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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Doyle

Birthplace: Georgetown, SC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: Georgetown, SC
Middle Name: Ambrose

Date of Birth: 24 November 1924

Date of Death: 28 April 1945

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942 - 1945
Joseph Ambrose Doyle, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joseph Ambrose Doyle, Jr.
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces

Joseph Ambrose Doyle, Jr. was born on 24 November 1924 in Georgetown, SC, the son of Joseph Ambrose and Ruth Hazard Doyle. He graduated from Winyah High School where he was a star athlete. He attended The Citadel for one semester and then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on 7 December 1942.

In December 1944, Second Lieutenant Joseph Doyle, Jr. was serving as a pilot with the 757th Bomb Squadron, 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 304th Bombardment Wing, 15th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces, based at Giulia Airfield, Italy. The 459th Bombardment Group flew B-24 Liberator bombers on missions in Italy, France, the Balkans, Austria and Germany.

On 20 December, 2LT Doyle was the pilot of B-24J Liberator bomber Serial Number 42-51837 that was on a mission to bomb a target at Linz, Austria. [Missing Air Crew Record (MACR) 10691.] The aircraft had a crew of 10.

MACR 10691 says the aircraft was forced down by engine failure at 1538 hours over the Gulf of Manfredonia on 20 December.

The following statement came from 2LT Joseph A. Doyle, Jr., the pilot of the aircraft:

I was the pilot of U.S. Army Aircraft, type B-24-J, Number 42-51837, on a heavy bombardment mission over Linz, Austria on 20 December 1944. As we went in on the I.P. we lost the No.1 supercharger and as we went into the bomb run the No. 3 prop ran away. We were unable to hold it back so we feathered No.3, We couldn’t stay with the formation so we followed them in on the bomb run and bombed from approximately 16,000 feet.

As we started home we took the amplifier out of No.3 and put it in the No.1, which fixed the No. 1 supercharger. We un-feathered No.3 and tried to bring the prop back under control but it wouldn’t work so we re-feathered it. We came back setting a course for Vis, Yugoslavia but when we hit the coast of the Adriatic we still had ample gasoline left and only one engine out so we altered course for Base. We started descent through overcast somewhere between 30 & 40 miles off the Coast. As we started through the overcast I called Big Fence for a heading back to base. Just after I called we lost the No.1 supercharger and we were unable to fix it. I then sent the crew to ditching positions as a precautionary measure, with the exception of the Navigator. I then called Coffee Tower for a straight-in approach to base. Then the No. 2 prop ran away and try as we did we were unable to bring it back of feather it. In the meantime the oil pressure in No. 1 went to nill so I attempted to feather No. 1 but it also refused to feather. The hydraulic pump was on and the Star valve open so we tried to put down the flaps, but they wouldn’t work. We were losing altitude too rapidly then to pump down the flaps.

I saw the Spur* coming up through a small hole in the overcast and right after I saw that we ran into a rain squall. Then through another small hole I saw the Spur directly below us. I ordered the crew to bail out and transmitted to Big Fence telling them to take a fix on me as I was bailing out over the Spur. I then left the controls to bail out. I followed the Navigator, Radio Operator, and Co-pilot out of the bomb bay as about a thousand feet. The five men in the waist must have gone in with the ship. According to a report from CPL Le Ham, he heard the order to bail out and opened the camera hatch and started to bail out. Someone stopped him and told him that we were ditching. The order to ditch never came from me. CPL Le Ham does not know who it was that stopped him from jumping or how many others were there with him in the waist. [On the ‘boot’ shape of Italy, the Gulf of Manfredonia is located at the ‘spur’ position.]

I came to that night at about 2000 hours in an Italian fishing boat. CPL La Ham was in the boat with me, as was the body of CPL Bristow.

Seven of the crewmembers are listed as Missing in Action or Buried at Sea and Armorer / Gunner CPL Leroy M. Bristow was Killed in Action when he parachuted from the plane (his body was recovered). The remaining two men, Pilot 2LT Joseph A. Doyle, Jr. and Waist Gunner CPL Stanislaus Z. La Ham, sustained a Light Injury in Action (LIA) and were Returned to Duty (RTD).

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Air Medal with Award Numeral 4
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army Air Forces Pilot Badge

B-24J Liberator bomber Serial Number 42-51837 had the following crew members on 20 December 1944.

● Pilot: 2LT Joseph A. Doyle, Jr. [Honoree Record ID 201576] LIA* / RTD
● Co-Pilot: 2LT Charles A. Donnelly, Jr. [Honoree Record ID 308732] MIA
● Navigator: 2LT Raymond J. Edwards [Honoree Record ID 201746] MIA
● Bombardier: 2LT Bennett J. Mackey [Honoree Record ID 76186] MIA
● Engineer: CPL George Popovich [Honoree Record ID 77166] MIA
● Radio Operator: CPL Lester J. Stapleton [Honoree Record ID 208050] MIA
● Waist Gunner: CPL Matthew A. Laderman [Honoree Record ID 308733] MIA
● Waist Gunner: CPL Stanislaus Z. La Ham [Honoree Record ID 308734] LIA / RTD
● Armorer Gunner: CPL Leroy M. Bristow [Honoree Record ID 308735] KIA
● Tail Turret Gunner: CPL Francis H. Crown, Jr. [Honoree Record ID 201044] MIA

In 1945, Doyle was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.

At approximately 1100 hours on 28 April 1945, 1LT Doyle was one of 16 passengers and crew on B-24 Serial Number 41-28898 enroute to Rome, Italy for R&R. During bad weather, the aircraft crashed into a mountain in the vicinity of Cervinara, Italy and there were no survivors. The remains of all sixteen men were recovered and buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Provincia di Roma, Lazio, Italy.

Burial and Memorialization

First Lieutenant Joseph Ambrose Doyle, Jr. is buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Provincia di Roma, Lazio, Italy, in Section C, Row 1, Plot 42.

He is memorialized with a cenotaph at Prince George Winyah Cemetery in Georgetown, Georgetown County, South Carolina.

[The information in this biography was derived primarily from various sections of the 459th Bombardment Group website at http://www.459bg.org/ and permission was granted for its use.]

Honoree ID: 201576   Created by: MHOH




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