(The information regarding Lt. Crupi has been provided courtesy of Mr. Don Olds, historian for the 453rd Bomb Group.)

2nd Lt. Vincent N. Crupi was a Bombardier of the crew piloted by 1st Lt. Jay Wells, aboard B-24H #42-64453, of the 453rd Bomb Group/735th Bomb Squadron. The ship was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire while on a mission to Brunswick, Germany, on 8 April 1944. Three parachutes were seen escaping the plane. Two have never been accounted for.

Six of the crew members perished as a result of the ensuing crash. Only S/Sgt. Ralph E. Fordyce (TT) survived, and was taken prisoner by Germans forces to Stalag XVII-B. He survived and was later returned to the United States.

Of the nine who perished, two – 2nd Lt. Frederick K. Sanford (N) and S/Sgt. Salvatore E. Cozza (TG) – were never found. They are commemorated on the Walls of the Missing in The Netherlands.

Seven of the men were buried together in a common grave in the civilian cemetery of Henningen, Germany.

On 6 December 1946, an American Graves Registration Unit disinterred the remains in order to deliver them to the American Military Cemetery in Belgium.

Upon disinterment, the Graves Registration Unit was able to identify the remains of only Lt. Crupi. They did so by examining the remains of his electrically heated flight suit and finding them marked “V.N. Crupi”; along with a leather name plate from either his helmet or leather jacket marked “V.N. Crupi” in gold letters. Also found was the 2nd Lt. Bar on his shirt, and undergarments marked “8510”, which corresponded with his ASN #0-688510. Dental charts were also used to assist proper identification.

Unfortunately, the condition of the additional remains found in the grave did not render themselves well to identification of the other crew members:

Pilot: Jay Wells
Co-Pilot: James R. Jones
R.O.M.: Allen D. Borden
Ball Turret: Raymond L. Cay, Jr.
Top Turret: Ralph E. Fordyce
Right Waist: Robert F. Salihar
Left Waist: Lawrence E. Watts

Following the investigation by Graves Registration, the men were given a proper burial at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz in Liège, Belgium, on 18 February 1947.

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