engine too.  I was getting low on ammo and gas so I headed home.  I had plenty of doubts while crossing the Channel because I didn’t know how badly old “Spooks” was damaged.  When I got back I found that a 20mm cannon shell had exploded in the nose section.  Those strafing jobs are mighty rough.  I have never spent such an excitement-packed half hour in my life.  It’s a weird feeling to see dozens of tracers whizzing by your ship.

Lt. Gene Baker of the 401st wrote in his diary that night,

We weren’t on the deck for more than 15 minutes when Watson picked up some tel. wires so I went back up through overcast with him.  He was on his right engine so no radio conversation.  As we got to the coast the flak guns got us pinpointed and gave us a burst.  Watson got some in dead engine.  I got some in tail, left wing tip tank, right wing main tank, right prop hub & glances off nacelle.  We landed at aux field & then I came on home.

The mission really wasn’t as successful as one might think.  A group of P-38s spread out on the deck tearing across the countryside sounds dangerous, but it was an ineffective use of men and firepower.  Al Bouffard recalled,

Lt. Thibert was the first one we lost on a mission.  He was my wingman on that mission.  They said hit the deck and whatever you see, shoot it up.  When I came down on the deck and we split apart – Thibert was over there somewhere – I was going along and the only thing I saw was farms and farmers.  I didn’t see a damn thing except farms and farmers out in the fields working.  I’d go by and waggle my wings and keep going.

I saw this tower.  They used to raise these towers and put flak guns up there.  I said, “Boy, there’s a flak tower.  I’ll get that son of a gun.”  I aimed for it and started shooting at it.  Nothing was coming at me.  When I got closer – it was a water tower.

Finally got back and Thibert never made it back.  I have no idea what happened to him.

Lt. Maurice B. Thibert of the 402nd, from Detroit, Michigan, was confirmed as killed in action.

Second Lt. Herbert Forman of the 401st also failed to return from the mission.  Lt. Joseph Ogrin was the last pilot to see Forman.  He noticed Forman on the left flank of the low-level attack heading roughly southwest.  Herb was listed as missing in action but was most likely killed.

First Lt. Herbert R. “Dutch” Schultz of the 401st was almost to the French coast when a flak battery opened up or him.  Schultz had joined up with Lt. Walter “Little Red’ Stephens of the 402nd to come out over the Channel.  Little Red reported,

I saw Lt. Schultz’s plane explode and felt the blast of the explosion.  I went into a climb pulling 65 to 70 inches in an attempt to dodge flak.  I looked back and saw a parachute quite a way below me, since I was climbing very rapidly.

Herbert Schultz recalled,

We had never had any training at skip or low level bombing so my bomb skipped completely over an inverted banked up “Y” in the rail junction I had planned to obliterate, and exploded harmlessly in a nearby stand of small pines.  But shortly thereafter I got lucky when a locomotive was traveling 90 degrees to my course and directly in front of me.  My first long burst disabled him spewing steam in all directions and as I went by I saw two 38s from our group had turned around and were going back to finish him off, so I continued on.

I also had an encounter with a flak tower before I hit the coast.  As soon as I spotted it I pulled the nose up to give my guns more range and opened fire hoping to encourage them to keep their heads down.  I could see people moving around on the top platform but I got no return fire.  As I went by I could see it was something like a silo only an open platform under the roof at the top.  Perhaps they had guns in it at one time but fortunately not when I went by.

By this time my fuel was getting low because we were traveling about 260 mph, normal for strafing.  So, I pulled up and picked up my safe course home not having the slightest idea where I was.

It turned out I was just out of Calais, France, and took a direct hit from one of the many 88s in the area.  When captured after parachuting the krauts explained it emphatically, “For you, the war is over.”

Lt. Schultz was sent to the Luftwaffe interrogation center at Oberursel, near Frankfurt, Germany.  There, downed fliers were questioned by crafty interrogators attempting to trick them into giving away information.  Throughout the remainder of the war many downed 370th pilots went through Oberursel for interrogation on their way to the infamous Stalags.

______________________________

While there was an eyewitness to Lt. Schultz’s loss (2 Lt. Walter C. Stephens, whose account in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 6506 is quoted above), there seem to have been no American witnesses to the loss of either Lt. Forman or Lt. Thibert.  Well…at least, the MACRs for both pilots contain no specific accounts describing their loss.  Instead, both MACRs simply include 1:4,000,000 scale maps of Continental Europe with the notation “MIA Return Trip Coblenz to Andover last seen slightly west of Cloblenz”.

The MACR for Lt. Forman is presented below:

This is the MACR for Lt. Schultz:

Though American documentation – in the form of MACRs – for the three pilots is scant to minimal, this was not so from the vantage point of German investigators.  The losses of Schultz and Thibert were covered in Luftgaukommando Reports J 1181 and J 1179, respectively.

(But, what are Luftgaukommando Reports?…  These are documents held within the United States National Archives “Collection of Foreign Records Seized” concerning Allied aircraft lost in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of War.  In a general sense, these documents include information about the nature and circumstances (flak or fighters) as to how an American aircraft was downed and recovered in German-occupied territory, the location and condition of its wreckage, technical aspects of the plane or its equipment particularly noted by German investigators, and, nominal biographical information about aircrew casualties.)

