SEPTEMBER (date tbd) 2023

Gilmore, William Featherston

Individual Personnel Data
Name Gilmore, William Featherston
Rank Major
Serial Number O-406671
Unit Assignments
  • Assigned to the 545th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per 545th Bomb Squadron Morning Report, effective 28 January 1943.
  • Assigned to the 384th Bombardment Group Headquarters Detachment, per 545th Bomb Squadron Morning Report, effective 8 February 1943.
  • Assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per 544th Bomb Squadron Morning Report, effective 25 March 1943.
Duty Operations Officer / Commanding Officer
Last Duty Date 19 January 1944
Results Transferred
DecorationsAwarded the Silver Star for 'gallantry in action' during a mission over Germany on 26 November 1943.
Citation For
Higher Decoration
SILVER STAR. WILLIAM FEATHERSTON GILMORE, Major, Army Air Forces, United States Army. For gallantry in action, while serving as pilot of a B-17 airplane on a bombing mission over Germany, 26 November 1943. On approaching the target, two engines of his aircraft became partially disabled, making it impossible for Major Gilmore to remain with the formation. Enemy fighters were quick to take advantage and attacked in force, setting fire to one of the good engines. During the running battle which followed, Major Gilmore was wounded and his aircraft sustained such severe damage that it became almost uncontrollable. Using violent evasive tactics and taking advantage of all available cloud cover, he was finally able to elude the attacking fighters. While endeavoring to reach the coast of England, the last good engine cut out, forcing him to ditch his crippled bomber in the sea. When only one rubber dinghy released, Major Gilmore struggled in vain to secure another one, giving up his attempts only after being carried beneath the water by the sinking aircraft. However, he managed to escape from the submerged plane and sought safety in the dinghy. His gallantry, flying skill and devotion to duty on this occasion reflect highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. Entered military service from Georgia.

Citation Source: 'As Briefed...'
Additional Information
  • Attached to the 545th Bomb Squadron to assume command of the 545th Bomb Squadron during the temporary absence of Captain Raymond P. Ketelsen per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #28 dated 10 June 1943.
  • Detailed as Commanding Officer of the 544th Bomb Squadron vice Captain Alfred C. Nuttall, relieved per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #38 dated 28 June 1943.
  • Originally assigned as Squadron Operations Officer; became Commanding Officer of 544th BS from 29 August 1943 to 20 October 1943.
  • Appointed as a member of a Flying Evaluation Board, to meet at the call of the President to act on such cases as might be referred to it by these headquarters (384th Bombardment Group) per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #101 dated 21 September 1943.
  • Appointed to an AIRPLANE ACCIDENT COMMITTEE per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #114 dated 10 October 1943. Replaced on this board by Raymond P. Ketelsen per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #34 dated 20 February 1944.
  • Rescued after ditching on 26 November 1943 (MACR 1579).
  • Placed on Temporary Duty for seven days on or about 30 November 1943 to 8th Air Force Officers Rest Home, Stanbridge Earls, Hampshire (a FLAK House) per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #156 dated 29 November 1943.
  • Transferred to 'a Pathfinder unit' on 19 January 1944 (squadron history, A0640-01418).
Related Documents Missing Air Crew Report # 1579 (30.215 MB)
'Valor: The Saga of Barrel House Bessie' in Air Force Magazine

Missions, Aircraft, Crews
This individual was credited with 11 Combat Missions.
Number Date Target Position Aircraft Mission/Sortie Information
11 28 July 1943 Target: Aircraft Engine Plant
Type: Aircraft Industry
Location: Kassel, Germany
Co-pilot 42‑30142 Combat Mission Credit
Aborted Mission After Taking Off
Wing lead. Turned back with #2 engine out. Bombed unidentified location on island of Terschelling, The Netherlands.
Sortie Report
19 31 August 1943 Target: Fighter Airfield
Type: German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
Location: Romilly-sur-Seine, France
Pilot 42‑29828 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
23 9 September 1943 Target: Airfield
Type: German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
Location: Lille-Vendeville, France
Commander 42‑30043 Combat Mission Credit
Group Lead.
Sortie Report
29 8 October 1943 Target: Workshops
Type: Submarine Facility
Location: Bremen, Germany
Commander 42‑3429 Combat Mission Credit
Group lead.
Sortie Report
-- 30 October 1943 Target: Marshaling Yard
Type: Transportation
Location: Geilenkirchen, Germany
Pilot 42‑3429 Maj. Gilmore
Sortie Report
34 3 November 1943 Target: Port Area
Type: Transportation
Location: Wilhelmshafen, Germany
Commander 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
36 16 November 1943 Target: Knaben II Molybdenum Mine
Type: Industry
Location: Knaben, Norway
Commander 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
37 26 November 1943 Target: City Center
Type: Non-Military
Location: Bremen, Germany
Pilot 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Damaged by flak, ditched in the North Sea near the English coast, with most of the crew rescued; MACR 1579; T/Sgt. Maurice Henry awarded posthumous Distinguished Service Cross, Owens p.195; Maj. William Gilmore awarded Silver Star, Owens p. 198.
Sortie Report
42 13 December 1943 Target: Port Area
Type: Transportation
Location: Bremen, Germany
Pilot 42‑31274 Combat Mission Credit
Low group.
Sortie Report
53 14 January 1944 Target: NOBALL (V-1 Launch Site)
Type: CROSSBOW (V-Weapons)
Location: Le Meillard, France
Pilot 42‑37848 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
57 3 February 1944 Target: Submarines (under construction)
Type: Submarine Facility
Location: Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Pilot 42‑3491 Combat Mission Credit
Lead Group, Wing Deputy. PFF ship: aircraft and unidentified crewmembers provided by 482nd BG. Pilot Gilmore, while previously a 384th member, at the time of this mission was assigned to the 482nd.
Sortie Report
63 20 February 1944 Type: Aircraft Industry
Location: Leipzig & Bernburg, Germany
Pilot 42‑39766 Combat Mission Credit
41A Group, 41st A Combat Wing lead. PFF aircraft, and remaining unidentified crew, provided by 482nd BG at Alconbury.
Sortie Report

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