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Aircraft 42-23638 was from the 14th Troop Carrier Squadron, 61st Troop Carrier Group flying out of the Barkston Heath Airfield in eastern England.  The aircraft was Chalk 31 out of the 36 planes in Serial Number 24. 

It was an uneventful flight until passing over the Guernsey Islands where the aircraft was hit by flack.  They came under ground fire from machine guns, wounding troopers Private Charles Stout.  First Lieutenant Walter Heisler describes what happened next “I unhooked to take a look at Stout, who in an earlier night exercise refused to jump.  I wanted to make sure that this wasn’t the case now.  After determining that he was indeed wounded Stout had to be unhooked due to the severity of his wounds” (Interview with Chris Heisler 2007 with Brian Siddall).  First Lieutenant Walter Heisler then led his 18 men out of the plane.

Just after the last paratrooper jumped their aircraft was fatally wounded by the 5th Battery of the 191st Artillery Regiment located in La Jardinière just to the west of St. Joseph.  The control panel was shot away by a light flak burst that also severely wounded the Radio Operator Staff Sergeant Orlo Montgomery. 

The Navigator Second Lieutenant John H. Hendry was standing between the two pilot’s seats with the Montgomery behind him when the aircraft was hit.  Here is Hendry’s account “I was standing between the pilot and co-pilot, who were at the controls, and Staff Sergeant Montgomery was standing directly behind me facing aft.  As he fell he turned and wrapped his arms around my legs.  I assumed he was seriously injured by the amount of blood loss.  He passed into unconsciousness very soon after.  His position in the plane when I left was in the aisle in the forward end of the ship.” 

There were six men left in this airplane included two wounded men, Private Stout and Staff Sergeant Montgomery.   The first men to bail out were Technical Sergeant Alvin F. Vezina the crew chief and the Co-pilot Second Lieutenant Stanley Edwards Jr.  The next man out was Lieutenant Hendry, once again he gives his account “The paratrooper was up and going after a chute at the time I bailed out.  Whether he made it or not, I don’t know.  He was directly behind the bulkhead when I last saw him.”  The last man out was Pilot First Lieutenant William E. Hitztaler.

The aircraft crashed just northwest of Rocheville, France with both men still aboard.  The crash occurred on Monsieur Lecoquierre’s land called Le Clos Neuf northeast of the village of Rocheville.  In the morning Monsieur’s Pigol and Lemarotel recovered two bodies from the wreckage and buried them together 50 meters from the crash site.  Later that same day Monsieur LeFillatre searched the crash site and recovered Lieutenant Hendry’s cap with his name and ID which he later turned over to the American authorities.

On 11 July 1944 The Provost Marshal 9th Army Air Force sent the effects or personal belongings to the Effects Section Master II & QM Depot.  These included a Wallet with snapshots, Soldier’s Individual Pay record Book and Part of the Flight Record or Aircraft Service Records.  The Provost Marshal at that time also gave the coordinates of where the two bodies were buried so they could be moved to an American Cemetery. 

This information was given to The Graves Registration Section at Master QM.  The Graves Registration Section at Master QM then gave the coordinates to the 603rd QM Graves Registration Company.  The three pieces of Personal Effects should have been sent to the 603rd Graves Registration Company as well, this was not done.  The 603rd Graves Registration Company was using Quartermaster Truck Companies to pick up bodies at isolated graves in Normandy.  Staff Sergeant Montgomery and Private Stout’s remains were recovered at the crash site.

The errors began with both Staff Sergeant Montgomery and Private Stout. Both men came into the 603rd QM Graves Registration Company at Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 with no Personal Effects.  On 12 July 1944 neither of the two men was identified and they were buried together as one person X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-40, Plot P-09-163.  There were two bodies and two isolated graves, yet only one X-File burial. 

The two Frenchmen who buried Staff Sergeant Montgomery and Private Stout told The Provost Marshal that there were two men buried under the tree 50 meters from the plane crash.  The Provost Marshal passed the coordinates to The Graves Registration Section at Master QM.  The Graves Registration Section at Master QM had also received three pieces of property as well attributed to Private Stout, yet that too did not show up on the Graves Registration Form #1 in 12 July 1944 for X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-40. 

The wallet with snapshots, Soldier’s Individual Pay record Book and Part of the Flight Record or Aircraft Service Records could have helped to identify Staff Sergeant Montgomery and Private Stout.  The Graves Registration Section at Master QM did pass along the coordinates of burial, but either The Graves Registration Section at Master QM or the Quartermaster Truck Companies did not pass along the key piece of information that two bodies were brought in.

