Purple Heart
Air Medal

1st Lieutenant
Howard M. Worster

August 17, 1917 - May 12, 1944

North Liberty, Indiana - Lengenheim

Howard was born 17 August 1917 in North Liberty, St. Joseph County, Indiana, the son of Charles Sidney and Mable (Van Winkle) Worster. He grew up on his father's farm near there.  Notes from his mother's Bible indicates the following: Howard enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps in Buffalo, New York on May 4, 1942.  He was sworn in and left Buffalo on September 25, 1942 for Nashville, Tennessee. 

He married Janet Baker in Clovis, New Mexico on
12 July 1943 while in training.

Howard became a pilot, flying on B17 bombers. On March 19, 1944 as Howard was going overseas, he flew his B-17 over his brother, Derwin Worster's home in Olmsted Falls, Ohio and wagged his wings.

548th Bomb Squadron

385th Bomb Group

The Worster Family. In the back row (L>R) are Derwin Worster, Harry Worster and Howard Worster.  Directly in front of each is his wife. 2nd row (L>R): Jean, Helen, Janet, Mable and Charlie Worster (parents of Howard).  In front row are the children of Derwin & Jean--Kay, Dona, and Byron. (Picture courtesy of Mrs. Louise Worster)

Byron, his nephew,  remembers this very well. Howard's parents were there too.  Howard had gotten special permission from his squadron leader to do this.  He wrote a letter from Iceland April 6, 1944.  In England, Lt Worster's crew was to become part of the 548th Bomber Squadron, 385th Bomber Group, flying out of Great Ashfield, England. The Bomb Group had been there since March 1943 and were known as "Van's Valliants" after their Commanding Officer, Colonel Van Devanter. Lt. Worster and his crew flew their first mission on 20 April 44.

The crew of 2nd Lt. Howard M. Worster consisted of:

Lt. Howard M. Worster

Lt. Charles A. Manuel

Lt. Raymond N. Streben

Lt. Robert W. Pellman

T/Sgt. Robert C. Wagner

S/Sgt. Bernard M. Kelly

Sgt. Joseph A. Maltby

Sgt. Vernon C. Burke

Sgt. Samuel H. Riccie

Sgt. Melvin E. Click

Lt. Howard Worster (picture via Mr. Bill Varnedoe)

Lt. Worster's crew was reported missing in action on May 12, 1944. 28 aircraft of the 385th, led by Col. van Devanter himself, flew a mission to bomb Zwickau, Germany. Lt. Worster's crew took off in B-17 serial No. 42-31787. It was their 5th Mission. Sometime during the mission, a German fighter came in at 1 O'clock, level. The German was hit and went out of control, passed under one B-17, but collided with the B-17 of Lt. Worster. His B-17 caught fire and spun down with the tail falling off. It was the only loss of the 385th Bomb Broup that day.

Nine of ten of the crew were killed. The German Red Cross reported they were buried at Lengenheim, Germany. Navigator Robert Pellman became a PoW and survived the war. He passed away in 1995.

T/Sgt Robert Wagner and Sgt. Vernon C. Burke are buried in Margraten American Cemetery in The Netherlands. Sgt Melvin Click and S/Sgt Bernard Kelly are buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. The others were reinterred in the USA after the war.

1Lt Howard M. Worster is buried at Margraten American Military Cemetery, Plot N Row 9 Grave 5.

Margraten, The Netherlands

See Also:
T/Sgt Robert C. Wagner
Sgt. Vernon C. Burke

Mrs. Louise Worster
Mr. Bill Varnedoe, President 385th Bomb Group Association
Roger A. Freeman, The Mighty Eight War Diary, Arms and Armour, London, 1990

picture of 548 Bomb Squadron courtesy of Mr. Bill Varnedoe and 385th Bomb Group Assoc.
385th Bomb Group e-mailring

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.


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