January 13, 1919 (Middletown, CT) – October 20, 1968 (Luke AFB, AZ); 49 years old
Married to Nina “Lucille” Sumner (1914-2003) on February 3, 1943 in Topeka, Kansas
Two daughters, Patricia and Donna (1958-2020). One son David W.
Local address 96 East Avenue, Norwalk
Enlisted on December 18, 1941
Serial number 11033809 (Enlisted) and O-791522 (Officer)
305TH BOMB GROUP, 364TH BOMB SQUADRON
Held in German POW camp Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11.
Donald W. Tuttle, is the 2nd from the left, back row, in Prisoner-of-War photo from Stalag Luft III (the one they made the movie “The Great Escape” (1963) with James Garner, and Steve McQueen about!) He helped dig on the tunnels (like Charles Bronson’s character, & he was a “scrounger” (CT Yankee trader) like Garner’s character, and he was a “penguin” (disbursing dirt from the tunnels in bags inside his pants) like almost everybody did in the movie! Stalag Luft III was in Zagan, German (now it’s part of Poland!) He was the pilot of a B-17 (“The Four Queens” named for the wives of the 4 officers aboard the aircraft.) when he was shot down over Lorient, France on his 5th mission, on May 17, 1943. He was sent by cattle car train to Mooseburg, Germany, then Zagan to Stalag Luft III. He was there until they were liberated by Gen. George S. Patton’s tanks. All 4 engines conked out when it was shot down, and crashed and burned.
Missing Air Crew Report #15555
Date: May 17, 1943
Location: Near Lorient, France
Intended destination: Lorient, France
Aircraft type: B-17F
Aircraft serial number: 42-29663
Aircraft nickname: The Four Queens
Details: Hit by enemy aircraft. Crashed near Cherbourg France.
Crew of 42-29663
Pilot: 1st Lt Donald W. Tuttle, captured
Co-pilot: 2nd Lt James O. Aubele, captured
Navigator: 2nd Lt Charles J. Spear, captured
Radio Operator: TSgt John H. Gardner, captured
Tail gunner: SSgt Ed C. Seabourn, captured
Sgt Ralph L. Greenfield, captured
Bombardier: 2nd Lt Carl E. Tisone, body never found
Flight engineer/top turret gunner: TSgt Daniel E. Gruhike, KIA
Waist gunner: SSgt Alexander Schaeffer, KIA
Waist gunner: Sgt John D. Lyons , KIA
Ball turret gunner: SSgt Harold E. Tilbury (evaded capture)
From The Norwalk Hour May 27, 1943
First Lieutenant Donald Whitney Tuttle, U.S.A.A.F., 24, son of Monroe Tuttle of the Wilton Supply, Inc., of Wilton, and Mrs. Kenneth Tuttle Reynaud of Silvermine, Norwalk, has been missing since May 17 when he was on a Flying Fortress raid over occupied France, his parents were notified today by the War Department. Lieutenant Tuttle was the pilot of the Flying Fortress and had participated in many raids over Germany. He is widely known in Norwalk, Wilton and Westport. Lieutenant Tuttle was a graduate of Staples High School in Westport. He attended the University of Alabama for one year and was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Less than two weeks after Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Tuttle enlisted in the Army Air Force. He received his basic flight training at Greenville, Mississippi, and his advanced training at Columbus, Mississippi. He attended the bomber school at Boise, Idaho, and Alamogordo, New Mexico. He completed this training at Topeka Kansas, where he was promoted to First Lieutenant. In February of this year, he married Miss Lucille Sumner of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and in March received his orders to proceed overseas for active duty in the Eighth Air Force based in England. In a recent letter received by his father, Lieutenant Tuttle intimated that he made several flights over enemy-held territory, so this raid from which he is reported missing was not his first against the Nazi forces.
From The Norwalk Hour October 23, 1943
DONALD TUTTLE GETS AIR MEDAL
First Lieutenant Donald Whitney Tuttle, USAAF, son of Monroe Tuttle of Wilton and Mrs. Kenneth Tuttle Reynaud of Silvermine, Norwalk, who is a prisoner in Germany, has been awarded the Air Medal by President Roosevelt. Mr. Tuttle has received a copy of the letter sent his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lucille S. Tuttle of Miami, Florida, notifying her of the award. The letter follows:
“I have the honor to inform you that by direction of the President, the Air Medal has been awarded to you husband, 1st Lieutenant Donald W. Tuttle, Air Corps, for exceptionally meritorious achievement Since your husband has been reported by the War Department, a prisoner of the German government, the decoration will be presented to you in his absence.
Lieutenant Tuttle was pilot of a Flying Fortress and took part in many raids over Germany. His plane was shot down over occupied France on May 17 and he was taken prisoner. Lieutenant Tuttle is a graduate of Staples High School in Westport and attended the University of Alabama for a year.
From The Norwalk Hour June 13, 1945
Lieutenant Donald Tuttle Arrives in U.S.
Lieutenant Donald W. Tuttle, captured by the Germans when his plane was shot down over Lorient, France, in May 1943, is now in this country and telephoned his father, Monroe Tuttle of Wilton, last evening to say he had arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and would come home on furlough shortly after reporting to Fort Dix, New Jersey. Lieutenant Tuttle was with the 30th Bomber Group, Eighth Air Force, enlisting less than two weeks after Pearl Harbor. Taken prisoner on May 17, 1943, Lieutenant Tuttle lost 45 pounds during his stay in the German prisoner of war camp but since his liberation a few weeks ago, has regained 25 pounds. While he was a prisoner, his wife, Mrs. Lucille S. Tuttle of Miami, Florida, received the Air Medal awarded her husband by President Roosevelt for “exceptionally meritorious achievement.” His mother is Mrs. Kenneth Tuttle Reynaud of Silvermine.
From the Arizona Republic October 23, 1968
Lt. Col. Donald Tuttle Services at Luke AFB
GLENDALE – Services for Lieutenant Colonel Donald Whitney Tuttle, 49, who died Sunday in Luke Air Force Base Hospital, will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Luke AFB Chapel. Colonel Tuttle, 4514 W. Rose Lane, commander of the 4512th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, came here three years ago from Plattsburg Air Force Base in New York. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict and was awarded the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he was a member of the Congregational Church. Survivors include his wife, Nina; two daughters, Patricia of Protales, New Mexico, and Donna Tuttle of Glendale; a son, David W. of Glendale; his mother, Mrs. Laura Tuttle of Towson, Maryland; and a sister living out of state. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Phoenix.
Buried in Greenwood Cemetery, 2300 W Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ; Section 44, North. Photo from findagrave.com.