70 – James L. Ryan age 22 (? – november 13, 1943)
2Lt. James L. Ryan jr.
? – 13 november 1943
Data from servicerecord:
Hometown: Los Angeles California
Family: James L. Ryan (Father) and Mrs. Iris Ryan (Wife) Hollywood, California
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Division – Transport: 2nd Air Division
Company – Squadron: 576th Bomber Squadron
Unit – Group: 392nd Bomber Group,( Heavy)
(Serialnumber, MACR, etc.) B-24H 42-7540 “”Crew Chief””
Target: Bremen Germany
That the Navigator, Lt. Ryan, was dead to the best of his knowledge. He noted that Lt. Ryan was last seen on the flight deck just after the ship was hit by flak, and then returned to the nose position to retrieve his parachute and that was the last he saw of the Navigator. He and the Co-Pilot did not try egress until they were assured all other crewmen had bailed out. Later, Pilot Harris was informed by the Germans when he was captured that one of the crews members had been killed and Lt. Ryan was unaccounted for by the other members. The men had been fired upon by small arms fire during their parachute descents and possibly Lt. Ryan had suffered fatal wounds. The Flight Engineer’s report was more specific from his interview about Lt. Ryan’s fate in that he stated that the Bombardier, Lt. Kerns, later noted that Lt. Ryan was last seen by him at the bomb bay doors ready to jump, but perhaps felt there was not enough altitude left to do so. This report went on to state that the German captors had informed them later that a crushed body had been found under the ship’s remains – and this casualty was Lt. Ryan. As a concluding and clarifying point, the Co-Pilot’s account, that of Lt. Kearns, noted that there was insufficient altitude for him and the Pilot, Lt. Harris, to bail out safely after the abandon ship order was given beginning around 8,000 feet. He also last saw Lt. Ryan, the Navigator, on the bomb bay catwalk with chute on and preparing to bail out. In view of the very low altitude by then, the Pilot and Co-Pilot settled back into their crew positions and successfully crash-landed the airplane. The Co-Pilot as well felt that Lt. Ryan may have been hit by small arms fire somehow in that the ship was under heavy enemy fire from around 3,000 feet down to 1,500 feet. The surviving crew was only free for a very few minutes before capture and were taken to the German guard house in Rotterdam before being transported by rail the next morning to Amsterdam where the captors confirmed Lt. Ryan’s death.
Photo Ryan (circled)
James L. Ryan is buried in the American Cemetery in Margraten Plot O, row 7 grave 17.