61 – Armand R. Richard age 20 (August 6, 1923 – November 5, 1943)
Sgt. Armand R. Richard.
August 6, 1923 – November 5, 1943
Armand R. Richard was born in Providenge in Rode Island. His father was James K. (died April 7, 1939) and his mother’s name was Lillian. He also had a brother Peter. In 1935 he left primary school and attended high school which he completed in 1939. He went to work as a prospective salesman in a furniture store. He lived at 172 Magill street Pawtucket park Rode Island. In early 1942 he enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAAF) and took various training courses. At the end of 1942 he went to England where he was assigned to the 8th bomber command, 535 bomber squadron, 381 bomber group (heavy). He was assigned as center gunner in a B 17F Flying Fortres. On November 5, 1943, the crew of the B17 with registration number 42-30652 named “Blowing Bessie”, where sgt. Richard was ordered to launch an attack on the city of Gelsenkirchen in Germany with another 721 bombers. After the briefing, the aircraft took off from the base towards Germany. They arrived at the goal via the North Sea and the middle of Germany. They dropped their bombs but were hit by heavy anti-aircraft guns. The left engine got hit and was unusable. The pilot was hit in the leg and the co-pilot took over the lead. The aircraft went back to base but lost more and more altitude. It could also no longer follow the formation and hit alone. Near Breda it was attacked by a German fighter plane and caught fire from the center to the tailpiece. As the plane could no longer be saved, the co-pilot ordered the crew to jump out of the plane. Four of the ten crew members succeeded, but Armand Richard, among others, was unable to do so and was still on the plane when it landed in the Dutch countryside near Strijen Sas. To date his body has not been found and his name is mentioned on the “Wall of Missing” which is at the entrance of the American cemetery in Margraten in Limburg.