July 11, 1916 (Norwalk, CT) – June 15, 1944; 27 years old
Married to Avon S. Lamb Semple (1916-2002) on January 1, 1937 in Pound Ridge, NY
Married to Billie J. Goode Semple Owens (1923-2002) on May 20, 1943 in Yuma, AZ
Last local address: 12 France Street, Norwalk
Enlisted on March 21, 1941
Service number: 31042382
Unit: 14th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Squadron
Born to John W. (1883-1949) and Carrie E. Jones Semple (1885-1962). Brother, Wesley A. (1908-1966). Two sisters, Marion A. Semple Johnson (1913-1988), and Virginia C. Semple Kane (1918-2006).
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (8 times) and Purple Heart Medal.
Norwalk High School Class of ‘33
From The Norwalk Hour May 29, 1944
Lieutenant Warren E. Semple, son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Semple of 12 France Street, is credited with destroying a German Focke-Wulf 190 and an ME-109 during the American 15th Air Force raids of Piazenza and Lyon on May 25 according to an Associated Press dispatch from Allie Headquarters, Naples, Italy. Lieutenant Semple is the pilot of a P-38 Lightning. Lieutenant Semple enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1941 as a private. He became a graduate teacher and jumper of the 503rd Parachute Battalion, Fort Benning Georgia. In March 1942 he passed his aviation cadet exams and trained at Eagle Field, Dos Palos, Merced, California, and graduated as a lieutenant at Yuma, Arizona. Lieutenant Semple is a graduate of the Norwalk High School Class of 1933, and also attended Pace Institute, New York. For four consecutive years, he held the swimming and diving championship of the YMCA of Connecticut. Mr. and Mrs. Semple have another son in the Army, Captain Wesley A. Semple who is stationed in England.
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 on 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, an historian living in southern France, who was working on a project to erect the plaque in 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 as “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 peacetime sustained operational activities and flights.
A complete list of all decorations and dates can be seen on the 14th Fighter Group web page: https://www.14fg.org/semple-warren-s4772-14fg.cfm
Buried in Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial, 553 Bd John Kennedy, 83300 Draguignan, France; Plot B, Row 9, Grave 3. The photo was contributed by Elise Van Riet, Interpretive Guide, Rhône American Cemetery.