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Highlighting the World Wars I & II Memorabilia Collection of Dave Sleeper

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Hamley, Raymond D.


Rank: Staff Sergeant
Serial Number: 20213665
Military Branch: 453rd Bomb Sqd, 323rd Bomb Group
Origin: New York
Date of Death: 1944-5-20
Normandy American Cemetery
Featured: No

Raymond Daniel Hamley was born in Pennsylvania about 1918. His parents, John and Mary Louise moved to Union, New York, shortly thereafter as shown by census records. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 1, 1942 in Binghamton, NY. He was married to his wife Hazel at the time of his death.

SSGT Hamley served in the 453rd Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group as Engineer/Gunner in B-26 Marauders. That group moved from the States to England in mid-1943. They began operations in July attacking marshalling yards, air dromes, industrial plants, military installations, and other targets in France, Belgium and Holland. They carried out numerous attacks on V-weapon sites along the coast of France. They attacked airfields at Leeuwarden and Venlo in conjunction with the Allied campaign against the German air force and aircraft industry during Big Week, February 20-25, 1944. They helped to prepare for the invasion of Normady by bombing coastal defenses, marshalling yards, and airfields in France.

It was on one of the missions to France that Hamley's Marauder, Aircraft No. 41-31950, piloted by Major William Heather, was hit by flak over the  target. They headed for England, but because the damage was so great, they turned back toward France. A few miles off the coast, the plane was seen to lose altitude and crash into the English Channel in the Dieppe Port area in France. The crash occured between 7 and 8 PM local time. There were searches made, but no survivors were found. Seven men died in the crash, and were never rcovered. This is detailed in MACR 4966, which is part of the group. Hamley's IDPF is also part of the group, plus copies of his DFC and Air Medal GO's and internet research.

This group consists of SSGT's officially engraved posthumous Purple Heart with its prsentation box, solid brooch Air medal, slot brooch Distinguished Flying Cross and ribbon bar. plus the paperwork mentioned above. Hamley was awarded 6 Air Medals, with the last one for his last flight. Also included below is a high school picture of Hamley found on the internet. Rounding out the group is SSGT Hamley's burial flag.

His DFC was awarded November 24, 1943 by Ninth Air Force Bomber Command General Order No. 59 as follows: "Raymond D. Hamley, 20213665, S/Sgt., 453rd Bombardment Squadron (M). For extraordinary achivement with participation in aerial flight while serving as an engineer-gunner on a B-26 airplane on 25 combat bombardment missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe. Displaying keen professional skill, Sgt. Hamley was an integral part of the successful completion of these missions. His undaunted bravery and imperturbable coolness under the most trying circumstances reflect credit on himself and the Military Forces of the United States."

 I wonder how many missions he was on in total?