Here is the English-language translation of Luftgaukommando Report J 1181 (for Lt. Schultz), which is included within MACR 6506…  NARA’s master list of Luftgaukommando Reports correlates J 1181 to a point 2.5 kilometers southeast of Coulogne (a commune in Pas-de-Calais, immediately south of the city of Calais), France, at 18:45 hours.

…and, here is the English-language translation of Luftgaukommando Report J 1179 (for Lt. Thibert), which is included within MACR 6497.  NARA’s master list of Luftgaukommando Reports correlates J 1179 to “Steenocqerzeel” (Steenokkerzeel), Flemish Brabant, in central Belgium, at 18:15 hours. 

Notably, German investigators transcribed the next-of-kin information – the name and address of his mother – that had been embosed upon Lt. Thibert’s dog-tag…

What about Lt. Forman? 

No Luftgaukommando Report lists his name or is included within MACR 6505.  However, a review of Luftgaukommando Reports filed for May 23, 1944 reveals a Report that I believe can circumstantially be correlated to his loss.  This is Luftgaukommando Report J 1180. 

This document consists of a single sheet with typewritten notation “23.5.44 – 18.35 – Coxyde i. See – Lightning – Fl. Pl. Kdo. [FlugplatzKommando] Coxyde – 1 unbekannter Toter”. 

Translation?  “May 23, 1944, at 18:35 hours (6:35 P.M.) – Coxyde, in the sea – Lightning – Airfield Command Coxyde – 1 unknown dead.” 

Apparently, Herbert Forman was shot down – probably – by anti-aircraft fire (Jan Safarik’s compilation of Luftwaffe aerial victory credits against P-38s shows no Luftwaffe aerial victories over P-38s for May 23, 1944) on the return flight to Andover, and crashed into the English Channel just off shore from Coxyde (“Koksijde”), Belgium.  Maps of this area are presented below.

  ______________________________

Northwest Europe, the English Channel, and southeastern England.  Google Maps’ emblematic red location pointer is superimposed on Coxyde, Belgium.

  The Strait of Dover (with Dunkirk) and the Belgian coast.  Coxyde (name not shown) is the area shaded in pink, just to the east of the Franco-Belgian border.

The coastal town of Coxyde, the name of which appears as “Koksijde”.

But, with all this, there remains an enigma.  Herbert Forman’s obituary mentions that his parents learned on January 11, 1945 – four months before the war’s end – that he had been killed in action.  Given that Luftgaukommando Reports were only accessed, investigated, and correlated to MACRs after the war’s end, what was the source of this information? 

Was Herbert Forman recovered, and interred as an “unknown”? 

That answer is unknown.

______________________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on May 23, 1944, included…

Killed in Action

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Glanzrock, Murray G., S/Sgt., 14083453, Gunner (Left Waist), Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Bea Glanzrock (wife), 1237 54th St. / 5001 10th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1922
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot A, Row 35, Grave 55
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; National Jewish Welfare Board index cards are stamped “No Publicity”; Casualty Lists 6/30/44, 3/1/45

Markus, Joseph R., Sgt., 36636142, Gunner (Nose), Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Dorothy S. Markus (mother), 10512 Edbrooke Ave., Chicago, Il.
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot A, Row 25, Grave 62
American Jews in World War Two – 109

Murray Glanzrock and Joseph Markus were crewmen in B-24H 42-7583 “Wee Willie”; “FL * L”; Pilot: 1 Lt. James C. Blackwood; 10 crewmen – no survivors; covered in MACR 5251 and Luftgaukommando Report KU 1930

______________________________

Ruslander, Harold, S/Sgt., 20236617, Flight Engineer
United States Army Air Force, Air Transport Command, India-China Wing, Station #11
Born 12/16/16
Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. and Thressa F. Ruslander (parents), 5301 Fair Oaks St., Pittsburgh, Pa.
1 Lt. Solomon L. Ruslander (cousin?), Leesville, La.
Born Brooklyn, N.Y., 12/16/16
Entered active service in September, 1940, at Fort Dix, New Jersey
Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii – Plot Q-48; Buried 6/15/49
American Jews in World War Two – not listed; The Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) 2/1943; The Aluminum Trail, p. 142

Sternbaum, Jacob Aaron, 1 Lt., 0-672704, Co-Pilot
United States Army Air Force, Air Transport Command, India-China Wing, Station #11
Mr. and Mrs. Carl [11/17/88 – 3/3/54] and Mary E. (Yuwiler) [2/14/88 – 5/15/70] Sternbaum (parents), David, Max, and Minnie (brothers and sister), 169 Vale Ave., Mansfield, Oh.
Born 1923
New Albany National Cemetery, New Albany, In. – Section B, Grave 409A; Buried 10/27/49
American Jews in World War Two – not listed; The Aluminum Trail, p. 142; https://www.findagrave.com/

Jacob Sternbaum and Harold Ruslander were crewmen in C-46 41-107282; covered in MACR 5198.  The aircraft was lost on a flight between Chabua and Misamari (both in India), the wreckage eventually being located in India’s Dafflaghur Hills (27 – 06 N, 93-24 E).  Pilot: Capt. Terry V. Prosper; 4 crewmen – no survivors. 

