Lewis Bryson Lawter



Attended Clemson during 1938-1939 school year

Spartanburg, SC

Wife - Francis Kinsland.

Army Air Force, Second Lieutenant

489th Bomber Squadron, 340th Bomber Group

Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, European/ African/Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II Victory Medal.

Aug 9, 1919

Apr 25, 1943

Killed in Action in North Africa. Aircraft collided with another B-25 of the same unit.

Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg, South Carolina


Additional Information

On 25 April, 1943 (Easter Sunday), at Sfax, the squadron suffered another blow.  Major Whittington, piloting “Little Joe,” a 489th plane, co-piloted by Lt. William O. Dell, squadron Operations Officer, collided in mid-air with “Old Mag Drop,” piloted by F/O J. M. Gilbert.  The planes had just taken off flying in close formation.  Major Whittington was leading the formation when F/O Gilbert’s plane came upward suddenly and wrecked the tail of the lead plane.  Both planes crashed to the ground and their bombs exploded.  Eleven of our squadron personnel were killed.  They included: Lt. William O. Dell, flying as co-pilot; Lt. John Allen; squadron bombardier; Lt. Lewis B. Lawter, navigator; Sgt. Hugh E. Allen, gunner; Sgt. D. W. Webster, radio-gunner.  Among the members of F/O Gilbert’s crew were F/O F. N. Balmes, co-pilot; Lt. J. W. Stetler, navigator; S/Sgt. Clarence Reed, radio-gunner, and S/Sgt. Eugene Galbreath, gunner.  These were the squadron’s first combat casualties.  They were given a fitting military funeral in a British cemetery in the desert.

Tactical Diary – Sfax Tunisia – https://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/489thTacticalDiary.pdf


List of Crew:

Pilot                       Whittington, Cyrus A.   Major            KIA
CP                         Dell, William O., Jr.      1st Lt.            KIA 
Bombardier             Allen, John K.              1st Lt.           KIA
Radio Gunner          Webster, Colbert W.     T/Sgt.           KIA
Gunner                   Allen, Hugh E., Jr.         Sgt.             KIA
Navigator              Lawter, Lewis B.         2nd Lt.        KIA
Pilot                        Gilbert, John W.           F/O              KIA 
Bombardier             Settler, James W.         2nd Lt.         KIA
Radio Gunner          Reed, Clarence             S/Sgt.          KIA 
Gunner                   Galireath, Eugene R.     S/Sgt.          KIA
Last Known Activity
Lewis Bryson Lawter was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1919.  His parents were L.B. and Minnie Inez West Lawter.  He had one sister.  He graduated from Spartanburg High School, and enrolled in Clemson University and attended during the 1938-1939 academic year.According to his NARA enlistment record, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private on January 8, 1942.  This record stated he had completed 1 year of college, was single, and had worked in the sheet metal occupation.He was accepted as a navigator-trainee, and went on to graduate from this course in 1942.  He was then commissioned, awarded wings, and sent to an operational unit for further training and crew assignment.  Sometime during this period, he married Francis Kinsland.The crew deployed overseas, and was assigned to the 489th Bomb Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group, at the time operating from an airfield at Sfax, Tunisia. The crew flew three combat missions, and drew their fourth one on April 25, 1943. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft were assembling and a collision occurred between Lawter’s B-25 and another one in the formation.Both aircraft crashed, killing all personnel on board. The remains were recovered and buried in a British cemetery in the desert.  After the war, Lawter was returned to South Carolina and buried in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Extract from https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=158756 

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Extra Documents

Fatal Formation – Vignette written by Kelly Durham for The Echo