March 28, 1923 (Winthrop, MA) – September 5, 1997 (Lake Worth, FL); 74 years old
Married to Grace McGuire on September 29, 1945 in Sherman, CT
Last local address: Pine Point, Rowayton
Enlisted on June 15, 1942
Serial number 11072168

POW in German camp Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11.

Details of Missing Aircrew Report #868

Point of Departure: Thurleigh, England
Intended destination: Bremen, Germany
Aircraft type: B-17F
Aircraft Serial Number: 42-29985
Aircraft nickname: Barrel House Bessie
Cause: Enemy aircraft set two engines on fire. Crashed in Handrup, 10 miles NE of Lingen, Germany.

Crew of 42-29985
Captain Thomas D. Ledgerwood, Pilot
2nd Lt John G. Acker, Co-Pilot
2nd Lt Myron L. Sorden, Navigator
Technical Sergeant Harvey D. Cooke Jr., Top Turret Gunner
Staff Sergeant Robert G. Van Dragt, Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant John K. Spell, Ball Turret Gunner
Staff Sergeant Andrew B. Fila, Waist Gunner
SSgt Patrick A. Walsh Jr., Waist Gunner
SSgt Arthur E. Robinson, Tail Gunner (KIA)
Sergeant Eugene H. Levy, Bombardier, Nose Gunner
Captain Paul George, Observer / Passenger

Witness statement regarding SSgt Fila: “Fila was shot up by fighters when they attacked. He bailed out all right and was hospitalized after being captured. My radio operator, Sgt Van Dragt, told me that Fila died in a hospital, probably of gangrene.

From The Norwalk Hour November 16, 1943

Technical Sergeant Harvey D. Cooke Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey D. Cooke of Pine Point, reported missing on October 21, 1943, following a plane raid over Germany, is a prisoner of war of the Nazis according to word received by his parents today from the War Department. Sergeant Cooke was a top turret gunner on a Flying Fortress which took part in the huge raid over the industrial Reich when 60 Flying Forts failed to return. Sergeant Cooke enlisted in the Army Air Corps over a year ago. He is a graduate of Norwalk High School. His brother Robert, is on active sea duty with the U.S. Navy.

From The Norwalk Hour January 20, 1945

Because of the encouraging news of the advance of the Russian armies in Hungary, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey D. Cooke, Pine Point, Bell Island, are hopeful that their son, Technical Sergeant Harvey D. Cooke Jr., 21, a prisoner of war in Vienna may be liberated in the near future. Technical Sergeant Cooke has been a prisoner of war since October 8, 1943, when the bomber on which he was a turret gunner burned and went down in the first daylight raid over Bremen. He suffered burns, bailed out, and was taken prisoner. His buddy, Staff Sergeant Robert W. Fisher of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was repatriated on the SS Gripsholm and is now undergoing treatment in a Pennsylvania hospital. Sergeant Cooke has a brother in the service: Fireman First Class George Robert Cooke, now on a shakedown cruise with the USS John R. Pierce, a super destroyer which was commissioned at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on December 30. He has been in the Navy for two years and has seen action in three invasions – Sicily, Normandy and the Mediterranean.

From The Norwalk Hour August 6, 1945

Speaks With Barbara Stanwyck, Movie Star; She Gives Him A Gold Watch

Technical Sergeant Harvey D. Cooke Jr., of Pine Pointe, was featured last night in the national broadcast of the CBS “We, the People” show at 10:30, when he spoke with the popular motion picture star, Barbara Stanwyck. The broadcast originated in Sergeant Cooke’s home, where he described his experiences during two years in a German prison camp. “There were two years,” he stated, “when I crossed Christmas Day, December 25, off the calendar and there were no presents, no tree, nothing in the way of celebration. It’s wonderful to be home and to know that I’ll be among those present at the “Christmas in Connecticut” party here on Wednesday.” Speaking from Hollywood, Miss Stanwyck lauded the idea of an August Christmas party for redeployed servicemen, stating that two Christmas celebrations a year had been one of her childhood dreams. During the broadcast, Sergeant Cooke opened the Christmas gift that Miss Stanwyck had sent him from Hollywood, which was revealed as a beautiful gold watch. Also taking part in the broadcast were Sergeant Cooke’s parents, his sisters, Nancy and Mary Bassler and his brother, Buzzy. Present, too, was his fiancée, Miss Grace McGuire of New Canaan.

Burial information is unknown

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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