______________________________

Bauman, Hans, Pvt., M/107479
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – IX,F,10

Ben Avraham, Avraham Pall, Pioneer, 12648
Royal Army, Pioneer Corps
Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery, Algeria – 4,B,19
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 238
(We Will Remember Them gives name as “Ben-Avraham, Avraham”; Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives name as “Ben Abraham, Abraham Pall”)

Black, Bernard, Gunner, 558769V
South African Artillery, 6th Field Reserve Company
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Bella Black (parents), Johannesburg, South Africa
Born 1921
Bari War Cemetery, Bari, Italy – XIV,A,35
South African Jews in World War Two – page “x”

Einhorn
, Philip, T/Sgt., 35008563, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 37th Infantry Division, 148th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Joseph Einhorn (brother), Isadore and Eugene (brothers), 3436 Superior Park Drive, Cleveland Heights, Oh.
Born 1912
Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines – Plot D, Row 6, Grave 93
American Jews in World War Two – 485; Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, June 6 and 9, 1944
Greater Cleveland Veterans Memorial – Record for Philip Einhorn

Fisch, Arthur E., T/5, 39550181, Field Artillery, Purple Heart (Died of Wounds)
United States Army, 1st Armored Division, 91st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
Mrs. Goldie P. Fisch (mother), 2148 ½ City View, Los Angeles, Ca.
Born 1922
Place of burial unknown
War Department Release 8/24/44; American Jews in World War Two – 42

Fried, Carl Melvin, Pvt., D/82925
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
Mr. and Mrs. Max and Rose Fried (parents), 7 Park St., Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
(also) 15 Yates Ave., Newark, New Jersey, United States
Born Glace Bay Nova Scotia, Canada; 4/23/13
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – IX,D,23
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 23; The Jewish Chronicle – 6/23/44

Friedman, Martin (Mordechai Bar Khaim), Sgt., 33062674
United States Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 30th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Hyman and Elsie Friedman (parents), 3800 Cottage Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Born 1914
Herring Run Hebrew Cemetery, Baltimore, Md. – Mikro Kodesh Beth Israel Section
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; NJWB Card states “No Publicity”; War Department Release 10/6/44

Goldberg, Norman Myer, Sgt., 1086976, Air Bomber, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Braunschweig, Germany
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 49 Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Philip and Rachel Goldberg (parents), Liverpool, England        
Born 1922
Aircraft: Lancaster III, NE125; “EA * K”; Pilot: P/O Philip R. Graves-Hook; 7 crewmen – no survivors
Becklingen War Cemetery, Borkel, Kreis Becklingen, Germany – Collective Grave 24,B,5-7
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 198; RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 234

Greystoke
, Peter, F/O, 143106

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Mrs. Doris Greystoke (wife), Wanstead, Essex, England
(also) 24 Du Cane Court, Balham, London, SW17, England
Born 1910
Streatham Park Jewish Cemetery, Surrey, England – Section F, Row 12, Grave 10
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 202; The Jewish Chronicle 6/2/44

Kaufman, Louis Nathan, Trooper, 6850444
Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment, 51st (The Leeds Rifles)
Mrs. Deborah (Davidson) Kaufman (mother), 175 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, Middlesex, London, N13, England
Born 1922
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – II,K,14
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 112; The Jewish Chronicle – 8/25/44

Krolman
, Norman Martin, Lt.

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, 12th (The Three Rivers) Armored Regiment
507 Rosevale Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – XIII,G,10
The Jewish Chronicle – 6/23/44

Schiff, Daniel J., 2 Lt., 0-694958, Bombardier, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 15th Air Force, 456th Bomb Group, 744th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Tillie S. Schiff (mother), 407 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 15117, B-24H 42-94872; Pilot: 2 Lt. John W. Van Dyke; 11 crewmen – no survivors
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War Two – 430; Casualty List 7/2/44

Szkolnik, Jean Antoine, at Monte Schierani, Italy
Armée de Terre, 4eme G.T.M.
Vauchowilliers, Aube, France
Born 8/10/18
Place of burial unknown

Waldman, Tobias, Trooper, 7911691
Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment, 51st (The Leeds Rifles)
Mr. and Mrs. Solomon and Hettie Waldman (parents), 6 Stobart Ave., Prestwich, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – II,K,2
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 172; The Jewish Chronicle – 6/16/44
(We Will Remember Them gives name as “Walderman, Tobias”; Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives name as “Waldman, Tobias”)

Wiener
, Derek Abraham, F/O, 157874, Wireless Operator, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Dortmund, Germany

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 103 Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Solomon David and Bernice Wiener (parents), Cleveleys, Essex, England
Born 1923
Aircraft: Lancaster III, ND629; “PM * G”; Pilot: P/O William J.D. Charles; 7 crewmen – no survivors
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany – Collective Grave 23,C,12-14
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 31; RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 237

