In Honored Glory!
AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
World War II Honor Roll

Jerome Levy

Second Lieutenant,
U.S. Army Air Forces

O-703639

862nd Bomber Squadron, 
493rd Bomber Group, Heavy

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: June 29, 1944
Buried at: Plot A Row 21 Grave 17
Ardennes American Cemetery
Neupre, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

The photo above is the LITTLE WARRIOR (42-94812), caught by photographer Cliff Stocking at the moment its fuel tanks ignited. This photo has been published in many books and magazines.


SECOND LIEUTENANT JEROME LEVY was born in 1920 in New York to Simon and Sarah Levy. The family moved to New Jersey sometime before 1924, when younger brother Sydney Levy was born. Simon Levy was a carpenter who developed a building and construction business, the S. Levy Company, first out the family home and later at 320 Market Street in Camden NJ.  In 1930 the family lived at 1248 Magnolia Avenue in Camden NJ. One family nearby at 1234 Magnolia were the Auslanders. Their son Leonard Auslander was about the same age as Jerome Levy. They both would not come back from the war in Europe.

Jerome Levy graduated from Camden High School, and attended engineering school at Penn State University, and worked in his father's construction business before enlisting in the Army in December, 1942. Qualifying for duty in the Army Air Force, he was trained as a navigator, and was reported in the Camden Courier-Post to be at the San Marcos TX navigation school, in the October 1, 1943 edition. 

Jerome Levy was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December of 1943 after completing the course at San Marcos and the following April went over seas as a member of the 862nd Bomber Squadron, 493rd Bomber Group, Heavy. He was stationed at Station 152, Debach, Suffolk County, England. 

The 493rd was the last bomber group deployed to England. The first mission was flown on D-Day, June 6, 1944 to Liseaux, France. The 493rd Bomber group was equipped with B-24H Liberator heavy bombers. One of the B-24s was the LITTLE WARRIOR, serial number 42-94812. Built by Ford, this aircraft was brought to the United Kingdom by the 850th Bomber Squadron, 490th Bomb Group, before being transferred to the 493rd Bomb Group and renamed LITTLE WARRIOR.

On the 17th mission, an attack on the aero engine plant at Fallersleben, Germany, on Thursday, June 29th, 1944, Jerome Levy was aboard LITTLE WARRIOR. The Missing Air Crew Report (MACR 6721) reads as follows:

"Aircraft No. 812 flying in the Number 3 position in A group received a direct flak hit near No. 3 Engine at 0939 hours in the target area just after bombs away. it was enveloped in flames from the nose to the rear of the bomb bays. It fell out of formation and disintegrated at about 10, 000 feet."

Eight of the crew were found dead on the ground by German authorities that morning, a ninth body was found later. The co-pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Sidney A. Benson of Marblehead MA was captured. Lt. Benson was murdered by being beaten to death by German Air Raid Wardens shortly after he  surrendered that morning. He died late that night after having been thrown first into a garage across from the hospital then into the TB ward. It was only in his last few minutes of life that he received any type of medical care. His killers were later located, tried, and imprisoned. The tenth crewmember's body was discovered in a field, badly burned on July 11, 1944, and buried with the rest of the crew of LITTLE WARRIOR.

Jerome Levy had written his last letter home the day before. Lieutenant Levy was 24 years old when he gave his life for America. He was survived by his parents, and brother Sidney, who was also serving in the Army Air Force. His death was reported in the September 14, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post. 


493rd BOMB GROUP COMBAT MISSIONS
Flying B-24s, "Liberators"

Mission
Number

Target

Date
JUNE 1944

Flying Time

Target Type

1

Lisieux, France

06 (D-Day!)

