Brookline War Memorial
James D. Simpson

2nd Lt. James D. Simpson
United States Army Air Corps (1944-1945)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

James D. Simpson was born on May 25, 1920. His parents were Susannah and Thomas L. Simpson of 1200 Woodbourne Avenue. He had two younger brothers, Thomas and Joseph, and two younger sisters, Betty and Margaret. A graduate of South Hills High School, James had completed one year of college and was a sales clerk when he enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 25, 1943. After basic training he entered the Aviation Air Corps and earned his pilot's wings.

After advanced pilot training in Dover, Delaware and Millvale, New Jersey, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber, Lt. James D. Simpson was assigned to the 386th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group of the U.S. 9th Air Force, then stationed at Air Strip A84 in Chievres, near Mons, Belgium. He joined his unit as a replacement in November, 1944.

                 

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was often refered to as the "Mighty Jug," or the "Flying Milk Bottle." It was a big plane, three feet wider than the P-51 Mustang and four feet longer. At more than 10,000 pounds empty, it was about fifty percent heavier than the Mustang and nearly twice the weight of of the British Spitfire. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack role it could carry five-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 pounds.

The 365th Fighter Group, known as the "Hell Hawks," was activated on May 15, 1943 and assigned to fly P-47 Thunderbolts. They deployed as part of the 9th Air Force on December 23, and flew their first combat mission on February 22, 1944. The group gradually converted from escorting 8th Air Force B-17s to a fighter-bomber role.

386th Fighter Squadron    386th Fighter Squadron
Some photos of the 386th Fighter Squadron from November 1944.

As the Allied armies advanced through France and into Belgium, the 365th Fighter Squadron kept pace, moving from one Air Strip to another in a support role for the front line troops. The P-47s and their pilots moved into the Air Strip at Chievres on October 4, 1944.

At the time Lt. James Simpson arrived, the Allies were preparing for a thrust into Germany. The Germans had retreated beyond the Siegfried Line and were preparing for the defense of their homeland. They also had an offensive surprise in store for the Allies. As Lt. Simpson was settling in to his role with the 386th Fighter Squadron, in mid-December the enemy caught the Allies by surprise and launched their last major offensive in the west.

With the German panzer armies approaching, the squadron was forced to relocate south of the bulge. An Air Strip (Y34) near Metz in Alsace-Lorraine became their new base. From there Lt. Simpson flew his first combat support missions during the Battle of the Bulge. In January 1945, as the American's turned the tide and pushed back against the enemy, his next few missions were against the retreating Germans, striking at troop concentrations and transportation hubs.

A P-47 Thunderbolt at the Air Strip Y34 in Metz, France.
A P-47 Thunderbolt at the 386th Fighter Squadron Air Strip in Belgium in late-January 1945.

The squadron again relocated on January 20, 1945, this time to an Air Strip (A78) near Florennes/Juzaine, Belgium. Three weeks later, on February 9, flying his eighth mission against a railroad marshalling yard near Duren, Germany, Lt. James D. Simpson was killed.

The following is an eye-witness account by 1st. Lt. Edward Szymanski, a veteran pilot of the 386th Fighter Squadron that flew with Lt. Simpson on that mission. It appears in the book "Hell Hawks," by Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones.

“Rail targets were heavily defended by both fixed gun emplacements protecting marshalling yards, and flak batteries mounted on each train. On the 9th, 2nd Lt. James D. Simpson, a late-November replacement in the 386th with just seven combat missions, was hit after one of his strafing runs. He zoomed into the overcast but failed to return to A-78."

According to the authors, Lt. Simpson’s plane was reported to have crashed and burned near Duren. The young pilot’s body was found in the wreckage.

Back home in Brookline, the parents of Lt. James D. Simpson were notified of his death in mid-April. The Pittsburgh Press listed him on the daily casualty log on April 26, 1945. As the war in Europe was drawing to a close, another local casualty of that tragic conflict became known to friends and neighbors at home, and a Gold Star appeared in the window at 1200 Woodbourne Avenue.

...
...

The body of Brookline's James D. Simpson was brought back home to the United States and interred at the Gettysburg National Cemetery and Memorial in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 24, 1947. James is buried in Gettysburg along with another fallen Brookline serviceman, Raymond A. Pisiecki.

Gettysburg National Cemetery and Memorial

* Written by Clint Burton: April 15, 2018 *




The Brookline War Memorial

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

Listed below are many of the sons of Brookline who gave their
lives to preserve freedom and contain aggression during
World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
General George S. Patton
 

United States Army (1775-present)  United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Navy (1775-present)  United States Marine Corps (1775-present)
United States Coast Guards (1790-present)  United States Air Force (1947-present)  United States Merchant Marine (1775-present)

World War I (1917-1919)

Percy Digby

Digby, David P.
Mayville Avenue
Army

Details

Raymond P. Cronin

Cronin, Raymond P.
Berkshire Avenue
USMC

Details

Charles Luppe

Luppe, Charles
Ferncliffe Avenue
Army

Details

WW1 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War I Memorial - Washington D.C.

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World War II (1941-1945)


Alm William H.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Arensberg, Roy T.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Brickley, Edward G.
Woodward Avenue
Army

Details


Bruni, Lawrence A.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Capogreca, James J.
Merrick Avenue
Navy

Details


Copeland, Clarence R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Cullison, Thomas J.
Birtley Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Howard F.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Walter F.
Milan Avenue
Navy

Details


Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Dornetto, Frank P.
Jacob Street
Navy

Details


Fagan, Gerald B.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Falk, Harold E.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Fehring, Robert M.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Hynes, Richard E.
Waddington Avenue
Army

Details


Jackson, Robert E.
Brookline
Army

 


Kestler, Paul C.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Ketters, Robert C.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Mahoney, Michael J.
Oakridge Street
Army

Details


Majestic, Arthur B.
Starkamp Avenue
Army

Details


Mayberry, Alexander G.
Breining Street
Army

Details


Mazza, John
Alwyn Street
Army

Details


McCann, Robert F.
Edgebrook Avenue
Navy

Details


McFarland, Hugh R.
McNeilly Road
Army

Details


Miller, William J.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Napier, Edward J.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Nicholson, John D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


O'Day, John R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Orient, Andrew D.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Wolford Avenue
Army

Details


Reeves, Alfred M.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Reitmeyer, John P.
Bellaire Avenue
Navy

Details


Rhing, Vern M.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Shannon, Harry C.
Midland Street
Army

Details


Shannon, Jack E.
Midland Street
USMC

Details


Simpson, James D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Spack, Harry
Linial Avenue
Army

Details


Vierling, Howard F.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Wagner, Ralph G.
Shawhan Avenue
Army

Details


Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue
Army

Details

WW2 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War II Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Korean War (1950-1953)

Patrick Gallagher

Gallagher, Patrick J.
Bodkin Street
Army

Details

James Gormley

Gormley, James W.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

Gerald Hilliard

Hilliard, Gerald G.
Edgebrook Avenue
Army

Details

James McKenna

McKenna, James E.
Bellaire Place
Army

Details

Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Vietnam War (1965-1973)

James Robert Bodish

Bodish, James R.
Plainview Avenue
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Gilbert Collins

Collins, James G.
Dunster Street
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Charles Wonn

Wonn, James C.
Mayville Avenue
Navy

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.




The Brookline Monument - The Cannon

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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