First Lieutenant James Duane Clark

Lt Clark

World War II

US Army Air Forces
563rd Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Division, 8th Air Force
Service Number: O-824097
Born: February 8, 1916
Inducted: February 23, 1943 - Iowa
Killed in action November 9, 1944 over Belgium
Buried: Chariton Cemetery, Section K, Row 5, Lot 69
    Chariton, Iowa

Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal w/4 OLC, Purple Heart

Husband of Maxine Sutton Clark of Akron, later of Denver. Son of Melvin R. and Mabel D. Clark of Chariton, Iowa.
A brother, PFC Beryl L. Clark, 357th Inf Reg, 90th Inf Div, who was killed in action Jan 11, 1945, is buried beside James.


Chariton, Iowa


June 5, 1943, Chariton, Iowa

James Duane Clark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin R. Clark, Chariton, has been enrolled in the school for pilots at Maxwell field, Alabama.

Clark is a graduate of the Chariton high school and was a structural steel worker and rigger when he entered the army Feb 23, 1943. He served as an enlisted man until he was accepted as an aviation cadet.


November 18, 1943, Chariton, Iowa

Aviation Cadet James D. Clark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin R. Clark, recently reported to the Greenville Army Airfield, Greenville, Miss., for further flight training.


February 12, 1944, Chariton, Iowa

Clark Wins Wings at Illinois Field
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Clark Now Lieutenant in Army Air Corps.

Lt. James D. Clark, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Clark of Chariton, was a member of the 44-B class of aviation cadets to graduate from the Army Air Forces Pilot School (Advanced 2 Engine) at George Field, Ill., Tuesday.

He received the silver wings of a flying officer and was commissioned a second lieutenant.

Lieutenant Clark entered pilot training last June and attended schools at Americus, Ga., and Greenville, Miss., before going to George Field.

He attended high school in Chariton and was with the Selmes Drake Construction Co. in Seattle Wash. before entering service.


August 24, 1944, Chariton, Iowa

Lieut. J.D. Clark Co-Pilot of Flying Fortress Over Reich
Crippled by Enemy Fire; Battles Way Home by Itself

An Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, England -- Flak that ripped open a fuel tank and punctured an oil cooler, dropped the B-17 Flying Fortress piloted by 2nd Lieutenant John J. Chimenti, 23, of Erie, Pa., flying his fifth bombing attack, out of formation but he brought his plane home safely on three engines alone.

The target was the Krupp armament works at a Magdeburg, and Lt. Chimenti held his stricken plane in formation until bombs away. Then he fell back.

The tank that serves the number 4 engine had been torn open. The gas came out in a solid stream. The pilot stopped the engine and transferred all the gas which could be saved to the other three engines.

Flying alone across Germany, the crew expected to be pounced on by enemy fighters, but they were not attacked. The co-pilot, 2nd Lieutenant James D. Clark, 28, of Chariton, Iowa, reported seeing German fighter planes in the vicinity but they failed to close in on the crippled bomber.

Lt. Chimenti's squadron is part of a group attached to the 3rd Bombardment Division, which has been cited by the president for the now historic North Africa shuttle attack, when Messerschmitt plants at Regensburg, Germany were attacked.


Lt. J.D. Clark Awarded Cluster
Decorated for Work In Support of Army.

An Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, England -- Two Southeastern Iowa men have been decorated with the Air Medal, or with an Oak Leaf Cluster to an Air Medal previously awarded, at the Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress station by Colonel William B. David of Calhoun, Ga.

They are:
Second Lieutenant James D. Clark, 28, of Chariton, who has been awarded the Air Medal. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin R. Clark and his wife is Mrs. Barbara M. Clark of Denver, Colo. He was a structural steel worker at Seattle, Wash., before entering the AAF in February, 1943.

Staff Sergeant Paul W. Rheinschmidt, 19, of Burlington, tail gunner, who has been awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal, equivalent to another award of the medal.

The men were decorated for "meritorious achievement" during bombing attacks on Nazi war industries and on military targets in France in support of Allied ground forces.

Their group is a unit of the 3rd Bombardment Division, cited by the president for its now historic England-Africa shuttle bombing of the Messerschmitt aircraft factories at Regensburg, Germany.


October 31, 1944, Chariton, Iowa

Promotion to James D. Clark

An Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, England -- Promotion of James D. Clark, 28, of Chariton, Iowa, from second to first lieutenant has been announced by this Eighth Air Force station.

Lieutenant Clark is co-pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress that has been bombing Nazi war industries and military targets in support of Allied ground forces.

He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. M.R. Clark and his wife is Mrs. Barbara M. Clark of Denver, Colo. Before entering the Army Air Forces in December 1942 (sic), he was an employee of the Selmes Drake Construction Company of Seattle, Wash.


November 23, 1944. Chariton, Iowa

Lt. Duane Clark Killed in Action Over France
Parents Notified Death Occurred on Thursday, Nov. 9.

First Lieut. J. Duane Clark, 28, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Clark, Chariton, has been killed in action over France. This word was received by the parents Sunday evening in a telegram from the government.

Lieut. Clark was a pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress and was with the 8th air force now seeing action on the western front.

He was graduated from Chariton high school in 1933 and from there went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he learned the welding trade. He worked at various places in Cleveland until the time war broke out when he was sent to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where he worked on defense construction until he enlisted in the army in February, 1942. (sic)

Following his enlistment he was sent to officers' training school and took pilot training, being graduated from this work with the rank of lieutenant of February 8, 1943 (sic). He took his work at George Field Ill. and advanced training in Florida.

