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Remembering World War II
Frank E. Wright
Name: Frank E. Wright Rank: First Lieutenant Service Number: 11032323, O-751518 Service: 369th Bomber Squadron, 306th Bomber Group, USAAF Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart Date of Birth: 1921 Place of Birth: Princedale, Annapolis Co., NS Date of Enlistment: November 18, 1941 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Address at Enlistment: Danvers, Essex Co., Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 20 Occupation: Attendant, filling station/parking lot Date of Death: February 22, 1944 (declared Oct 2, 1945) Age: 23 Cemetery: Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England Tablets of the Missing, Memorial Frank E. Wright was the son of Ira Edwin Wright (1892-1968) and Nina Belle (Hutchinson) Wright (1888- 1982). His father was born in Princedale, Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia; his mother – in Roxville, Digby Co., NS. Frank had two brothers, Frederick ‘Fred’ Hutchison (1919-1988), and Wilfred Cleveland (1923-20011), and two sisters Helen Marguerite (1918-1991) and Marjorie E (1927-2017). Helen, Fred, Frank and Wilfred were all born in Princedale, NS. Frank’s father Ira served in WWI in Canada and England with the 219th Battalion, serving April 1, 1916 to December 31, 1917. The family moved to the US in 1926 and Frank’s younger sister Marjorie was born in Mass in 1927. The family lived in Ipswich, Mass. in 1930. By 1940, they were living in Danvers, Mass. Both of Frank’s brothers also served in the US Armed Forces in WWII. His older brother Fred served in the USAAF from September 21, 1942 to November 20, 1945, and his younger brother Wilfred served in the US Army from March 12, 1943 to November 16, 1945. Frank married Mary Alice Sullivan (1923-1990) October 11, 1943, at Geiger Field, Spokane, Washington. Geiger Air Force Base was a major group training field for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment units during WWII. Mary was born in Peabody, Mass. She served as a Private in the Women’s Air Corps, USAAF (Service No. A- 118262) during WWII as well. She served from March 3, 1944 until her discharge December 21, 1945. Frank served with the 369th Bombardment Squadron of the 306th Bomb Group, known as the ‘Reich Wreckers’; their motto: Abundance of Strength. They were stationed at Thurleigh in Bedfordshire, England. Without fighter escort and in the face of powerful opposition, the 306th completed an assault against aircraft factories in central Germany on Jan 11, 1944, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for the mission. They then received another DUC for action during ‘Big Week’, the intensive campaign against the German aircraft industry from Feb 2-25, 1944: although hazardous weather forced supporting elements to abandon the mission, the group effectively bombarded an aircraft assembly plant at Bernberg on Feb 22. Frank’s aircraft, B-17G Flying Fortress #42-39935, was last seen near Bonn, Germany, on that bombing mission to the JU88 plant at Bernburg, Germany on February 22, 1944. The aircraft went missing and is presumed to have crashed in the North Sea. Frank was serving as Co-Pilot. He was declared dead October 2, 1945. The other crew were: First Lieutenant Rudolph Horst III Pilot from Pennsylvania Second Lieutenant John Joplin Navigator from Texas Second Lieutenant Henry Schmitz Bombardier from Idaho Technical Sergeant Bill Osgood Flight engineer/Top turret gunner from Massachusetts Technical Sergeant Arthur Cook Radio Operator from Massachusetts Staff Sergeant Laurel Kloster Ball turret gunner from Minnesota Staff Sergeant Edward Ryan Waist gunner from New York Staff Sergeant Ed Justice Waist gunner from California Sergeant Joe Threlkeld Tail gunner from Alaska First Lieutenant Frank Wright’s body was never located or recovered, and he is commemorated on the Walls of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery. The Cambridge American Cemetery sits on a quiet hillside outside the ancient university town of Cambridge. This is the only military cemetery in the UK that commemorates American servicemembers who died in WWII. Graves fan out across the lawn in sweeping curves. The mosaic on the ceiling of the memorial building depicts the flight of ghostly aircraft joined by mourning angels flying into eternity. The Walls of the Missing list over 5000 names. “They crossed the ocean to fight for freedom, and sacrificed their lives”
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Memorial Airman at the Cambridge American Cemetery