World War IIUS Navy
Patrol Bomber Squadron VB-103
Service Number: 06184089
Born: May 21, 1920 - Eckley
Inducted: April 29, 1942 - Denver
Missing in action June 24, 1943 when his patrol plane out of Argentia, Newfoundland failed to return to base.
Crew was declared dead: June 25, 1944
Memorial (Tablets of Missing) Cambridge American Cemetery, England
Son of Henry and Veva Armstrong Wittlake of Eckley. Husband of Ilene Bessie Jewell Wittlake of Yuma.
Cambridge American Cemetery, England
Photo by ABMC Staff.
Yuma Pioneer July 15, 1943
Eckleyite Reported Missing In Action
Henry Edward Wittlake, a radioman of the United States naval air forces is missing in action, according to a message received from the War Department last week by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wittlake of south of Eckley. No details were received, but it is presumed that the young man was aboard a plane in one of the war zones and that the craft may have become lost. There is a possibility that he and others of the crew may be adrift in life rafts.
Radioman Wittlake, about 22 years of age, is the eldest of three brothers who are serving in the Navy. His wife and year old son reside in the Eckley community.
Yuma Pioneer July 13, 1944
Missing Eckley Man is Now Declared Dead
Navy Secretary Reports Henry Wittlake Lost Life in Mid-Atlantic a Year Ago.
Word received Tuesday morning by Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Wittlake of south of Eckley from the Secretary of the Navy reported that their son, Henry Edward Wittlake, radioman third class, who has been missing more than a year, was declared dead on June 25 of this year.
The young man had been stationed in Newfoundland and was on convoy duty in the mid-Atlantic. He was reported last seen at 6:00 o'clock the morning of June 24, 1943. The weather was foggy and rainy and it was known that at least one enemy submarine was lurking in the vicinity of the convoy.
Radioman Wittlake was 26 years of age, the eldest of four sons of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Wittlake. He enlisted in the navel forces in April of 1942. Two of his brothers are also serving in the Navy and a small brother is at home. He is also survived by his wife Bessie Ilene and a baby son.
Navy Aircraft Loss Records:
24 June 1943 - PB4Y-1 Serial: 32046, VB-103, Argentia, Newfoundland. Missing during convoy coverage in the North Atlantic 700 miles NE of base. 10 MIA.
Crew members of PB4Y-1 SN: 32046:
The PB4Y-1 was the Navy version of the USAAF B-24D Liberator bomber.
The U-271, a German U-Boat, reported shooting down a unidentified plane on 24 June 1943.
Aircraft loss information provided by Terence Geary. For his complete article visit www.VPNavy.com.
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