Winkiel, Leon Jan, Sgt., P/792294, Air Gunner, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Dortmund, Germany
Royal Air Force, No. 300 Squadron
Born Gniew, Poland, 11/17/21
Aircraft: Lancaster III, LM487; “BH * J”; Pilot” F/O Wilhelm Adler; 7 crewmen – 1 survivor (F/O Adler)
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany – Plot II, Row E, Grave 4
Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Army in World War II (Volume II) – 121
Polish Air Force at War (Volume 2) – 383
RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 237
Leon Jan Winkiel (at Polish War Graves)
Loss of Lancaster LM487 (at Air Crew Remembered)
Polish Air Force in World War Two – No. 300 Squadron Losses (at PolishAirForce.pl)

Zerbib, Benjamin, at Tomba di Rose, Italy
Armée de Terre, 1ere R.A.C.
Elba Ksour, Tunisia
Born 1/13/22
Place of burial unknown

Other Incident…

Sloan, Leon H., F/O, T-123451, Glider Pilot, Soldier’s Medal
United States Army Air Force, 1st Provisional Troop Carrier Group, 309th Troop Carrier Squadron
Aircraft crashed 3 miles north of Wagram, North Carolina
Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Lena Slobod (parents), 5501 Chancellor St., Philadelphia, Pa.
(wife), Des Moines, Ia.
Born March 8, 1920
“No MACR”; Aircraft L-3C 43-1551; Passenger was F/O Willard T. Ray (seriously injured)
Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Philadelphia, Pa. – Lot Z, Plot 186, Grave 2; Buried 5/26/44
American Jews in World War Two
– 533; Philadelphia Inquirer 5/25/44, 5/27/44; Philadelphia Record 5/25/44; Wilkes-Barre Record 5/25/44; http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Wounded

Ayoun, Maurice, Lieutenant, at Pastena, Italy
Armée de Terre

“On 23 May 1944, in the vicinity of Pastena (Italy), where, supporting a tank attack, under a violent artillery fire and anti-tank weapons, he succeeded in destroying on foot an advancing enemy “Panther” tank.  Two nights later, during a reconnaissance patrol, forward of the lines, subjected to a violent fire and close to infantry, he participated himself in the evacuation under fire of one of his seriously wounded men, giving a fine example of camaraderie and contempt of danger.”

(“Le 23 Mai 1944 aux environs de Pastena (Italie), oû, appuyant une attaque de chars, sous un violent tir d’artillerie et d’armes antichars, a reussi, à pied, à détruire un char “Panther” ennemi qui gênait la progression.  Deux nuits après, au cours d’une patrouille de reconnaissance, en avant les lignes, et pris à partie sous un tir violent et rapproché d’infanterie, a participé lui-même à l’évacuation sous le feu d’un de ses hommes grièvement blessé, donnant ainsi le bel exemple de camaraderie et de mépris du danger.”)

Wounded subsequently, on 11/21/44
Livre d’Or et de Sang – Les Juifs au Combat: Citations 1939-1945 de Bir-Hakeim au Rhin et Danube– pp. 119, 134

Garland, Ralph, Cpl., H/19488
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
98 Inkster Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 95; The Jewish Chronicle – 9/15/44

Goldstein, Joseph, Pvt., Purple Heart, Anzio, Italy
United States Army
Mrs. Evelyn Goldstein (wife); Phyllis (daughter), 80-10 192nd St., Jamaica, N.Y.
Born 1917
American Jews in World War Two – 328; War Department Release 7/2/44; Long Island Daily Press 7/1/44

Schwartz, Edward, PFC, Purple Heart, Traceno, Italy (wounded by 88mm shell)
United States Army
Mrs. Lillian Schwartz (mother), 1398 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y.
Born Hungary, 1920
American Jews in World War Two – 435; The American Hebrew 10/6/44; Casualty List 7/11/44

Rankin, Harry, Cpl., K/52258
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
3570 Hull St., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
437 E. 7th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume I) – 78; Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 112; The Jewish Chronicle – 7/7/44

Prisoner of War (Europe)

Lesser, Stanley, Sgt., 31126915
United States Army, 88th Infantry Division, 350th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 7A, Moosburg
Mrs. Etta Lesser (mother), 319 Park St., Holyoke, Ma.
Born 1916
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; Casualty Lists 6/11/45, 6/19/45

Other Incident

Morris, Melvin, 1 Lt., Pilot (Cargo), Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
United States Army Air Force
Aircraft Crashed at Myitkyina, Burma
Mrs. Helene Morris (wife), 60 Plaza St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1915
No MACR; C-47 41-7866
American Jews in World War Two – 396; War Department Release 10/12/44; http://www.aviationarchaeology.com

References

Jones, Jay, The 370th Fighter Group in World War II – In Action Over Europe with the P-38 and P-51, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2003

Thucydides, History of The Peloponnesian War (Translated by Rex Warner; with an Introduction and Notes by M.I. Finley), Penguin Books, New York, N.Y., 1972 (Pericles Funeral Oration pp. 143-151)

Hoffman, Roy, Missing in Action – On Memorial Day, keeping alive the memory of my uncle, lost at sea in WWII  – .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. – (at Tablet Magazine – Commemorating Major Roy Robinton, USMC)

