July 11, 1916 (Norwalk, CT) – June 15, 1944; 27 years old; married to Billie J. Semple who lived in Modesto, California
Last local address: 12 France Street, Norwalk
Enlisted on March 21, 1941
Service number: 31042382
14TH FIGHTER GROUP, 49TH FIGHTER SQUADRON
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (8 times) and Purple Heart Medal
Norwalk High School Class of ‘33
He was shot down by a German pilot while strafing the Orange-Caritat airstrip.
From the 49th Fighter Squadron Association
A ceremony honoring 1st Lt Warren Semple, United States Army Air Force pilot, was held to immortalize his sacrifice with a plaque monument in the center of a traffic roundabout August 6, 2016 at the entrance to the City of Orange, France. On June 15, 1944, Semple and the rest of the 49th Fighter Squadron formed up for the flight home. It was then they noticed Semple’s P-38 was not among them. The last person to see Semple’s aircraft was 2nd Lt Donald Luttrell who stated, “it is my belief that Semple was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire.” Since September 2015, the 49th Fighter Squadron Association has been in contact with Nicolas Courtine, a historian living in southern France, who was working on a project to erect the plaque in the memory of Semple. “The location is only 300 yards from the site where Semple’s P-38 crashed,” Courtine said. “every person entering or leaving the City of Orange will go by this place and see the name and the monument.” After the Mayor of the city as well as the city council gave final approval to the project, it was recognized on “a day of liberation,” as it was August 26, 1944, when American soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division liberated the City from Nazi occupation. The 49th Fighter Squadron Association wrote a letter thanking the City of Orange for honoring the memory of Semple. The letter was read during the ceremony in both English and French.
Mémorial de Plan de Dieu à Travaillan, France
To the memory of American pilots
Tombs for Freedom
Lt Semple received the Air Medal 8 times. The Air Medal is awarded to U.S. and civilian personnel for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievements while participating in aerial flight and foreign military personnel in actual combat in support of operations. Required achievement is less than that required for the Distinguished Flying Cross, but must be accomplished with distinction above and beyond that expected of professional airmen. It is not awarded for peace time sustained operational activities and flights.
List of all decorations and dates can be seen at the 14th Fighter Group web page:
Buried in Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial, Draguignan, France; Plot B, Row 9, Grave 3.