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World War II Honor Roll

William A. Knortz

Captain, U.S. Army Air Forces

02031889

Headquarters, US Air Force, Far East

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: September 11, 1943
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart


On 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 Knortz:

   Captain Wiliam A Knortz, 24 of 11 Friends Avenue, Haddonfield is with the Army Air Force in Manila. He graduated Haddonfield High School in 1937, and enlisted in 1939. He was sent to the Philippines in August, 1940, and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Knortz, and has a brother, Robert.


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.


Camden Courier-Post * December 24, 1941
Click on Image to EnlargeC

Camden Courier-Post * December 2, 1943


Camden Courier-Post * February 3, 1944


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