Discussion of 370th Fighter Group Losses on May 23, 1944 (at 12 O’Clock High .net – Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum)

Forman, Martin S. – Obituary (at Legacy.com)

World War II Accounting – Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (at dpaa.mil)

World War II Casualties (at Wikipedia)

Luftwaffe Wartime Aerial Victory Credits – by Jan Safarik (at AcesSafarikOvi.org)

J (Jäger) Reports J 1179, J 1180, and J 1181: United States National Archives – Collection of Foreign Record Seized – Record Group 242: “Records of Luftgaukommandos: German Reports of Downed Allied Fighters and Other Aircraft – J (Jäger) Reports”, at Entry 1013, Shelf Location 190 / 14 / 9-8 / 2-1

Note

* I do not know the total number of missing for the countries of the British Commonwealth or former Soviet Union, but those numbers are likely staggeringly high, and especially in the case of the latter, indeterminate, because of lack of records, and especially political factors.

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Private Marc C. Dauber

The name of Private Marc C. Dauber, a resident of Brooklyn, appeared in The New York Times on February 4, 1945, in a list of soldiers killed in action in the European Theater of War.  His obituary – shown below – was published on September 26 of that year.

____________________

Second Highest Honor Awarded Him After Death

The nation’s second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, was awarded posthumously yesterday to Pvt. Marc C. Dauber, 22 years old, a Brooklyn soldier who was killed in action in the Huertgen Forest at Hamich, Germany, after twice leaving “safe” Army assignments to get into front-line action.

At a ceremony at 90 Church Street, Col. John R. Reitmeyer, Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Defense Command, presented the award to the soldier’s father, Emanuel Dauber of 1574 Fifty-Sixth Street, Brooklyn.  Private Dauber was killed last November while serving with Company L of the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, of the First Division.  Badly wounded in a German counter-attack, he defended his position until he was killed, shouting and throwing grenades, and drawing enemy fire away from the rest of his platoon.

He had left his engineer camouflage unit to stow away on a landing barge, for the D-Day landing.

Assigned to a desk job in Brittany, he again transferred himself to the infantry unit, and served so well that his commanding officer requested his official transfer.

Before entering the Army he was a senior at Brooklyn College.

____________________

The official citation for Private Dauber’s DSC award, available at Military Times Hall of Valor, states:

A member of 3rd Battalion, L Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, he was killed in action on November 18, 1944.  A recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the citation for his award states, “During action near Hamich, Germany, Private Dauber assumed command of his platoon when the platoon and squad leaders became casualties. He led a group of men into the town, silenced a German machine gun with a grenade, courageously advanced alone on a second machine gun nest and eliminated that position with rifle fire. He continued to lead his men until nightfall when the enemy counterattacked and surrounded his platoon. Although seriously wounded he defended his position with heroic determination against overwhelming odds until he was killed. Private Dauber’s inspirational leadership and supreme devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.”

____________________

Born in Germany on October 24, 1922, Private Dauber is buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, in Grave 18, Row 6, Plot B.  A photograph of his tombstone, by WW II military history researcher Des Philippet, can be found at his biographical profile, at FindAGrave.com.

____________________

A late-2016 Google view of the residence of Marc and his parents – Emanuel (a veteran of the German Army in WW I) and Pauline – in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, appears below.

____________________

Some other Jewish casualties on November 18, 1944 include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Egel, Ely, PFC, 37619938, Purple Heart
26th Infantry Division, 101st Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Simone and Minnie Egel (parents), 956 Hamilton Ave., St. Louis, Mo.; Mr. Sam Goldblatt (best friend), St. Louis, Mo.
Saint Louis Post Dispatch 3/5/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 209
Place of burial unknown

Ellman
, Alan H., Pvt., 32978581, Purple Heart

95th Infantry Division, 377th Infantry Regiment
Dr. Isadore William Ellman (father), 701 Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1924
American Jews in World War Two – p. 302
Place of burial unknown

Emmer, Raymond Philip, Pvt., 37618928, Purple Heart
99th Infantry Division, 394th Infantry Regiment, F Company
Mr. and Mrs. Vivien Horace and Blanche (Nathan) Emmer (parents), 6304 Rosemary Drive, St. Louis, Mo.
Born Saint Louis, Mo., 4/6/25
American Jews in World War Two – p. 209

Raymond P. Emmer and Carol Strauss, at Beverly Hills, California, in 1942.  (Photo c/o Robert Alyn)

Fried, Louis, Pvt., 35233154, Purple Heart, Casualty in France
95th Infantry Division, 379th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Samuel Fried (father), 139 Roslyn Drive, Youngstown, Oh.
Born 1923
American Jews in World War Two – p. 486; The Jewish Times (Youngstown, Ohio) 12/22/44
Place of burial unknown

Kaufman
, Arthur S., Pvt., 32525103

32nd Infantry Division, 32nd Signal Company
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer and Mollie Kaufman (parents); Irvin and Norman (brothers), 1735 Walton Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1921
Casualty List 2/6/45; The New York Times obituary page (Memorial Section) 11/17/46
American Jews in World War Two – pp. 47, 359
City College of New York Class of 1942
Place of burial unknown

