671st BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

1Lt. William Edward ("Bill") Cramsie

Pilot,  O-025895

Killed In Action - Apr 10, 1944

671st Bombardment Squadron (L)


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      Born: 31-May-1919, Marysville, Yuba County, California

Entered Military Service: Date: 1-Jul-1939 At: USMA From: Placer County, California

Missing: Memorial at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Tablets of the Missing

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry     Overseas American Cemeteries
American Battle Monuments Commission Memorial, Certificate

1Lt William Edward Cramsie

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis J. Cramsie, William was a graduate of Placer Union High School, Placer Junior College, and West Point Military Academy. He joined the air corps branch of the US Army while at West Point. Following his graduation from West Point in May 1943, he received part of his air corps training at Mather Field. He took part in an operational mission in the vicinity of Hazebrouck, France, on April 10, 1944, as a crew member of an A-20 airplane. His plane sustained damage from anti-aircraft fire. It was last contacted by radio on the return trip and was then over the North Sea, just north of the Strait of Dover, about 40 miles from Bradwell Bay, England, which is located near the mouth of the Thames River. The plane and its crew were never recovered, and a Finding of Death was made in April 1945.

Extracted from Find A Grave.com



On the morning of 10 April 1944, a cold and overcast day, 36 A-20s of the 416th Bomb Group were dispatched from Wethersfield RAF station in England.
Their mission was to destroy a secret German installation hidden within the Bois des Huit Rues (Forest of the 8 streets) near Morbecque and Hazebrouck 
in Flanders (northern France). The flight encountered heavy flak and was forced to make three passes over the target due to cloud cover.
Three aircraft were lost, with only one crew surviving. A-20G tail number 43-9699, flown by 1st Lt. William E. Cramsie with gunners SSgt Charles R. Henshaw
and SSgt Jack Steward lost an engine due to flak over the target and went down in Bradwell Bay between North Foreland and Clacton on Sea.
Neither the crew nor aircraft were ever located or recovered. Lt. Cramsie was a graduate of the United States Military Academy (West Point) class of June 1943,
the most highly decorated class in the history of West Point. He was the first of his illustrious class to be killed in action.

The names of Lt. Cramsie, and Sergeants Henshaw and Steward are engraved in the Wall of the Missing
at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridge, England.


Through a twist of fate, or perhaps by Providence,
the West Point class ring of Bill Cramsie has survived and surfaced after more than sixty years.
This extraordinary artifact, symbolizing the principles of Duty, Honor and Country
that guided Bill Cramsie's life has inspired the telling of his personal story 
in the biography "First to Fall" by Wayne G. Sayles.


Click Here to Play the "First to Fall" video clip (turn volume up)

See also 1Lt. William E. Cramsie Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF)

A/C Last contacted by Radio. Lost as a result of Enemy Anti-Aircraft.

Two crews were lost due to Enemy Action. 1st Lt. William E. Cramsie and his two gunners, S/Sgt. Charles R. Henshaw and S/Sgt. Jack (NMI) Steward, were last heard from calling for a bearing while out over the English Channel. Lt. Raines, Lt. Cramsie, and their crews have been listed as "Missing in Action".
(416th BG History 1944)

See also MACR 3747 and Mission # 10

Photos and Documents
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
1930 US Census
1940 US Census
Pilot Diploma
Pilot Diploma
Pilot Diploma
USMA Portrait
USMA Portrait
US Army Register 1944
US Army Register 1945
US Army Register 1946
Tablet Of The Missing
Rosters Of WW II Dead
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry
National World War II Memorial Registry
American Battle Monuments Commission Certificate

Source information can be viewed at WWII Military Service Fatalities Sources

"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band