His wife, Mrs. Barbara Clark, to whom he was married Feb. 16, 1944, is living with her parents in Denver, Colo. She is engaged in war work. A brother, Pfc Veryl Clark (sic) is now in action on the French front.


November 31, 1944, Chariton, Iowa

Gives Life
(Photo)

First Lieutenant Duane Clark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Clark, Chariton, who was officially reported killed in action over France. Lt. Clark was a pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress. The war department lists November 9 as the day he was lost.


Mrs. Barbara Clark, of Denver, widow of First Lt. Dwaine Clarke (sic), who was killed in air corps service over France November 9, 1944, returned to Denver Saturday after spending a week here with her husband's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Clark and sister, Dortha Clark. She was accompanied to Denver by Mrs. Clark, who will visit relatives.


Thursday December 7, 1944 The Akron News-Reporter

Lieut. James Clark Killed in Action

First Lieut. James D. Clark, husband of Maxine Sutton Clark, was killed in action over France, November 9, according to word received November 26. A letter of confirmation from the war department was received Dec 3 by Mrs. Clark.

Lieut. Clark was a pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress and was with the Eighth Air Force now in action on the western front. He had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and his group was a unit of the 3rd Bombardment division, which was cited by the president.

Going overseas last June, Lieut. Clark had only four more missions to complete for the required number in that theater of war.

No further details of the tragedy were available, but no doubt in time more information will be released.

Lieut. Clark was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Clark of Chariton, Ia. and his wife is living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack A. Sutton in Denver.


August 1948, Chariton, Iowa

Services Sunday For Clark Brothers
(Beryl Lowell Clark photo and James Duane Clark photo)

Double military funeral services for James Duane and Beryl Lowell, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Clark, whose bodies were returned from overseas Tuesday to Chariton, will be held at the Dunshee Funeral Home, Sunday, Aug. 29. Officiating will be the Rev. Archie Beals and the Rev. Virgil __anson. Burial will be in the Chariton cemetery and the American Legion will be in charge of the graveside services. Serving as casket bearers will be boyhood friends of the Clark brothers who have all served in different branches of the service. (List omitted)

Beryl Lowell Clark
(most of the edge of newspaper column cut off so this obit omitted)

James Duane Clark

James Duane, eldest son of Melvin and Mabel Clark, was bon in Lucas county, February 8, 1916. When a small lad he united with the Presbyterian church of Chariton. He was graduated from the Chariton high school with the class of 1933 and later from the Lincoln Welding school of Cleveland, Ohio, where he was employed for a number of years. Prior to his enlistment in the service of his country, he worked on government defense construction at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and was there when the first bombing by Japan took place there.

Returning home late in 1942, he enlisted in the army air corps and entered pilot training in 1943, being graduated with the rank of Lieutenant on Feb. 8, 1944, at George Field, Ill. On Feb. 16, 1944 he was united in marriage to Barbara Maxine Sutton, who was a faithful companion to him during further advanced training in Florida. On June 15, 1944, he was sent overseas to the 8th Air Force in England where he served as a co-pilot on a B-17 bomber. While participating in his 33rd mission to Saarbrucken, Germany, his plane exploded in mid air and he was called to rest Nov 9, 1944. Seven of his crew parachuted to safety and they said, ":Duane gave his life for us." By direction of the President he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and four Oak Leaf Clusters, posthumously.

After entering the service Duane renewed his covenant with Christ and his letters to his loved ones bear witness of his steadfast faith in Him.

One brother, Paul, preceded him in death in July, 1927. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, Denver, Colo., his father, mother and one sister, Dortha Sandahl, all of Chariton. His brother Beryl, was killed two months later.

 

Gaston Georges of Belgium provided the following information:

United States Army Air Forces - 8th Air Force - 3rd Bombardment Division - 45th Combat Bombardment Wing - 388th Bombardment Group - 563rd Bombardment Squadron.
On November 9, 1944, the B-17G "Cicero Kid" # 42-97101 took off at Station 136, Knettishall, England.  The target of mission 223 was the Marshalling Yards and rail facilities of Saarbrucken, Germany. It was the 33rd mission of the crew.  The plane was over Fouches (a small village south-east of Belgium) and was approaching the I. P. for the start of the bomb run when engine # 4 caught fire.  Simultaneously a violent explosion broke the plane into three parts.  The pilot and the co-pilot were apparently fatally injured in the explosion and perished in the wreckage.  John J. Chimenti is buried in Erie, PA, and James D. Clark is buried in Chariton IA. The other seven crewmen parachuted to safety.  Two of the five bombs exploded when they hit the ground. One destroyed a building and killed the owner, Germaine Thomas.
 
This information was given to me by William M. Foster, navigator aboard the "Cicero Kid", when he came back to Fouches on June 3, 2000.
William Foster died and was buried in Auburn, NY, in 2007.
 
On December 12, 2009, a memorial site was inaugurated by Indian Head (Belgium Military Vehicle Conservation Group) at the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The monument is located in Fouches, Belgium, and is dedicated to all aircraft crews of the 8th and 9th US Army Air Forces, who served to liberate Europe during WW2. This memorial is also dedicated to the memory of 1st Lt. John J. Chimenti and 1st Lt. James D. Clark who were KIA aboard the B-17 "Cicero Kid".


 

 

Credits:

Headstone photograph donated by the Lucas County (Iowa) Genealogical Society.

1944 class photo scan donated by Paul Roales

Clark photograph and Chariton news clippings donated by Reta William.

Belgium plaque and memorial photo donated by Gaston Georges


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