Schlamowitz
, Milton, Pvt., 32803627, Purple Heart, Casualty in Germany

29th Infantry Division, 116th Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mrs. Jennie Schlamowitz (mother), Herbert (brother), 1234 Vyse Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born 1925
Casualty List 3/6/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 431
Place of burial unknown

Schor
, William, PFC, 42056382, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Casualty in France

103rd Infantry Division, 411th Infantry Regiment, Anti-Tank Company
DOW 12/5/44
Mrs. Mina R. Schor (mother), 3640 (3650?) Rochambeau Ave., New York, N.Y.
Casualty List 1/28/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 433
Place of burial unknown

Sussman
, Daniel, Pvt., 36727698

95th Infantry Division, 377th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Bess (Kaiserman) Sussman (parents), Chicago, Il.; Mrs. Thelma Friedman (sister)
Chicago Tribune 8/4/49
American Jews in World War Two – p. 118
Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, Chicago, Il. – Buried August, 1949

Wiesen
, Fred R., PFC, 18151571, Purple Heart, Casualty in France

Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Ruth Wiesen (parents), New York, N.Y. / Orleans Parrish, La.
Mrs. Estelle (Wiesen) Levine (sister), Harold and Lois (?); Lenore and Milton, Seasonwein; Gertrude and Arthur Holzsager; Naomi Hicks; Fred and Clara Penner; Carl, Julius, Charlotte, and Harold
The New York Times Obituary page 5/20/48, 5/21/48, 5/22/48; Memorial section: 11/18/45, 11/24/26
American Jews in World War Two – p. 472
Place of burial unknown; Buried 5/21/48

Died of Wounds
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Captain Wallace Nathan Emmer, USAAF (brother of Raymond Philip Emmer), Capt., 0-730422, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal, 24 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart (138 combat missions)
9th Air Force, 354th Fighter Group, 353rd Fighter Squadron
Shot down by flak 8/9/44; Prisoner of war; Died 2/15/45 at Wetzlar / Lahn, Klosterwald, Germany, of a heart attack, from effects of severe burns received when his Mustang was shot down.
MACR 8149, P-51D 44-13948, No Luftgaukommando Report
Born Omaha, Ne., 11/18/17
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Unlike all other soldiers listed in this post, Captain Wallace N. Emmer was not a casualty on November 18, 1944.  Information about him is presented here because he was Private Raymond P. Emmer’s brother. 

Raymond and Wallace are among the numerous sets of brothers profiled in Helen Kantzler’s article “Double Gold Stars”, which was published in the Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) on September 20, 1946.  The Emmer brothers were buried alongside one another at New Mount Sinai Cemetery, in Saint Louis, Missouri, on April 21, 1948.  (Section Q, Lot 25)   For more information about Raymond and Wallace, visit their biographical profile (by Trip Alyn) at FindAGrave.com.

The image below, reproduced from a photographic print loaned to me by Robert Alyn, shows Wallace’s personal P-51D, “Arson’s Reward”.  Very (very, very!) close magnification of that photographic print showed that this aircraft’s serial number is 44-13400.      

According to the Aviation Archeology database, 44-13400 was wrecked in a landing accident Criqueville, France, on August 3, 1944, while being flown by Franklin Rose, Jr.  This was six days before Captain Emmer was shot down in P-51D 44-13948. 

Though low resolution, the image below, from the book History in the Sky: 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group, clearly shows the wreck of “Arson’s Reward”.  The picture shows the plane’s nickname on its forward cowling.  (Plus, a rather broken left wing.)

Notice that while the photo above shows the plane with 11 crosses denoting German planes shot down, the image below shows 16 crosses.  Based on the dates (in USAF Historical Study 85) of Emmer’s 13 full-credit and two half-credit aerial victories, this suggests that the above photograph was probably taken in very late June through mid-July of 1944.

Therefore, it seems that 44-13948 – the aircraft in which Wallace Emmer was shot down – was not “Arson’s Reward” and thus, not his “personal” Mustang.

____________________

Since information about Captain Emmer abundantly exists in digital and print formats, the following two pictures are included here as representative images.

____________________

This superb photograph shows Captain Emmer standing before a P-51B Mustang fighter, at the 354th Fighter Group’s base at Boxted, England.  Curiously, it is not an official USAAF photograph.  Instead, it was obtained through Britain’s Imperial War Museum, where it has been cataloged as image EA18248.  It may have been taken by Childs & Coxey Photographers, who apparently visited Boxted for a photo session early in 1944.

____________________

This photograph, of Raymond and Wallace’s parents, Vivien Horace and Blanche (Nathan) Emmer, accompanied by Robert Alyn, was taken in Saint Louis on July 14, 1951.  They passed away within a day of one another in October, 1975.  (Image c/o Robert Alyn.) 

