William Sylvester Crosland, Jr.



Bennettsville, South Carolina

Army Air Force, Flight Officer

839th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomb Group

Purple Heart

Jan 1, 1970

Mar 11, 1945

Killed in Action over Germany

Oak Ridge Cemetery, Bennettsville, SC


Additional Information

Aircraft  43-38888 –
B-17G 43-38888 839 30-Nov-44 assigned to 487th “B-17 Flying Fortress Story”, plane was originally with 838th squadron, then assigned to 839th squadron (per Mike Quering). 11-Mar-45-shot down over Ronneburg/Hamburg.  Crashed on the West side of Autobahn from Hamburg to Luneburg.  Control was lost, presumably due to flak barrage. All crew KIA
Copied from the 487th Bomb Group Website

MACR 12979
Place of departure: Lavenham
Target of Destination: Hamburg, Germany
Any explanation of his death is based in part or wholly on supposition: Supposed that he was killed instantly when anti aircraft shell bust in the nose of pilot’s section of aircraft.  His identification tag was shown me by Luftwaffe officer at air field near Lupefurg, Germany.

Flight Officer William S. Crosland Jr, Army serial number T-006702, was from Marlboro County, South Carolina. He was copilot on the Joseph M. Sugarman Jr crew, in the 839th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group at Lavenham, England.  He was killed in action on March 11, 1945, when B-17G 43-38888 was shot down by flak near Hamburg, Germany.  Only one of his nine crewmates survived.  Here is the crew roster that day:
B-17G 43-38888 – 839th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomb Group
Sugarman Jr., Joseph M.    1/Lt    Pilot    KIA
Crosland Jr., William S.    F/O    Copilot    KIA
Barnett, James S.    F/O    Navigator    KIA
Owen, Charles V.    Sgt    Togglier    KIA
Stanton, Willard W.    S/Sgt    Engineer    KIA
Schlotte, Harvey F.    T/Sgt    Radio Operator    POW
Mau, Eldon A.    S/Sgt    Ball Turret Gunner    KIA
Yaegle, Clyde L.    S/Sgt    Waist Gunner    KIA
Berger, Robert M.    Sgt    Waist Gunner    KIA
Simac, Edward A.    Sgt    Tail Gunner    KIA

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Extra Documents

Vignette in The Echo Written by Kelly Durham – William Sylvester Crosland, Jr. , ’46