April 12, 1912 (Norwalk, CT) – June 30, 1944; 22 years old
Married to the former Gracie Merrill Sugden (1914-1965) on July 31, 1936 in Pound Ridge, NY
Last local address: 32 Harbor Ave, Norwalk
Enlisted on February 2, 1943
460TH BOMBER GROUP (HEAVY), 760TH BOMBER SQUADRON
Awarded the Air Medal (3 times) and the Purple Heart Medal.
From The Norwalk Hour March 30, 1945
Staff Sergeant Martin F. Troy, 33, husband of Grace M. Troy of 102 Harbor Avenue, and son of John L. Troy Sr., of 104 Harbor Avenue, an aerial gunner on a B-24 bomber, was killed in action on a bombing mission in Austria on June 30, 1944, the date on which he was previously reported by the War Department as missing in action. News of Staff Sergeant Troy’s death was received yesterday by his wife, the former Miss Grace Sugden from the War Department. Staff Sergeant Troy, who had been in the service about two years at the time of his death, had been on 38 successful missions and had received the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He was a Norwalk High School graduate and was with Machlett Laboratories at the time of his induction. Mrs. Troy is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Sugden Sr. of 288 Ely Avenue. Staff Sergeant Troy is also survived by two brothers, John L. Troy Jr., of Lake Avenue, and Joseph A. Troy, of Devon Avenue; and three sisters, Mrs. Thomas A. Moriarty of 30 Merwin Street, Mrs. Julia Wilcox and Miss Florence Troy of 104 Harbor Avenue.
From several sources: Staff Sgt. Martin F. Troy of Norwalk, Connecticut was found among the wreck of a B-24H “Liberator” bomber #41-29291 in the village of Nemesvita, about 110 miles southwest of Budapest, the capital. He was shot down over Hungary during World War II have been recovered and will be repatriated. Troy was the tail gunner on the bomber nicknamed “Miss Fortune,” which was returning from a mission in Germany to its base in Italy. Troy’s aircraft and three others flew into bad weather and were shot down by German Messerschmitt 110s over western Hungary on June 30, 1944. The plane crashed beside Lake Balaton. The airplane, nicknamed “Miss Liberty” was returning to its base in Italy. Seven of the crewmembers parachuted to safety where they were captured by enemy forces and subsequently released. Three crewmen died in the crash and the remains for two of them were eventually recovered and identified. After 63 years of being listed as ‘killed in action – body not recovered’ he was finally brought home to his family in 2007 and burial took place in November 2008.
Airmen who perished on B-24H #41-29291:
Troy, Martin F ~ S/Sgt, Gunner, CT
Waits, Rube J, Jr ~ S/Sgt, Gunner, GA
Wheeler, Ralph F ~ T/Sgt, Radio Operator, NJ
Overview: In the vicinity of the Tapolca Memorial Park in the center of Tapolca, Hungary. Monument: A loosely formed dark stone stele bearing the seal of the US Army. Two American bombers from the 460th Bomb Group got shot down in bad weather over Tapolca on 30 June 1944: A B-24G 42-78258 MACR #6809 and a B-24H 41-29291 MACR #6394. The memorial has Hungarian text and the names of the aviators.
Monument Text: “A ILVILAGHABORUBAN TAPOLCAN ELESETT AMERIKAI KATONAK.” Approximate translation: Tapolca remembers fallen American soldiers
Hopa J. Arthur, Baylor N. Edvin, Howard S. Gales, Steve A. Narushok, Molson H. Schampin, Howard E. Sexton, Martin F. Troy, Rube Waits, Richard H. Whitaker
15th Air Force, 460th Bomb Group, Heavy, 760th Bomber Squadron, 460th Bomber Group – Heavy, 762nd Bomber Squadron, 460th Bomber Group – Heavy, United States Air Force
Wars / Battle:
WWII / Operation Dakota
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/GTs8iL4ihR598yH68
From The Hartford Courant November 19, 2008
For Staff Sgt. Martin Francis Troy and the other nine members of his B-24H Liberator crew, June 30, 1944, started like so many other days.
They were awakened early to ready themselves and their bomber for the day’s mission, an attack on the Blechhammer South synthetic oil refinery in what is today Poland.
Their B-24, known as Miss Fortune, would be one of 600 heavy bombers making the approximately 650-mile run to Blechhammer. It was the crew’s 36th mission. It would be their last.
Troy, 32, a Norwalk native, was a machine gunner with the 460th Bomb Group. His unit took off from its base in Spinazzola, near the ankle of the Italian boot, and joined up with other 15th Air Force bombers.