Wounded

Burstein, Charles, 2 Lt., 0-1822586, Purple Heart
702nd Tank Destroyer Battalion
Mrs. Mary Burstein (mother), 1002 Keniston Ave., Los Angeles, Ca.
Casualty List 1/31/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 286

Friedenwald
, Aaron, Capt., Silver Star, Purple Heart

29th Infantry Division
Miss Dorothy Lane (fiancée)
Dr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Friedenwald (parents), 1616 Linden Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore Sun 1/21/45, 1/26/45; Jewish Times (Baltimore) 2/2/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 138

Epstein, Herbert W., Pvt., 12225760, Purple Heart, Severely Wounded, France
Mr. Samuel S. Epstein (father), 229 Van Cortlandt Park Ave., Yonkers, N.Y.
Born 1925
Casualty List 1/31/45; The Herald Statesman (Yonkers) 12/21/44
American Jews in World War Two – p. 303

Prisoners of War

Feier, Joseph Arthur, Pvt., 42109607
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 2B (Hammerstein)
Mrs. Elsie Feier (mother), 153 Grove St., Passaic, N.J.
Casualty Lists 4/6/45, 6/13/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 232

Hanowitz
, Stanley, Pvt., 33588225

84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 2A (Neubrandenburg)
Mrs. Rosita Hanowitz (wife), 601 West 163rd St., New York, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Albert and Frances Hanowitz (parents), 5058 F Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 4/26/24
The Jewish Exponent 4/13/45; The Philadelphia Inquirer 4/5/45, 6/10/45; The Philadelphia Record 1/23/45, 4/5/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Sackter, Arnold M., Pvt., 36864894
26th Infantry Division, 104th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 12A (Limburg an der Lahn)
Mr. Jacob Sackter (father), 3824 Humphrey St., Detroit, Mi. / 446 1/2 North Curson, Los Angeles, Ca.
Casualty Lists 5/4/45, 6/19/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

____________________

References

Brown, Arthur F., History in the Sky: 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group, San Angelo, Tx., 1946

The 16th Infantry: 1798 – 1946
, Edited by Lieutenant John W. Baumgartner, 1st Sergeant Al De Poto, Sergeant William Fraccio, and Corporal Sammy Fuller


Brooklyn Eagle
, February 23, 1946, “96 Jewish Vets Get State Service Cross” (p. 2)

New York Post, October 6, 1945, “Parents Seek Word of Son” (p. 11)

New York Post, October 10, 1945, “Seek Word of Missing Relatives” (p. 11)

Military Times Hall of Valor – DSC Award for Private Marc C. Dauber, at
http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=22028

USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Air University, Office of Air Force History, Headquarters USAF, 1978 (Wallace N. Emmer, pp. 60-61)

 

The Flight of a Magen David: A Jewish Fighter Pilot in the Second World War – IV: To Battle In a Hurricane

If Phil Goldstein’s P-38 was unusual in terms of the name it carried – JEWBOY – then one other second world war fighter plane – a Hawker Hurricane of Number 213 Squadron, Royal Air Force – was notable for the symbol it carried:  A Magen David; the Shield of David.

The pilot?  Flight Officer Gordon Steinberg, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force from Toronto.

Sadly, he did not survive the war.

A biography of Gordon’s too-brief life from Canadian Jews in World War II – Part II: Casualties (the companion volume to Canadian Jews in World War II – Part I: Decorations, both published in 1948) follows:

FLYING OFFICER GORDON STEINBERG, J-17346, of Toronto, died of injuries received while in action near Alexandria, Egypt, on February 17, 1944.  He was forced to bail out of his plane as a result of enemy action.  He was buried at sea.

Flying Officer Steinberg enlisted in the air force at Toronto on September, 1940.  He was trained at St. Hubert, Victoriaville, Dunnville, Regina, and at Yorkton where he was awarded his pilot’s wings on November 6, 1941.  In December of the same year he landed in England and proceeded for further training as a fighter pilot.  Flying Officer Steinberg went to Africa in June, 1942 while the Axis forces were pushing the Allied Eighth Army back into Egypt.  Attached to the 213th R.A.F. (Middle East) Squadron, he participated in the battles in which Montgomery’s forces repelled the enemy.  He was attached to the Eighth Army all the time this force was advancing across the African continent from Egypt to Tripoli.  While in Africa Flying Officer Steinberg was commissioned and promoted three times, attaining the rank of flying officer a few months before his death.  He visited “Palestine” several times on his leaves and developed a great interest in the country.  The R.C.A.F. wrote to his family:  “Flying Officer Steinberg completed 92 operational flights.  His duties included patrols, air-sea rescue searches and scrambles against enemy aircraft.”

Born in Toronto on October 9, 1914, Flying Officer Steinberg was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Steinberg of 127 Maria Street.  He attended Strathcoma Public School and Hamberside Collegiate Institute from which he was graduated in 1934.  Flying Officer Steinberg had been a member of the Jewish Boy’s Club.  Prior to enlistment he had been employed as a salesman, clerk and truck driver.  A brother, Private Lawrence Steinberg, served in the army. 

An aspect of F/O Steinberg’s life not touched upon in the biography is the fact that he’d married in November of 1941, while training to be a pilot.  His wife was Ruby Alma (Schopf) Steinberg, who resided at 3251 Dundas Street, in Toronto.  Also not mentioned were his four siblings (Bernice, Lawrence, Lily Ann, and Louis), as well as his mother, Bella (Nagelburg).  Like his father, Bella was born in Austria and naturalized as a Canadian citizen.

