December 9th, 1941, The Camden Courier-Post, as part of a news story
informing the local readership about its men stationed in the Pacific at
the time of Pear Harbor, printed the following information about Captain
CAPTAIN WILLIAM A. KNORTZ JR. had lived in Haddonfield NJ with his parents and brother Robert. A graduate of Haddonfield High School, he starred in baseball and track, before enlisting in the Army on August 7, 1939 at Camden NJ. Qualifying for flight duty, he was a member of one of the first B-17 Flying Fortress squadrons to become operational.
In September of 1941, he was one of 75 American flight personnel who ferried a squadron of B-17s from Hawaii to the Philippine Islands. He was the squadron radio operator on this mission, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in the flight.
William Knortz had sent a postcard home which was received on December 5, 1941. It was the last communication his family received from him. On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Philippines wee attacked shortly thereafter.
Captain Knortz's bombers were destroyed at the outset of the fighting. He did not surrender to the Japanese when Corregidor fell in early 1942. He continued to fight the Japanese as a guerilla under the command of Lt. Colonel Ernest McLish, on the island of Mindanao.
Captain Knortz was killed in action fighting the Japanese on September 11, 1943, at the age of 25. His death was reported in the Camden Courier-Post on December 2, 1943. Funeral rites were held for him at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Haddonfield NJ on December 6, 1943.
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