The wallet, Soldier’s Pay record and Flight Record might have identified either one of the two or they might have belonged to other men on the airplane.  Those three pieces of information were set ahead to Private Stout’s father Mr. Carl M. Stout in December of 1944.  Someone at The Graves Registration Section at Master QM had found Private Stout’s name in one of those three items and sent the lot to his family.  Yet Stout was not identified until 2 August 1946.  Private Stout was identified by his Shoe Size 12D and Laundry Mark S-1425 from his Army Serial Number. 

The Army Air Force was trying to identify Staff Sergeant Montgomery in 1945.  3059th QM Graves Registration Company Confidential stated that it was Private Stout not Staff Sergeant Montgomery due to shoe size and Laundry Markings, this 25 April 1945.  Why the Quartermaster Corps did not officially identify Private Stouts body until 2 August 1946 and set his father (Mr. Carl M. Stout) a WD AGO Form 0105-1 stating said fact is a mystery.

Private Stout was buried at the St. Laurent Sur Mer Plot B Row 7 Grave 19 15 April 1948.  27 April 1948 Private Stout was disinterred and moved to St. Laurent Sur Mer when a Mass Burial was found. QMC Form 1194A Disinterment Discrepancy Report was then filed. 

Report of Proceedings of A Board of Officers was done 4 October 1948.  Using that Report on 28 October 1948 see attached Narrative shows that Staff Sergeant Chevrons were found in burial with Private Stout along with pieces of second set of legs that show legs shorter that Private Stout (6’4”), while Staff Sergeant Montgomery was 5’10” (see AGRC Form No. 11).  17089122 OQMG Form 371 for Staff Sergeant Montgomery and 15114250 OQMG Form 371 for Private Stout were used for Identification of the Remains.  These shorter leg bones were reburied as X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-153 buried on 6 January 1949 Plot Y-1-19.  X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-153 was moved from Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 to St. Laurent Sur Mer Plot A-3-18, 15 October 1949. 

10 January 1950 shows Narrative of Investigation by H.A. Schaefer DA Civilian Investigator Recommended based on Findings that X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-153 be re-designated 

Staff Sergeant Orlo A. Montgomery.  Please read Narrative of Investigation.

In February 1950 Form 293.9 (IB) Non-Recoverable Board, AGRS states that in the Synopsis the Investigator is mentioned and that Captain C.W. Steinsiek QMC ignored H.A. Schaefer DA Civilian Investigator Recommendation and had Staff Sergeant Montgomery as non-recoverable.  Even though it was in fact found with his Chevron and lower part of his body 11 July 1944 and in Reports AGRC Form No. 11 and Identification of The Remains. 

Only three of the five Officers signed of on the Report of Proceedings of A Board of Officers 17 February 1950.  20 March 1950 OQMG Form 1916 the last sentence are read wrong from the February 1950 Form, 293.9 (IB).  The last sentence reads:  Investigation of the file of X-153, and of the file of Pvt Stout, corroborates the Field Board Findings in that the lack of conclusive evidence and the small quantity of remains lead to the approval of the surplus remains.  This is written based on the either a tired or inept Report of Proceedings on 17 February 1950. 

The 14 April 1950 letter to Mrs. Montgomery QMGMF Form 293 is based on the same faulty Report of Proceedings on 17 February 1950.  The final insult is OQMG Form 28 February 1951 Memorialization Non- Recoverable Remains of World War II.

How is it that two Frenchmen on 6 June 1944 who buried the bodies and The Provost Marshal 9th Army Air Force on 11 July 1944 and H.A. Schaefer DA Civilian Investigator on 10 January 1950 were all in agreement, yet three of the five Officers signed of on the Report of Proceedings of A Board Of Officers 17 February 1950 were wrong? 

X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-153 now buried at St. Laurent Sur Mer Plot A-3-18 should be re-designated Staff Sergeant Orlo A. Montgomery who was Killed 6 June 1944.  A DNA does not even need to be done in this case, the evidence is to strong.  The Family should also be allowed to bring Staff Sergeant Montgomery home if his family so desires.  It seems that the Report of Proceedings of A Board Of Officers 17 February 1950 were more worried that St. Laurent Sur Mer Cemetery would have uneven Rows at the new Cemetery.

This Narrative about Staff Sergeant Orlo A. Montgomery and X-File Ste. Mère-Eglise No. 2 X-153 were finished on 6 November 2012.  All support documents are attached to this email and to the United States Post Office.  All links in blue denote the ability to right click and read said documents. 


Brian Siddall

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