SECOND LIEUTENANT WARREN STAFFORD JR. was born in 1920 to Warren and Emma Stafford of Berlin NJ, His grandfather, Elmer Stafford, had been a bank president, and his father worked in the courthouse, first as a clerk, and later as a real estate agent. By 1930 the family was living on the White Horse Pike. Warren Stafford Jr. was a 1937 graduate of Haddon Heights (NJ) High School. He later attended the Pierce School in Philadelphia and the College of South Jersey Law School in Camden. He worked for the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden NJ before enlisting into the Army Air Force.
Warren Stafford Jr. was in his third year of college when he volunteered for service in January of 1942. He was rejected for being underweight by the Navy and the Coast Guard, but finally was accepted by the Air Forces as an Aviation Cadet. He enlisted in the United States Army at Nashville TN on October 27, 1942. He reported for active service at Trenton NJ, and later was stationed at Nashville TN, and Santa Ana CA, for pre-flight training, at Deming NM for bombardier training, Carlsbad NM for navigation, Coyote TX, Dalhart TX, and Kearney NE for crew training. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on July 10, 1943 at Deming NM. Before going overseas, he was home on leave in October, 1943, he had also been home on furlough in December of 1942.
Warren Stafford Jr. left Kearny Army Air Field, Kearny NE on December 16, 1943 by air for England by way of Newfoundland. With his crew he was assigned as a replacement to 358th Bomber Squadron (Heavy), 303rd Bomber Group, nicknamed “Hell’s Angels” of the 8th Air Force, stationed at Molesworth, near Kettering, England.
On February 3rd, 1944 the 303rd Bomber Group marked its second year of service. Warren Stafford Jr. wrote a letter home before taking off on a mission. According to reports on that date, 600 bombers and accompanying fighters left on a mission to bomb the U-Boats and Naval Base at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. His entire B-17 Flying Fortress crew of ten men were reported missing in action over Germany on February 3rd, while returning from a successful mission to Wilhelmshaven. He was entitled to wear the American Defense Medal and European Theater Ribbons, and was awarded posthumously the Purple Heart.
Warren Stafford Jr. was survived by his parents, of 333 Main Street, Berlin NJ. His father was the chairman of Berlin Draft Board No, 6 at the time of his son's death.
Warren Stafford Jr. was one of six members of Haddon Heights High School's class of 1937 to lose their lives while serving in the United States armed forces during World War II, the others being William C. Tait, Edgar S. Crouthamel, William Raws, Oscar Kline, and Oliver F. Starr Jr.. Another member of the Class of 1939, Carlton R. Rouh, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Warren Stafford Jr. and his crew joined the 303rd Bomber Group on January 16, 1943. It is likely that that their first mission was the 303rd's 100th mission, on January 21, 1944. The group had lost 9 aircraft on January 11th, thus the need for replacement crews and aircraft. The first mission was uneventful, and no casualties were taken. One plane was lost on the 29th, and on the 30th all planes returned safely. On their fourth mission, the crew perished.
|100||Jan 21, 1944||Bois Coquerel, France|
|101||Jan 29, 1944||Frankfurt, Germany|
|102||Jan 30, 1944||Brunswick, Germany|
|103||Feb 03, 1944||Wilhelmshaven, Germany|
Missing Air Craft Report #2238 states that B-17 42-37927, not nicknamed, piloted by Gerald A. White, crashed into the sea on 03 February 1944 while returning from Wilhelmshaven, Germany. All ten crew members were declared killed in action.
Stafford's B-17 Crew.
BALL TURRET GUNNER
GERALD A. WHITE
2ND LIEUTENANT WALTER W. NEWSOM
2ND LIEUTENANT WARREN STAFFORD, JR.
2ND LIEUTENANT ERWIN A. KRUSE
STAFF SERGEANT LOUIS E. ZNIDESICH
STAFF SERGEANT SIDNEY L. BOTTOMLEY
SERGEANT RALPH SLATE
SERGEANT WALLACE E. BECKNELL
SERGEANT ALEXANDER J. QUINLAN
SERGEANT ROBERT E. McCOY
Second Lieutenant Stafford's father, Warren Stafford Sr. was later a trustee of the Camden County Historical Society. Beginning in 1954, he restored the family home, in which Warren Jr. spent his early years, and converted it into a museum.
|Camden Courier-Post - May 19, 1964|
Homestead in Berlin Becomes a Museum
Warren Stafford's interest in American· history is more than academic.
This resident of Berlin for more than 70 years has restored the home in which he was born as a remarkable museum.
Through a letter addressed to Joel Bodine dated "1802 March ye 16th" Stafford has established the age of tile house, located on the White Horse Pike, near Taunton Avenue, as being older than 162 years.
STAFFORD, who lives next to the 18th century house, says it was first a tavern and later a blacksmith shop.
The three-story frame house is no longer lived in, but Stafford has kept the place in livable condition since he decided to restore it in 1954. A central heating system augments the four original fireplaces on the first floor and single one on the second floor.
Antique furniture is found throughout the house, much of which belonged to Stafford's father, Elmer Ellsworth Stafford. His father was born on the first day of the Civil War and named for Elmer Ellsworth who was killed at the start of the war in Alexandria, Virginia.
HIS FATHER served as Berlin postmaster and his commission, signed in 1890 by Postmaster General John Wanamaker, still hangs in the house.
One of his ancestors, John Stafford Sr. of Haddonfield, served as bodyguard for George Washington and was wounded at the battle of Germantown.
On the first floor a visitor finds a colonial spinning wheel and several trophy cases containing historical memorabilia. An old table in the living room holds mementos of the Civil War, Stafford's forte.
* * *
STAFFORD, who is especially interested in Lincoln, has posters offering rewards for the capture of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin, and offering rides on the stage coach line that ran through Berlin.
Berlin residents have given him discharge papers issued to Berlin men who served in the Union Army. These he displays on the Civil War table.
minor repairs have been made the house since it was built, the original
construction has held up well. Oak wood pins, instea4 of nails, can be
seen holding together the rafters in the attic. The original New Jersey
Red Cedar floors are still in use on the second floor (the first floor
boards were replaced in Stafford's time.)
Stafford, who is a member and trustee of the Camden County Historical Society, welcomes visitors to the old house, but suggests they call before coming.
WARREN STAFFORD of Berlin has converted his home into a museum of American history. A Berlin resident for 70 years, he was born in the house which dates back to March 16, 1802. Stafford now resides in a house next to the museum.
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