October 31, 1920 (Norwalk, CT) – April 9, 1944; 23 years old
Last local address: 43 Silvermine Avenue, Norwalk
Enlisted September 24, 1942
Service number: 11095768
Unit: 96th Bomber Group, 339th Bomber Squadron
Born to John P. Beres Sr. (1902-1963) and Florence Beres (1905-2001). Florence remarried Victor Dalton (1897-1947) in 1932 in Norwalk. One sister, Marjorie Beres Wiley (1923-1991). John Jr. worked as a mechanic’s helper in the dairy industry before the service.
He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.
Served as a Technical Sergeant & Engineer / Top Turret Gunner on B-17G #42-40051, 339th Bomber Squadron, 96th Bomber Group, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. B-17G #42-40051 took off from Snetterton, England on a bombing mission. They were attacked and shot down by German fighter aircraft and crashed in Nysted, Denmark during the war. The entire crew was lost. John was “Killed In Action” on this mission.
From https://www.airmen.dk/p279.htm: On April 9, 1944, shortly after 7 p.m. B17 42-40051 crashed in the sea approx. 8 km southwest of Nysted. The aircraft was shot down by a German Me109 fighter following a voyage to Poznan. The entire crew perished. All the dead airmen except WC Cantrell were buried on April 11, 1944, at Svinø Cemetery. Cantrell, who apparently managed to jump off with a parachute, drowned and was buried on May 16, 1944, at Svinø Cemetery. “During heavy shooting, the tail section was damaged and the tail gunner parachuted. The pilot attempted an emergency landing on Rødsand, but the plane tipped over, killing all crew members. The Germans recovered nine bodies from the wreck that followed on the back with the wheels sticking out of the water. Later the wreck itself was also salvaged, but the remains of the tail section were never found. Sometime after, the body of the tail gunner drifted into the coast at Nysted.”
The remains of the crew were recovered and buried in Denmark but were disinterred on August 5, 1948, and were evacuated by the U.S. military to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium where Massey, Avantini, and Plymell rest to this day. Horner rests at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Luxembourg while the rest have been brought back to the United States at the request of the next of kin.
From The Norwalk Hour October 23, 1947
The grave of TSgt John Peter Beres Jr., son of Mrs. Florence I. Dalton of 46 South Main Street, who was killed in action over Keil, Germany, April 9, 1944, located recently in Denmark, according to word received by the mother from the War Department.
A turret gunner in the United States Air Corps, Sgt Beres was a member of a bomber crew with the Eighth Air Force based in England and at the time of his death was flying his 10th mission over Germany in the aircraft, the “Little King.”
In the spring of 1944, Sgt Beres was reported missing in action by the International Red Cross, and later the report was changed to “killed in action” by the War Department. In the latter part of 1944, his mother received certificates in advance of the Purple Heart and the President’s citation on his behalf.
Sgt Beres received his Air Corps training in many bases throughout the United States having been stationed in Fort Drum, Mass.; Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, NM; Amarillo, Texas; New Orleans, LA; and near Tampa, Fla. He was once named the “best-dressed soldier” by members of the 296th Bomber Group at Drew Field, Florida.
Application is being made by Mrs. Dalton to the government for the return of his body for burial here at home.
Well-known locally, Sgt. Beres was a graduate of local schools. He was a member of Broad River Troop 27, Boy Scouts of America, and was very active in the Norwalk Chapter of Demolay. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1942 and was assigned to overseas duty in February 1944.
Prior to entering the Air Corps, TSgt Beres was employed with the Maplehurst Dairy in this city, and in the spring of 1942, he resigned his position there to enter defense work in Stamford. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, John P. Beres Sr., of Flax Hill Road, and one sister, Miss Marjorie Beres, who resides with her grandfather, Registrar of Voters John A. Mills, 43 Silvermine Avenue.
Monument at Strandvejen 4-6, 4880 Nysted, Denmark. Erected by the city of Nysted in September 1946. Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fHc2nqreUFV8Qzb98
TSG Beres is buried at Riverside Cemetery, 81 Riverside Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut; Section 2, Plot 32, in the Mills plot. Photo by webmaster.