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William James Gray Jr


Lt William J Gray Jr, was on a dive bombing mission in Germany. On his way back to base after releasing his bomb load, he and his "Yellow" flight members were providing top cover at 7,000 feet for "Red" and "Blue" flights when an enemy truck was spotted on the road leading into the town of Lindau. He received permission from Yellow leader, Lt David E Harding, to pursue and strafe the truck. His first and second passes were ineffective - the truck wasn't burning. On his third pass he failed to pull up soon enough and caught a wing tip on the tree tops causing him to cartwheel into the ground and burned about 200 yards from the road.

In October 1948, American Graves Registration Command investigators located the crash site about 3 miles northwest of Lindau. They recovered four machine guns whose serial numbers matched those on Lt Gray's P-47. It wasn't until April 2016 that his remains were recovered which were embedded in the roots of a tree that had overgrown the crash site. In January 2017, the remains were confirmed to be Lt Gray's and he was repatriated with his family in Washington state.

Awards: DFC, AM (6OLC), PH.


Units served with

  • 9th Air Force
  • 366th Fighter Group

    366th Fighter Group

    The Group moved in England over the New Year of 1944, setting up home first at Membury and then at Thruxton. The pilots' first mission was a fighter sweep of the French coast in March 1944 and from then until D-Day that June the ground supported Allied...

  • 391st Fighter Squadron


Associated Place

  • Thruxton

    Military site : airfield
    Thruxton was developed for use by Army Co-Operation aircraft, before being upgraded to a bomber airfield. The 366th Fighter Group moved in in early 1944, flying missions in support of the build up to D-Day, before moving to the continent with other...

  • Handorf

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Seattle, WA, USA 27 October 1923

Son of William J Sr and Elizabeth [Cooper] Gray.

Enlisted Seattle, WA, USA 28 September 1942
Based Thruxton 1944 – 12 June 1944

Assigned to 391FS, 366FG, 9AF USAAF.

Commissioned United States March 1944

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant.

Remains recovered 88131 Lindau, Germany 16 April 1945 – 14 July 2017

Lt Grays remains were recovered from below a tree which had grown over the crash site.

Died 88131 Lindau, Germany 16 April 1945

While strafing a truck, his aircraft sustained damage and crashed, killing him upon impact. Lindau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. KIA. MACR 14462.

Buried 1946

Tablets of the missing
Netherlands American Cemetery

Buried 18600 SE 240th St, Kent, WA 98042, USA 14 July 2017

Tahoma National Cemetery
King County
Washington, USA


Date Contributor Update
13 October 2017 09:19:32 Lucy May Changes to events and place associations

MACR 14462 records point of departure as Y-94, or Münster-Handorf Airfield:

Date Contributor Update
18 July 2017 11:04:22 millebr Changes to biography

updated biography story

Date Contributor Update
17 July 2017 19:51:29 Al_Skiff Changes to events

Date Contributor Update
17 July 2017 19:50:52 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname and unit associations

Date Contributor Update
17 July 2017 19:45:59 Al_Skiff Changes to suffix, service number, biography, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
16 July 2017 14:56:42 millebr Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations and aircraft associations

American Battle Monuments Commission;;;; MACR 14462