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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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USAAF Crest
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

Serial: 42-29302

Code:

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 air field 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.

Burial details:

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.

MB - 28.08.2016

Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 28 August 2016, 18:01