27.12.1944 No 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group P47D 42-29302 2nd Lt. Cravens
Operation: Dive bombing and Strafing
Date: 27th December 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group
Type: P47D Thunderbolt
Base: Grosseto Italy
Location: 5 miles South-West of Grosseto Airfield Italy
Pilot: 2nd Lt. James Albert Cravens 0-721985 USAAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
James Albert Cravens was born in Oklahoma on September 20, 1922. His mother, May, became a widow when James' father John died December 29, 1926, from injuries received in a gasoline plant explosion. At that time, John was 36 years old. John's wife, May, was 28 and as the 1930 census shows worked as a telephone operator to support the family.
James entered the service October 4, 1942. Cravens had at least 1 year of college when he entered the service. According to a letter from his mother in 1947, he was married shortly before his death, and his wife Marie remarried after his death.
Second Lt. James Cravens was a P-47 pilot in the 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, in the European theatre. He was killed when his plane "spun" into the ground shortly after mission takeoff from Grosseto airfield in Italy on December 27, 1944.
In the crash, Lt. Cravens was burned beyond recognition. His remains were interred in the military cemetery, Plot L, Row 123, grave 1465, at Follonica, Italy. At his mother's request, he was disinterred October 1, 1948 and his remains were sent back to Wagoner, Oklahoma for burial.
He was buried in the Park Grove Cemetery in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with his father.
2nd Lt. James Albert Cravens. Park Grove Cemetery, Oklahoma, USA. Plot: Section H, Block 21, Lot 2, Space 3. No next of kin details - are you able to assist?
Researcher - Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered, August 2016. Photographs from the Michel Beckers collection.