Before they reached their target, the planes were ordered to turn back because of bad weather. The 30 or so planes, however, pressed on. The group’s gung-ho commanding officer didn’t believe in turning around, recalled Joseph “Jerry” Conlon, 83, of Roaring Spring, Pa., a second lieutenant and bombardier on a 460th Liberator that day.
Soon the 460th hit dense clouds over southern Hungary. The bombers normally flew in tight formation, which allowed them to concentrate their 50-caliber machine guns on attacking fighters. But in bad weather, a tight formation was dangerous.
“You don’t want to be flying in tight formation and not see who’s around you,” Conlon said.
After about 20 minutes, the bombers broke into the clear and worked to get back into formation. Troy’s bomber and three others found each other and were preparing to look for the rest of the group.
“The four of us, when we hooked up, we weren’t able to get with everyone else,” Conlon said.
Suddenly, the bombers were jumped by as many as 50 Messerschmitt 110 and 210 fighters. Attacking four abreast, the German pilots raked the lumbering bombers with 20mm cannon fire, John Lenburg, the flight engineer and top turret gunner aboard Miss Fortune, wrote in his memoir.
Fires raged in the ravaged planes and crewmen headed for escape hatches. Pilots struggled to maintain control of their dying bombers so those still alive could get out. Of the 41 Americans aboard the four bombers, 17 were killed. The remaining 24 bailed out and were taken prisoner.
Troy, who worked for Connecticut Light & Power Co. before being drafted, was among those who died. He was still aboard the Liberator when it crashed into a swamp a few miles north of Lake Balaton in western Hungary. Two more Liberators crashed within a few miles of Miss Fortune. The fourth crashed south of the lake.
Troy’s aircraft still had its full load of 500-pound bombs and a lot of fuel when it struck the ground. The explosion made a crater 9 feet deep and 20 feet wide. For 64 years, that was Troy’s grave. Hungarian citizens buried 16 of the 17 who died that day, and in 1948 the remains of those men were recovered by U.S. authorities.
Julia Troy Carvutto remembers the day she learned her brother was gone. Carvutto lived next door to Troy and his wife, Grace, in Norwalk.
“I saw two soldiers coming up the walk,” she recalled. “I knew then.”
The soldiers told the family that “Mart,” as her brother was known, was missing in action.
“We hoped for a while – missing in action – that he would be found,” said Carvutto, 90, who taught school for 40 years. “Eventually, we gave up on that.”
Troy’s wife moved on with her life and remarried. She died in 1964.
Lenburg had parachuted out of the burning Miss Fortune and was captured. After the war, he returned to his native Indiana, raised a family and went to work for Sears, Roebuck and Co. But he didn’t forget. Three men aboard his plane died that awful day. Remains of two crew members – the ball turret gunner, Staff Sgt. Rube Waits Jr., and right waist gunner, Tech. Sgt. Ralph F. Wheeler – were recovered after the war.
Only Troy remained missing. Years later, fellow veterans began pressing the government to find his body.
“Martin had two very good friends on his crew, who were also good friends of mine,” said Conlon, who lost five of his crew that day. “The guy responsible for getting things started was John Lenburg. In 1957, John started petitioning the government. Then Mike Brown got involved.”
Brown was Miss Fortune’s bombardier. Both men died, however, before Troy was found.
“Having been friends with John and Mike, I got interested in helping those fellas out,” Conlon said. “They died before the process even got started.”
“My dad cared a lot about everybody,” said Jeff Lenburg, whose father died in 2000. “The motivation was to try to help, to put some closure on this. He was surprised as anyone when he heard there was a possibility the remains were” at the crash site.
Conlon traveled to Hungary three times and continued to advocate for recovery of Troy’s remains. In 2003 and 2005, the Defense Department’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command surveyed the crash site near the village of Nemesvita, about 110 miles southwest of Budapest. In July 2007, another U.S. team excavated the site and recovered remains that included spinal and leg bones.
Troy’s relatives in Norwalk and nearby Wilton learned last year there was a chance his remains had been recovered. Julia Troy Carvutto learned from a story in the Norwalk Hour newspaper that the government was looking for her brother’s relatives so that they could compare DNA.
Carvutto and her son, William Wilcox, provided the samples. Word of the confirmation came through earlier this month.
The remains of Staff Sgt. Martin Francis Troy are to be interred Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. Members of the Troy family, including many who have not seen each other in years, plan to be there. They’ll be joined by Conlon, who is recovering from surgery and traveling against the wishes of his doctor.
“The war is going to be over for me,” Conlon said. “This guy has come home.”
As for Conlon, Lenburg and Brown, Carvutto said, “I can’t help but admire them for their perseverance and determination.”
And for her brother, Carvutto said she is glad to see him finally laid to rest in Arlington’s hallowed ground.
“I’m glad I lived to 90,” she said.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery; Section 60, Plot 8601.