January 9, 1919 (New York, NY) – January 4, 1945; 25 years old
Married to Celine B. Roll (1920-2006), on June 28, 1941; no children
Last local address: Bettswood Road, Norwalk
Service number: O-571544
Unit: XIII Bomber Command, Headquarters Squadron
Born to Harry W. [WWI veteran] (1893-1974) and Rose-Lillian Agnew Earle (1898-1961). Two brothers Harry W. Jr. (1924-2001), and William H. (1925-1991). One sister, Rosemary “Lala” A. Earle Middeleer (1927-2017).
From the Choate – Rosemary Hall Memorial Volume; contributed by Judy Donald, Choate – Rosemary Hall Archives
John Agnew Earle, born January 9th, 1919, entered Choate in the Fifth Form from Norwalk, Connecticut High School in the Autumn of 1935, and lived in the Library and the East Cottage. From earliest childhood, Jack was an active outdoor American, fond of camping, fishing, and competitive sports. At Choate, he immediately inspired confidence in his character and point of view. In his first year, he made the varsity in Football, Wrestling, and Tennis, and his fine voice won him a place in the Choir. In his Sixth Form year, Jack starred as a guard on Gene Arrendell’s eleven and won the Harvard Award for tackling and interference. Wrestling in the Varsity 175-pound class, he was undefeated and won Jim Cornish’s Prize for Greatest Improvement in Wrestling. He won his letter in Tennis, sang in the Choir and Glee Club, and was a member of the Dance Committee and the Student Council. Throughout, he proved a capable, intelligent student. And never did he change from the modest, likable boy he was when he came. Upon his graduation in 1937, Jack entered Williams College, where he played varsity Football for three years, captained the Wrestling team, and made an outstanding record on the mat. He also played varsity Tennis and sang in the Musical Organizations. As President of Chi Psi fraternity, Jack ran the unforgettable Choate – Williams banquet in the Spring of his senior year. Shortly after his graduation from Williams, on June 28th, 1941, Jack married Celine Baekeland Roll of Scarborough, New York. For a year he worked with the American Viscose Co. in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, until he was inducted into the service at Wilmington, Delaware, in May 1942. He trained at various southern and western air bases, and won his wings and Lieutenant’s commission at Miami, Florida, in January 1943. Immediately assigned to active duty in the Southern Pacific theater, Jack served for nearly two years with the 13th Bomber Command in Air Administration. On January 4th, 1945, Jack, then a Captain, was making a routine flight to Auckland, New Zealand, from his base at Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands. Somewhere on that flight, his B-24 was lost. No further word came. Jack’s father, Henry W. Earle, lives at 79 East Avenue, Norwalk. His mother, Mrs. Rose Lillian Earle, lives at Westview Lane, South Norwalk, Connecticut.
Captain Earle was reported missing and ultimately declared dead on January 5, 1946. Recorded circumstances attributed to: “Missing in action or lost at sea”. He was a passenger on B-24J #44-41383 that was assigned to the Headquarters Squadron, XIII Bomber Command.
B-24J #44-41383 took off, with a crew of 5 and 2 passengers, from the Pitoe Airfield, Morotai Indonesia on an administrative flight to Carney Field, Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands.
They landed at the Momote Airfield, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, as scheduled, for refueling. After takeoff from Momote, they were not seen nor heard from again. All onboard were lost.
Airmen who perished on B-24J #44-41383:
Mitchell, Courtney L ~ 1st Lt, Pilot; Louisville, KY
Freeman, Bernard G ~ 2nd Lt, Co-Pilot; Indiana
Wiley, Richard D ~ 1st Lt, Navigator; Akron, OH
Leard, Ernest F ~ TSgt, Engineer; Gotebo, OK
McKenzie, Lester L ~ TSgt, Radio Operator; Kansas
Earle, John A ~ Capt, Passenger; Norwalk, CT
Picone, Jake ~ 1st Lt, Passenger; Hammond, AL
From The Norwalk Hour January 31, 1945
Captain John A. Earle, USAAF, in the South Pacific Theater of the War for about two years, is reported as missing by the War Department according to word received by his wife. The information included in the message states that Captain Earle’s plane has been missing since January 4 while he was en route to New Zealand. Captain Earle was inducted into service in May 1942 at Wilmington, Delaware, and trained at several southern and western air bases before he was sent overseas in January 1943. He is a graduate of Williams College. Mrs. Earle, the former Miss Celine Roll of Scarborough, NY, is now in Florida. His brother Lieutenant Harry W. Earle Jr., USAAF, who returned to this country a few weeks ago after completing 50 missions in Italy, was discharged a few days ago from the hospital at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He is spending a few days with his wife, the former Barbara White Aymar at the home of her parents in Noroton, and expects orders in the near future. Another brother, Quartermaster First Class William Earle, USN, is on patrol duty in the South Pacific. They are the sons of Mrs. Rose Lillian Earle of Scarborough, NY, and Harry W. Earle of this city.
Memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, 1634 McKinley Rd, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines.
3 thoughts on “CAPTAIN JOHN AGNEW EARLE; U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE”
Mr. Dewitt. Thank you very much for this information. I will post it on Uncle John’s profile page on our family tree, which is hosted by NEHGS (New England Historical Geneological Society). Most of the military detail here is new to me. My father, Harry Jr., John’s brother, never spoke much about the war years. John’s wife, Celine, was part of the family for the remainder of her life, but after she remarried, and had a family, we didn’t speak of her early marriage to John. Thanks again. David Earle (Captain Earle’s nephew)
David, it’s a privilege to be able to honor your Uncle John. I will send you an e-mail with the source references for how I built his web page. It would be really helpful if I had a better picture of him for the site. If your family would like to contribute something like that, I would be honored to include it.