6:35

 

2*

Tours, France

07

3:45

Airfield

3

Nantes, France

08

2:40

 

4

Flers, France

11

5:55

 

5*

Beauvais-Tille, France

12

6:05

Airfield

6

Laon-Athes, France

14

6:30

 

7*

Toussus-le-Noble, France

15

6:35

Airfield

8

Laval, France

17

7:10

 

9*

Misburg, Germany

20

7:15

Oil refinery

10

La Haye, France

20

5:10

 

11

Etampes-Mondesir, France

22

7:25

 

12

Coulommiers, France

23

6:35

 

13

Orleans-Bracy, France

24

6:00

 

14

St. Avold, France

25

7:05

 

15

Romilly-Sur-Seine, France

25

7:15

 

16

Melun, France

28

5:10

 

17

Fallersleben, Germany

29

7:20

  Aircraft Factory


The Crew of the LITTLE WARRIOR B-24 42-94812

Crew Position Name Rank Serial Number 
Pilot Hansen, John H.  2nd Lieutenant O-693976
Co-Pilot Benson, Sidney A.  2nd Lieutenant O-818558
Navigator Levy, Jerome 2nd Lieutenant O-703639
Bombardier Stich, Malcolm H. 2nd Lieutenant O-697746
Radio Operator* Gomillion, Billy B. Staff Sergeant 38424702
Engineer Polzin, Vernon J. Technical Sergeant 38367667
Ball Turret Gunner Aidala, Cyrus R. Staff Sergeant 32707915
Top Turret Gunner Boykowski, Walter A. Staff Sergeant 13171280
Nose Turret Gunner Haskell, Sylvanus G. Staff Sergeant 39297646
Flex Gunner Sanders, John E. Staff Sergeant 18191467

  *  -  Staff Sergeant Jose C. Romas 39277505 was the regular Radio Operator on this crew, 
he was sick so Gomillion flew in his place on this mission

The bodies of Lieutenants Hansen, Levy, Stich, and Sergeants Boykowski, Haskell, and Sanders were recovered by German authorities at the time of the crash. Lieutenant Benson survived the crash, but was badly beaten by German Air Raid Wardens, and died in hospital the following day. Those responsible for his injuries on the ground were found, tried for murder, convicted, and imprisoned after the war ended. A report dated July 1, 1944 stated that one crew member was killed, but his remains were unidentifiable, and one was taken prisoner. At that time one crew member apparently was unaccounted for, his body was located shortly thereafter. 


The Crew of LITTLE WARRIOR
Back Row


Jerome Levy
Sidney Benson
John Hansen
Malcolm Stich

*********

Front Row:

Cyrus Aidala
John Sanders
Walter Boykowski
Jose Romas
Sylvanus Haskell

Photo credit: Thelma Haskell via Brian Lindner.

The LITTLE WARRIOR - June 29, 1944

At 09:39 on 29 June 1944 at 20,000 over Wolfsburg, Germany.  The plane nicknamed Little Warrior had been struck by a single flak round a split second before the photo was taken.

This is the most widely published view of Little Warrior.  Stocking snapped this photo then watched in terror as the blazing bomber veered towards his own plane.  LT Hansen, whose face appears through the front cockpit window as a light area in the photo managed to avoid a collision before losing control.  In the original, black & white, glossy, photo, the copilot, LT Benson, can be seen looking out his side window and directly into the lens of the camera.

The flak round penetrated the fuel tanks and caused the rear of the plane to be flooded with high octane fumes which ignited almost instantly.  Note the glow of the fire already beginning to show through the open bomb bay doors.  The plane plummeted out of control until it broke up at 10,000.  Only LT Benson was able to get out and he was murdered by German Air Raid Wardens.

Photo credit: National Archives.

A Monument To The Crew Of LITTLE WARRIOR

Top Turret Gunner Sergeant Water A. Boykowski of Pittock (Stowe Township) PA, near Pittsburgh, was an only child. His parents donated the money to erect this monument in tribute of the entire crew of LITTLE WARRIOR, which stands outside an elementary school today.

Photo by Kenton E. McElhattan


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A Note of thanks to 
Brian Lindner, Bill Toombs, and Sean Casey for providing much information on the LITTLE WARRIOR


Sidney Levy