____________________

F/O Steinberg’s death on his 92nd operational mission was not due to enemy fighters, flak, or weather.  It was due to mechanical failure:  The engine of his Hurricane fighter failed in flight.

On February 17, 1944, he departed at 9:30 A.M., with Flight Sergeant S.G. Pickford, from 213 Squadron’s landing ground at Ikdu (also known as “Edku”: a town in the Beheira Governorate, east of Alexandria and very close to the shore of the Mediterranean sea) on a convoy patrol mission.  Approximately one hour later, while over the sea roughly between Marsa Matruh and Alexandria, his engine cut as dense black smoke poured from it.  F/O Steinberg called F/Sgt. Pickford over his radio indicating that he was going to bail out. 

This, he immediately and successfully did.

The loss of his plane and his parachute descent were witnessed by Royal Hellenic Navy Commander N. Sarris aboard the escort destroyer H.H.M.S. Themistocles, who immediately steered his ship towards the position at top speed.  He reached the location (31 26 N – 29 16 E; about 35 miles west-northwest of Alexandria) about ten minutes later.  Through the dedicated efforts of the Themistocles’ crew F/O Steinberg was eventually found, but sadly, his life could not be saved. 

He was buried at sea that afternoon.

The following two images, obtained from The National Archives in Kew, extracted from the Squadron Record and Squadron Summary for No. 213 Squadron, cover the events of 17 and 18 February 1944.

Air Ministry Squadron Operations Records
Air Ministry Squadron Operations Records

____________________

As is typical for Casualty Files covering deaths of servicemen in the British Commonwealth forces (analogous to Individual Deceased Personnel Files for American military deaths), the documentation for F/O Steinberg includes a detailed inventory of his effects, which is shown below: 

What is notable in the list of F/O Steinberg’s possessions is obvious and clear mention of his yarmulkah, or kippah (“1 small black cap”), tefillin (“2 prayer straps”), and tallitot (“4 Jewish shoulder capes”), amidst a variety of the typical personal possessions of a serviceman and aviator. 

Later that year, his wife Ruby, who F/O Steinberg designated as the recipient of his small estate, instructed authorities to, “…give his holy books & religious articles to some religious institution. – Thank You”. 

With the passage of over seventy-three years and the absence of documentation (assuming any notes were kept, in the first place), there is almost certainly no way of knowing what eventually became of these items.  One imagines that they found their way back to the Jewish community of Montreal, or, that they were donated to a synagogue, school, or Jewish family in Alexandria.  Whoever received them likely never knew of the bravery, dedication, or identity of their original owner, but no matter.  It would be nice to think; it would be nice to dream, that F/O Steinberg would have been satisfied knowing that their purpose and meaning would continue.  

____________________

F/O Steinberg’s name is commemorated on Column 281 of the Alamein Memorial, in Egypt. 

____________________

As for the Hurricane?  As shown in the photo, P/O Steinberg’s “personal” aircraft carried a Magen David composed in the style of interlocking triangles, in two colors (one light and one dark) painted on the forward fuselage.  While his Casualty File and Number 213 Squadron’s historical records for February of 1944 indicate that he was lost in Hurricane IIC BP563 (a plane with over 250 flight hours), and Number 213 Squadron’s Hurricanes were identified by the code letters “AK”, neither set of documents list the aircraft’s specific, individual identification letter.  In the absence of other photographs of the plane, it is impossible to tell if F/O Steinberg was lost in his “own” plane, or another aircraft.   

The image below, from History of War, shows a Hawker Hurricane in North Africa, with the letters “AK” indicating its assignment to Number 213 Squadron RAF.

The 213 Squadron Association website carries a photo essay – The Hornet’s Sting – that appeared in FlyPast magazine in 1995.  Two images show Hurricanes bearing the Squadron’s “AK” code letters, while a third image shows over thirty of the squadron’s pilots at a Christmas Party at Ikdu in 1943.  Perhaps F/O Steinberg was among them?

References

Forman, Wallace R., B-17 Nose Art Name Directory, Phalanx Publishing Co., Ltd. (Specialty Press), North Branch, Mn., 1996

Forman, Wallace R., B-24 Nose Art Name Directory, Phalanx Publishing Co., Ltd. (Specialty Press), North Branch, Mn., 1996

Canadian Jews in World War II – Part II: Casualties, Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, Quebec, 1948.

RHS Themistocles, at
http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/5921.html

Number 213 Squadron RAF

At Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._213_Squadron_RAF

At History of War, at
http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/213_wwII.html

Number 213 Squadron Association, at
http://213squadronassociation.homestead.com/

Number 213 Squadron Association – The Hornet’s Sting (From FlyPast magazine No. 175, 1995), at
http://213squadronassociation.homestead.com/Flypast/flypastarticle.html

Hawker Hurricane IIC in No. 213 Squadron Service, at
http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_hurricaneIIC_213sqn.html

The National Archives (Kew), Royal Air Force Operations Records Books 1939-1945, at
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/raf-operations-record-books-1939-1945/