68 – John D. Petrus age 27 (December 30, 1915 – November 11, 1943)
Sgt. J. D. Petrus.
December 30, 1915 – November 11, 1943
John D. Petrus was born in Slatington on December 30, 1915. His parents were John Lawrence Petrus and Sarah Margaret Mclaughlan. His wife was Enid Elizabeth Beahm, born in Ohio, and died November 11 (!!) 2000.
He was born in Slatington in the state of Pennsylvania U.S.A. His father was John Lawrense Petrus and his mother Sahra Margaret Mclaughlan. He also had two sisters Lucille (Daffner) and Alice (Prokop). In 1928 he left primary school and attended Slatington high school which he completed in 1933. He joined the American Oil Company in his hometown. In 1941 he married Emid Elisabeth Beahm and lived at 922 Turnet Street in Slagneton. He was home for the last time in July 1943. In October 143 his son David Allen was born, who has never seen his father. At the end of 1942 he enlisted in the American Air Force (AAF) and followed various training courses and in September 1943 he went to England where he was assigned to the 331 bomber squadron, 94 bomber group (heavy). He was assigned to a B17F Flying Fortress as a ball gunner, turret at the bottom of the aircraft.
On November 11, 1943, the crew of the B17 with registration number 42-39868 received sgt. Petrus was ordered to launch an attack on the city of Munster in Germany with 560 more American bombers. After the briefing, the plane took off from the R.A.F. base Bury Saint Edmund towards Germany. They arrived at the goal via the North Sea and the middle of Germany. They dropped their bombs and returned to home base. However, above the Hoeksche Waard the aircraft was attacked by three German fighter planes. The plane was hit and the left engine failed. Moments later, the entire plane was riddled. The pilot gave the order to abandon the plane, but it broke into two pieces and the front part was on fire. The pieces of the aircraft landed in the Molenpolder close to the old harbor in Numansdorp. Four crew members had left the aircraft, three of which were captured by the Germans. The fourth, Combs, came down in the Hollandsdiep and is still missing. The other six were unable to leave the plane in time and died. Likewise Sgt. John D. Petrus. He was buried on November 15, 1943 at the Crooswijk cemetery in Rotterdam and on August 17, 1945 transferred to the American war cemetery in Margraten Limburg. In 1949, at the request of both sisters, his body was transferred to the Old Fellow cemetery in the place Tamaqua U.S.A. His grave can still be visited there.