In Honored Glory!

AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
World War II Honor Roll

Benjamin Kaplan

Staff Sergeant, 
U.S. Army Air Force

15018448

410th Bomber Squadron, 
94th Bomber Group, Heavy

Entered the Service from: Ohio
Died: June 13, 1943
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

STAFF SERGEANT BENJAMIN KAPLAN and his twin sister Jennie were born in May of 1913 in New Jersey to Jewish immigrant parents, Joseph and Rebecca Kaplan, the fifth and sixth children born to them, after four boys previously. Sadly, Jennie Kaplan was killed in a fire only four weeks after the twins were born. By 1920, Joseph Kaplan had remarried. His second wife was also named Jennie, and it appears that they met and wed in Camden. 

The Kaplan Family
less
Ben & Jennie

Click on Image to Enlarge

At the time of the 1930 Census the family lived at 1111 Baring Street, between Kaighn Avenue and Sycamore Street, just east of Broadway, in Camden NJ. The elder Kaplan worked as a laborer in a machine shop. Benjamin had left school after his junior year of high school to work as a salesman for a watchmaker, and Jennie was working as a painter in a leather works. The Kaplan family tree shows that he was related to the Denbo and Greenetz families, both prominent in Camden's business community. The Greenetz & Greenetz jewelry store was located on Broadway, two short blocks from his Baring Street home, it is likely that Benjamin Kaplan worked there.

During the 1930s Benjamin and Jennie Kaplan both went out into the world. Jennie Kaplan married Louis Edwards and move to Grant Street in North Camden, where her son Gene was born. Benjamin Kaplan moved to Tuscarawas County, Ohio to attend a school for watch repair. When the draft was instituted, Benjamin Kaplan chose not to wait, and enlisted in the United States Army on March 22, 1941 at Fort Hayes in Columbus OH. 

Benjamin Kaplan qualified for flight duty, and was trained as a waist gunner of a B-17 bomber crew, assigned to the 94th Bomb Group. 

The 94th Bomb Group of the U.S. Army Air Force was formed at McDill Field, FL, on January 28, 1942 under the command of Col. John G. (Dinty) Moore. It was moved to Davis Monthan Field, AZ, October 28 1942, where a cadre of men were first assigned. On November 1, 1942, the 94th moved to Biggs Field, El Paso, TX. Phase training was begun here in the B-17 Flying Fortresses.

On January 2, 1943 the 94th moved to Pueblo, CO, with a full complement of aircraft and crews for final phase training. The group was composed of the 331st, 332nd, 333rd, and 410th Bomb Squadrons. Overseas deployment was initiated in late March 1943 and completed in April. Ground support personal were transported by train and ship. The air echelon flew the B-17s to England.

Upon arrival in England, the 331st and 332nd squadrons were assigned to the 91st Bomb Group at Bassingbourn and the 333rd and 410th squadrons to the 306th Bomb Group at Thurleigh for combat indoctrination. They flew six combat missions under supervision of their hosts, the first on May 13 1983 to St. Omer, France. 

On May 25, 1943 the 94th moved to Earls Colne, its assigned base. But Rougham Field near Bury St Edmunds was better suited for B-17 operations, so on June 13, 1943 the 94th exchanged bases with a B-26 unit stationed there.

June 13, 1943 was a fateful day for the 94th, as seven planes were lost that day on a mission to bomb Kiel, Germany. Benjamin Kaplan was one of those lost that day. He was reported as missing in action, and his body was not recovered.   


Jennie & Benjamin Kaplan
about 1930

Sergeant Benjamin Kaplan

On Leave In Camden

Note from the enlarged and enhanced photo at the bottom right that Benjamin Kaplan had completed his flight training and had been promoted to Sergeant, but had not been elevated to Staff Sergeant when the picture was taken.

 


Staff Sergeant Benjamin Kaplan

with nephew
Gene Edwards
on
Howard Street
in
North Camden 


Gold Star
in the window,
&
Flags
over the doorway
at
926 Howard Street

August 1945

Twin sister
Jennie Kaplan Edwards
at
926 Howard Street

The Adjutant General's Office - June 14, 1944
Click on Image for Enlarged Higher Resolution View

Staff Sergeant Benjamin Kaplan is remembered by his nephew Gene Edwards.


Thanks to Jim Bessing for his help in creating this page.


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