October 20, 1921 (Wilton, CT) – January 4, 1944; 22 years old; unmarried
Last local address: 161 South Main Street, South Norwalk
Enlisted May 1, 1942
Service number: 11034006
392ND BOMBER GROUP, 577TH BOMBER SQUADRON
Awarded the Air Medal (twice)
Target: KIEL Germany; Missing Air Crew Report Details; USAAF MACR#: 01908; Date Lost: 4-Jan-44; Serial Number: #42-7482; Aircraft Model B-24; Aircraft Letter: “P”; Aircraft Name: “SHACK RAT” 13th Mission; Location: North Sea just off the small island of Langeness; Cause: Fighters; 10 KIA
General Briefing for aircrews was held at 0330-0400 hours. The Command Pilot with Cassell’s crew for this mission was Major Keilman, 579th CO. Takeoff for (25) aircraft began around 0800 hours with the 579th Squadron leading the mission. This raid was to be the costliest one for the 392nd in airmen and aircraft lost more so than the first Bremen mission on 13 November 1943. Before the Group returned, (6) B-24s would be lost in combat with (6) more badly damaged and (60) aircrew members killed or missing-in-action. Six (6) Liberators were damaged (3) due to enemy fighters and (3) to flak. Mission aircraft began returning at 1445 hours.
MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: No specific 392nd crew eye-witness account is detailed concerning the loss of this aircrew and plane. A German Report, #KU623 of the mission date, 4 January, notes that this particular ship was found crashed in the North Sea at 1300 hours just off the small island of Langeness after having exploded in the air. Five dead crew members were located in this wreckage and the probable cause of the shoot-down was fighter aircraft. No other account exists on further circumstances of the crew’s loss.
The “SHACK RAT” crew
1/LT Raymond P. Lambert Pilot
2nd/Lt. Archie F. Haviland Jr. Co Pilot
1/Lt. Rudolph A. Kapp Navigator
1Lt. Herbert M. Godfrey Bombardier
T/Sgt. William J. Reese Engineer
T/Sgt. James S. Brown Radio Op.
S/Sgt. William R. Tantum Gunner
S/Sgt. Ambrose R. Pfeifer Gunner
S/Sgt. Walter N. Day
S/Sgt. John H. Magee
From The Norwalk Hour September 21, 1945
Tech Sgt James S. Brown, reported by the War Department as missing in action over Kiel, Germany, since January 4, 1944, is now listed as dead, according to a telegram received on Wednesday by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James S. Brown of 49 ½ East Avenue. Sgt Brown had been stationed in England since August 1943, and had been awarded the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster, receiving the latter medal only the day before his last mission. No details regarding his death have been received by the family. Sgt Brown, who attended St. Joseph’s School, was a graduate of Greenfield (Mass.) High School and before he went into the service on June 6, 1942, was a cost clerk with the Boston and Main Railroad Company. After he went into the service, he attended a radio school in Chicago where he learned to be a radio operator. He next went to Panama City, Florida where he was awarded his wings as an aerial gunner. Before he was sent overseas, he had further training at Kansas City, Kansas and Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Sergeant Brown is buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Norwalk; Section A, Lot 30, Grave 1.