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Remembering World War II
Name: Elmer Bird Havener Rank: Second Lieutenant Service Number: O-556585 Service: 394th Fighter Squadron, 367th Fighter Group United States Army Air Force Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart Date of Birth: December 1, 1922 Place of Birth: Rockland, Maine Place of Enlistment: Maine Address at Enlistment: Maine Marital Status: Married Next of Kin: Gladys Frances Harding (Wife) Date of Death: April 24, 1945 Age: 22 Cemetery: Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint-Avold, France Grave: Section B, Row 15, Grave 57 Elmer Bird Havener was the son of Pierre Lorillard Havener (1890-1953) and Mildred May (Foster) Havener (1891-1960). His father was born in Rockland, Maine and his mother was born White Rock near Wolfville in Kings Co., Nova Scotia. He had three sisters – Mary Elizabeth (1920- 1997), Bernice Evelyn (born 1925) and Dorothy Mildred (1924-2019). Elmer also had three half-siblings from his father’s first marriage to Eva Arlene Jones (1891-1918) – Pierre Lorillard Jr. (1914–1992), Charles Edwin Havener (1916–1998), and Arlene Virginia Havener (1917–2004). His brother Pierre enlisted in the US Army April 7, 1942 (Service No. 31099157). In 1940, Elmer had completed his second year of high school and was working as a delivery boy. Just before he was married, Elmer was living in Washington, DC, prior to the war. He married Gladys Frances Harding (1925-2011) at the Zion United Baptist Church in Hebron, Yarmouth Co., NS, on October 13, 1944. Gladys was working in the civil service as a stenographer. Her parents were Ernest Harding and Jessie (Burton) Harding; both of Yarmouth Co., NS. Elmer served as a Second Lieutenant, and as the pilot on aircraft P-47D-30 aircraft Serial No. #44-33119, of the 394th Fighter Squadron, 367th Fighter Group, in the US Army Air Force. Upon arrival in England, the squadron was equipped with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. It entered combat in early May 1944 and flew missions while based in England until July, when it moved to Normandy. In August, the squadron was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its attacks on Luftwaffe airfields near Laon, in the Aisne department of Hauts-de-France, in northern France. The squadron converted to Republic P-47 Thunderbolts in January 1945 and, with the new fighter, earned a second Distinguished Unit Citation for an attack on the headquarters of the Wehrmacht High Command of the West in March. The Belgian government also awarded the squadron the Belgian Fourragere (award created in 1940 to honor military formations that distinguished themselves in WWII) for its support of operations in Belgium. Elmer took off from Eschborn, Germany (where the Squadron had been based since April 10, 1945, on the northwest side of Frankfurt), on a close support mission over Kelheim, Germany. Elmer, along with others, hit the target on their bombing run. Elmer was hit by ground anti-aircraft fire, and was seen by others in the air group crashing near the target. Second Lieutenant Elmer Bird Havener was initially interred at the Saint Avold Cemetery in Metz, France (designated as temporary cemetery 3574 by the US Army Grave Registration Service) in Section DD, Row 4, Grave 91, and reinterred with grave consolidation at the St Avold. Saint James Permanent Cemetery (cemetery 3503) in Saint-Avold / Saint James, France – now known as the Lorraine American Cemetery. The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of American military dead of WWII in Europe, a total of 10 481. Their headstones are arranged in 9 plots in a generally elliptical design extending over the beautiful rolling terrain of eastern Lorraine and culminating in a prominent overlook feature.
Elmer Bird Havener
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