Skip to main content
Edit entry 

James H Brantley

Military

Officially Killed In Action (KIA) but actually died in tragic accident while taxying, at start of B-26 bombing mission to France, on August 6 1944.

1st Lieutenant James H. Brantley was born on August 17, 1921. He was married to Ruth O. Brantley, and had a daughter, Mary Beth. His mother was Mrs. Jessie Wilkins. He was from Terrell, Texas.
His unit was the 387th Bomb Group (M), 556th BG (M). On August 6, 1944, while piloting his plane (B-26 tail #41-31677) for takeoff from Stony Cross, “a flare exploded and blinded him and burnt him. He jumped out of the airplane and the propeller is what killed him.” He was the only member of his crew to be injured.
He is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery.

Service

Units served with

  • 387th Bomb Group

    387th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 387th Bomb Group flew just under thirty missions with the Eighth Air Force before being transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943. The Group remained at Chipping Ongar, Essex after being reassigned and continued to hit targets in France....

  • 556th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Associated Place

  • Stoney Cross

    Military site : airfield
    Planned as a secret, emergency airfield, Stoney Cross was developed during 1942-43 as an advance base for both fighters and bombers. Occupied by the RAF from January 1943, before construction was complete, the station had eventually three concrete...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Terrell, TX, USA 17 August 1921

1st Lieutenant James H. Brantley was born on August 17, 1921. He was married to Ruth O. Brantley, and had a daughter, Mary Beth. His mother was Mrs. Jessie Wilkins. He was from Terrell, Texas.

Killed in Action (KIA) (?) 6 August 44

It was the first mission for pilot 1st. Lt. James H. Brantley; Lt. Loren Hinton, a veteran 556th combat pilot, was acting as instructor and copilot. Shortly after Lt. Brantley began his taxi roll the flight engineer attempted to load the plane's Very pistol, located overhead and directly behind the copilot's seat. While inserting the coded recognition flare cartridge into the Very pistol the flare accidentally discharged into the pilot's half of the cockpit. The fireball from the live flare ricocheted about wildly causing much confusion in the smoke-filled compartment. The flare's fireball came to rest on Lt. Brantley, causing sever burns to his leg. In his great anxiety to escape the ordeal, Lt. Brantley opened his overhead plexiglas hatch and exited the aircraft. The aircraft continued to taxi out of control, causing Brantley to slip from atop the plane into a rotating propeller, killing him instantly. Lt. Hinton cut the engine switches, but could not bring the rolling aircraft to a stop because the brake pedals were located on the pilot's left side position. The rest of the crew escaped the coasting B-26 by exiting via the bomb-bay and the waist gun windows and escaped with minor injuries. Jisther finally came to a stop after running into the front of a nearby squadron hangar. It was later salvaged for parts.

Died 6 August 1944

His unit was the 387th Bomb Group (M), 556th BG (M). On August 6, 1944, while piloting his plane (B-26 tail #41-31677) for takeoff from Stony Cross, “a flare exploded and blinded him and burnt him. He jumped out of the airplane and the propeller is what killed him.” He was the only member of his crew to be injured.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 February 2015 02:38:39 WW2 Researcher Bill Beigel Changes to biography, events and aircraft associations
Sources

IDPF and/or crash report researched by Bill Beigel. IDPF donated to American Air Museum by Bill Beigel. For more information about this flyer, you may contact http://ww2research.com.

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2015 05:31:31 Tanks Changes to events
Sources

http://asisbiz.com/il2/B-26-Marauder/1941031677.html

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2014 13:04:29 IWMPM Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, unit associations and place associations
Sources

ABMC http://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations/detail/WWII...

387th BG http://www.asisbiz.com/il2/B-26-Marauder/387BG-Chronology.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:26 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

9th Air Force Roll of Honor (IWM in liaison with Ninth Air Force veterans and group associations, American Battle Monuments Commission, and Buddies of the Ninth Association) / B-26 memorials guide

Share