670th BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Sgt. Lawrence Elmer Zelley

Gunner,  12133146

Killed In Training - Jun 25, 1943

670th Bombardment Squadron (L)

WWII-Medal

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Gunner Wings        Missing Man




  Born: 06-Aug-1924, Beverly, Burlington County, New Jersey

Entered Military Service: Date: 21-Oct-1942 At: Camden, NJ From: Burlington County, New Jersey
NARA Enlistment Record: Enlisted Serial # 12133146

Buried: Odd Fellows Cemetery and Mausoleum, Burlington, New Jersey

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry
Find-A-Grave





Notes:
Pilot's Mission: Air Attack - 2 ship formation

Nature of Accident: Collision in air.

Cause of Accident: Plane No. 42-53790 turned into flight path of plane No. 42-33149


Description:
On June 25, an unfortunate accident robbed the Group of five men in one blow. Seconds lieutenants Paul F. Curdy, Howard J. Hilderbrandt, and Vincent J. Jasinski, S/Sgt Richard Wentling, Sgt Lawrence Zelley, and Pvt John Riley were all killed when a B-25 piloted by Lt Curdy collided with Lt Hilderbrandt's A-20 near DeRidder, Louisiana.
(416th BG History 1943)

6-25-43E. Newton, Texas. At 1625, a Douglas A-20G and an A-20C collided in mid-air ten miles southeast of Newton, Texas, killing six fliers aboard both bombers. Killed aboard A-20G #790 were: 2Lt. Howard J. Hildebrandt, pilot; Sgt. Lawrence E. Zelley, gunner; 2Lt. Vincent J. Jasinksi, passenger. Killed in the crash of A-20C #149 were: 2Lt. Paul F. Curdy, pilot; Ssgt. Richard L. Wentling, gunner; Pvt. Thomas F. Riley, passenger. The Accident Classification Committe stated, "This mission consisted of a two airplane formation on a simulated low altitude bombing attack on a tank column operation in the area southeast of Newton, Texas. The airplanes were first sighted by the members of medium tank crews of Company G, 41st Armored Regiment, 11th Armored Division, which was proceeding in column, southerly along a road in that area. When first seen, they were approaching the line of march from the southeast. They were flying in close formation with A-20 #790 to the left of and slightly to the rear of A-20 #149. The pilot of #149 started a turn to the right as if to assume position over the tank column. The pilot of #790 continued momentarily on the line of flight on which it had approached the column and then started a right turn. It is apparent he turned more steeply than #149. The horizontal interval between the airplanes had, for that brief instant, increased but on the execution of the steeper turn by #790, that interval was closed up. Witnesses agree that the first point of contact of the two airplanes was the left wing tip of #149 and the right wing tip of #790, while both were in a banked turn to the right. One of the propellers of airplane #790 cut through the left wing of airplane #149 just ahead of the aileron. The left engine fairing was cut off cleanly. The fuselage of #149 was cut in two places, just in front of the tail group and again at the rear gun turret. Both airplanes crashed into trees approximately 200 yards ahead and approximately 50 yards east of the tank column. Just before #149 struck the trees, one man, later identified as Pvt. Riley, was seen to leave the plane. From the condition of his injuries, and from the fact that he came from the rear part of the wreckage, it is believed that he probably received fatal injuries in the collision of the two airplanes and fell from the airplane rather than jumped. On impact with the ground, both airplanes burst into flames."
(Mireles, Vol. 1, Pgs. 416-417)

See also AAR 43-6-25-7




Photos and Documents
1930 US Census
1940 US Census
1940 US Census
The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) 29 Jun 1943, Tue, Main Edition, Page 7
The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) 29 Jun 1943, Tue, Main Edition, Page 12
Headstone Application
Headstone Application
Headstone
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry
 
 
 
 


Source information can be viewed at WWII Military Service Fatalities Sources

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