December 31, 1914 (Westport, CT) – January 11, 1944; 29 years old
Last local address: 30 Cove Avenue, East Norwalk
Enlisted on December 18, 1941
Service number: O-791153
Unit: 92nd Bomber Group (Heavy), 326th Bomber Squadron

Awarded the Air Medal (2 times) and Purple Heart Medal.

Norwalk High School Class of ’32

Shot down over Germany while on a bombing mission. On January 11, 1944, time: 1322, aircraft type B-17, was lost. The location of the plane was found: Heerde – Markluiden (Gld.). The unit of crew and plane is: 92BG/326BS.

Crew: B-17G = #42-31175 1 “Trudy” – 11 Jan 1944 – Mission: Oscherleben, Germany

Pilot; 1st Lt William B. Lock; EVD; Vilas, CO (1919-2013)
Co-Pilot; 1st Lt Richard H. Sperry; KIA; Norwalk, CT
Navigator; 1st Lt Milton Cohen; POW; unknown hometown
Bombardier; 1st Lt Sol H. Greenberg; POW; Atlanta, GA (1917-2004)
Top Turret Gunner; TSG Raymond F. Pencek; EVD; Chicago, IL (1917-2010)
Radio Operator; TSG Vernon Pierce Brubaker Jr.; POW; Lima, OH (1923-1997)
Ball Turret Gunner; SSG James B. Farrell Jr.; KIA; Muskogee, OK
Right Waist Gunner; SSG Jack Joseph Wilhoit; POW; Helena, MT (1916-2001)
Left Waist Gunner; SSG Charlie H. Mullins; EVD; Rogers, NM (1914-1986)
Tail Gunner; SSG Charles Harry Scott; unknown hometown (1914-1991)

Missing Air Crew Report 1920 has witness statements saying Lt Sperry stayed with the plane to try to get the wheels down and was seen helping the crew bail out.

Obituary from the 1943-1944 edition at Yale University

RICHARD HAROLD SPERRY, BS, 1936; Born December 31, 1914, in Westport, Connecticut; Died January 11, 1944, near Oschersleben, Germany

Father, Harold Shepard Sperry of Norwalk, Connecticut; foreman of repairmen Southern New England Telephone Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut; son of Hartley Wilbur and Jennie Cornelia (Shepard) Sperry of Branford, Connecticut. Mother, Margaret Ann (Hatchman) Sperry; daughter of Norman and Henrietta (Woodnorth) Hatchman of Norwalk. Norwalk High School. Applied economics course, Freshman and Class crew squads Freshman year, awarded John Edward Heaton swimming charm Senior year; member Sachem Hall and Phi Sigma Kappa, and Trumbull College (touch football and swimming teams’ Junior year; crew Senior year). Employed in New York City 1936-1941; associated with Chubb & Son, insurance underwriters, September 1936 – January 1937; clerk, letter-of-credit department, Irving Trust Company, 1937-1941; attended New York University 1937-1940 (posthumously awarded MBA 1944) and registered at Columbia University September 1941, member First Congregational Church, South Norwalk. Unmarried. Enlisted as an aviation cadet, Army Air Forces, December 17, 1941; received primary training at Dorr Field January 11 – March 27, 1942, basic training at Shaw Field March 29 – June 1942, and advance training at Spence Field June – August 5, 1942, received wings and commissioned Second Lieutenant August 5, 1942, sent to England with 326th Squadron, 96th Bombardment Group, August 124, 1942; promoted First Lieutenant and assigned as a bomber pilot (B-17) December 11, 1942. Lieutenant Sperry lost his life while on a mission over Germany. Buried in Germany. Survived by his father, stepmother, brother, Donald William Sperry of Norwalk, and a maternal grandmother.

From The Norwalk Hour February 21, 1945

Mr. and Mrs. Harold S. Sperry of 1 Maple Street will receive the Air Medal for their son, First Lieutenant Richard H. Sperry, Air Corps, who was killed in action. The presentation will be made this week through Bradley Field, Connecticut, a unit of the First Air Force. The citation accompanying the medal states:

“For exceptionally meritorious achievement, while participating in five separate bomber combat missions over enemy-occupied Continental Europe. The courage, coolness, and skill displayed by this officer upon these occasions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Lieutenant Sperry was killed in action in a bombing mission over Germany on January 11, 1944. He had been overseas for about two years and was stationed in England.

From  there is small monument in Heerde, Netherlands with his name and one other person. Google Maps Link:

Buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Amerikaanse Begraafplaats 1, 6269 NA Margraten, Netherlands; Plot A, Row 5, Grave 18. Photo provided by David Americo, Superintendent, Netherlands American Cemetery.


Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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