Technical SergeantPurple Heart Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters
Taffy J. Williams

June 20, 1924 - March 24, 1945

Concord, North Carolina - Wesel, Germany

 

 


Taffy Williams was born on June 20, 1924 in Concorde, North Carolina. His parents were James and Rosa Williams.

He joined the U.S.A.A.F. on 30 March 1943. He became a Radio operator  in late 1944. He was sent overseas and was assigned to the crew of Lt. Otis A. Loose, 564th Bomb Squadron, 389th Bomb Group, which operated out of Hethel.

His crew crew consisted of:

Pilot 2nd Lt Otis A. Loose
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Harry Mosher
Navigator 2nd Lt Francis R. Bannick
Bombardier 2nd Lt John Clark
Turret Gunner Cpl. Martin J. Kaufmann
Nose Gunner Cpl Gerald Crotty
Engineer S/SGT Clifford Brace
Tail Gunner Cpl. Jack Snider
Ball Gunner Cpl Richard Sheraski
Radio Operator Cpl. Taffy J. Williams




564th Bomb Squadron

389th Bomb Group
 


Standing Left to Right: Pilot 2nd Lt Otis A. Loose, Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Harry Mosher, Navigator 2nd Lt Francis R. Bannick, Bombardier 2nd Lt John Clark. Kneeling Left to Right: Turret Gunner Cpl. Martin J. Kaufmann, Nose Gunner Cpl Gerald Crotty, Engineer S/SGT Clifford Brace, Tail Gunner Cpl. Jack Snider, Ball Gunner Cpl Richard Sheraski, Radio Operator Cpl. Taffy J. Williams (picture courtesy of Taffy J. Williams)

When he was sent over to England, Taffy held the rank of Corporal. He was promoted to Sgt on November 17, 1944.

The crew started flying missions on November 29, 1944. The target was the German town of Altenbeken. After that the crew flew on the following missions:

November 29 Altenbeken
December 2 Bingen
December 6 Minden
December 12 Hanau
December 19 Ehrang

After this mission, on December 26, Taffy's promotion to S/Sgt came through. the missions continued:

December 28 Hamberg
December 30 Euskirchen
January 1, 1945 Neuweid
January 2 Kablenz

on January 4, 1945 Taffy became a T/Sgt.

January 5 Neustadt
January 17 Hamburg 

After this mission the crew was awarded the  Air Medal for completing 11th mission. Lt. Otis Loose was promoted to 1st Lt.

February 16 Rheine
February 21 Nuremberg
February 22 Sangerhausen
February 26 Berlin
February 27 Halle
March 1 Magdeburg
March 3 Magdeburg
March 8 Siegen
March 17 Munster

At this point, Otis Loose (pilot) and Francis Bannick (navigator) left the crew to make up a Lead crew. Lead crews were experienced members of the Squadron that were to fly the lead plane and lead the bomber units to their targets and back. 2Lt Theodore F. Bartlele, from Kansas and Lt Trenton E. Gard from Houston, Texas, were also replacements on this crew for the mission. Lt Clark and S/Sgt Brace weren't on the crew either. Brace was substituted by T/Sgt John Jollimore.

On March 24, 1945 the Allies launched Operation Varsity, the attack across the Rhine river. The assault was started by the 17th US Airborne division which was dropped east of the Rhine river near the German city of Wesel. Shortly after the infantry divisions would cross the river by boats.

The mission of the 389th Bomb Group was a re-supply mission for the troops crossing the Rhine. Planes flew at very low level, sometimes as low as 100ft. Lt. Mosher had been assigned to the “Old Veteran” to replace Lt Loose. The crew were to fly B-24H 42-95240 "Old Veteran".


The "Old Veteran" gets another credit painted on her nose. The plane survived over 100
combat mission with the 389th Bomb Group and was shot down on 24 March 1945.
(Picture courtesy of Mr. Taffy Williams)


The "Old Veteran" crew tried Lt. Bannick to fly with them to get another mission in. Bannick could not get permission from the CO and did not fly that day.

Lt. Leesburg flew also on the Varsity Mission and was in formation along side of the Mosher crew. He joked with Mosher asking him "do you think you can get us there and back".

The "old Veteran" was hit by small arms fire, just as it left the drop zone. Witnesses saw the plane make a nose dive and crash into the ground. Lt. Leesman saw the ‘Old Veteran’ get hit by small arms fire and stated to the formation “Mosher is hit, Mosher is hit”. He said the plane nosed down just on the other side of the Rhine and went down. The whole crew died in the crash. All are buried at Margraten, except Lt Gard (in Texas), Lt Bartele (in Kansas) and Sgt Kaufmann (in New York)

T/Sgt Taffy J. Williams is buried at Margraten American Military Cemetery, Plot D Row 1 Grave 25. The date on his grave marker mistakenly states his date of death as March 25.




Margraten, The Netherlands

See also:
2Lt Harry Mosher
2Lt Trenton Gard
2Lt Theodore Bartele
S/Sgt Martin J. Kaufmann
S/Sgt Gerrald Crotty
T/SGT John C. Jollimore
S/Sgt Jack Snider
S/Sgt Richard Sheraski

Sources and Acknowledgments:
- Mr Taffy J. Williams, nephew of Taffy Williams. The material on this page is the result of his efforts to research the wartime career of Taffy Williams and his crew. He graciously allowed me to use all his material for this tribute.
- Mrs. Kelsey McMillan, Historian 389th Bomb Group Association
- 389th BG E-mail ring


Directions to Margraten American Military Cemetery


If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.

 

Home | Search | Research | About