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

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

Crew: B-17G – #42-31175 – ‘Trudy’ – 11 Jan 1944 – Mission: Oscherleben, Germany
18001507; O-666761; 1st Lt; Pilot; William B. Lock; Age 22; EVD
12046192; O-791153; 1st Lt; Co-Pilot; Richard H. Sperry; KIA
O-675987; 1st Lt; Navigator; Milton Cohen; POW
14076705; O-676215; 1st Lt; Bombardier; Sol H. Greenberg; POW
36325753; TSgt; Engineer / Top Turret Gunner; Raymond F. Pencek; EVD
15329994; TSgt; Radio Operator; Vernon Pierce Brubaker Jr.; POW
18160462; SSgt; Ball Turret Gunner; James B. Farrell Jr.; KIA
06554921; SSgt; Right Waist Gunner; Jack Joseph Wilhoit; POW
38123609; SSgt; Left Waist Gunner; Charlie H. Mullins; EVD
17059847; SSgt; Tail Gunner; Charles Harry Scott; POW

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 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 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 bomber pilot (B-17) December 11, 1942. Lieutenant Sperry lost his life while on a mission over Germany. Buried in Germany. Survived by father, stepmother, a 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  small monument in Heerde, Netherlands with his name on it and one other person. Google Maps Link:

He was originally buried in Germany and later re-interred. Now buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands; Plot A, Row 5, Grave 18.

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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