671st BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

1Lt. Francis Wilhelm ("Frenchie") De Mand

Pilot,  O-806235

Killed In Action - Sep 29, 1944

671st Bombardment Squadron (L)


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Pilot Wings        Missing Man        Purple Heart

      Born: 19-Mar-1922, Haven, Reno County, Kansas

Entered Military Service: Date: Sep-1942 From: Sedgwick County, Kansas

Buried: Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands, Plot I Row 13 Grave 11

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry     Overseas American Cemeteries
American Battle Monuments Commission Memorial, Certificate
Find-A-Grave (1)     Find-A-Grave (2)
Fields of Honor Database

Lt. Robert Morton died in an aircraft training accident at Vinton, LA in 1943 and Lt. Arthur McDonald was killed when his plane crashed near London, England in April of 1944.  Lt. Ritter was transferred to the South Pacific, but survived the war and returned to Wichita, as did Lt. William Merchant, De Mand's closest friend and fellow pilot in the 671st.  In the photo above, Francis (right) and Lt. Merchant stand before the A-20 "Uncle Bob" flown by De Mand.

Francis W. De Mand (also written by others as DeMand) grew up in Wichita, Kansas, the son of a country doctor who died of pneumonia in 1926 while Francis was just a young boy.  He and his two sisters were raised by their mother, Martha, who ran a rooming house during the depression years.   Francis graduated from high school with war on the horizon and joined the Army with four of his high school buddies.  They all were enlisted at the same time, took flight training together and earned commissions as pilots in the Army Air Corps.  Lieutenants De Mand, Merchant, Morton, McDonald and Ritter all became A-20 Havoc pilots and were part of the initial cadre that joined the 416th Bomb Group at Oklahoma City.

Lt. De Mand was leading Box II, Flight 3 on September 29, 1944 in an attack on the railroad marshalling yards at Julich, Germany.  Lt. Dave Andrews was flying on De Mand's left wing, only a few yards away.  Dave recalls the event with absolute clarity in a "Witness to War" video seventy years after the fact.  An artillery barrage destroyed De Mand's plane in a direct hit, killing all but Ssgt Middleton, one of the gunners, who was blown clear of the plane by the explosion.  Originally buried in Germany, the remains of Lt. De Mand and of his Bombardier/Navigator Alwin Burns, were transferred after the war to the ABMC cemetery at Margraten, Netherlands.  The family of nearby resident Ron Wintjens has adopted the Grave of Francis and honors his memory on special occasions.  De Mand's gunner, Ssgt Reuben Troyer is buried at the ABMC cemetery in Ardennes.

See also:
Francis W. De Mand Photo and Document Collection from Rick Greer, nephew of Francis
1Lt. Francis W. De Mand Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF)

A/C Last Sighted and was Lost as a result of Enemy Anti-Aircraft. Exploded in mid-air from direct flak hit.

Three planes, all from the 671st Bomb Sq (L), were knocked down, and almost simultaneously, at the target. All three were in the same flight. Lt F.W. DeMand was leading the flights with Lt A.C. Burns, B-N, in the nose and Staff Sergeants R.J. Troyer and C.W. Middleton in the tail. The plane received a direct hit and exploded in mid-air in the area over the target. Two chutes were observed to emerge from the falling wreck.
(416th BG History 1944)

See also MACR 9274 and Mission # 149

Photos and Documents
1925 KS State Census
1930 US Census
1940 US Census
Headstone Inscription and Interment Record
Headstone (ABMC)
Headstone Memorial
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