Francis H. Dresser

Date of Birth:  July 4, 1914


Place of Birth:  Manhattan, Kansas


Father and Mother’s Names:  Leonard and Anne Dresser


Date Entered Service:  October 8, 1940 at Fort Riley.


Service Branch:   Army Air Corps


Service Number:  0416285


Rank:  Major, Pilot B-17G "Miss Ana Bortion".


Division/Company/Unit info:  849th Bomber Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy).


Awards and Commendations:  Air Medal and the Purple Heart.


Riley Connection:  Born and grew up in Manhattan, Kansas. The Dresser family lived on Route 4.


Date of Death (and Age): September 1, 1944 (age 30)


Place of Death:  Somewhere over France in a mid-air collision.  Dresser's body was never recovered.

Grave Location:  Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France.


Bio:  Francis Hopkins Dresser was born July 4, 1914 in Manhattan, KS, the son of Leonard Dresser and Anna May Kircher in Manhattan, (Riley County), Kansas. He had four other siblings: Florence A., Edward Fillmore, Lenora, and Robert. Francis attended the Twin Mound School district riding a horse to get there from his family's home. He then attended Manhattan High School graduating after four years. While in high school, Francis was active in many organizations including chorus, the track team, and football. His senior year he was a yell leader and performed in the chorus with the music department's presentation, "H.M.S. Pinafore."  According to a relative, Robert E. Dresser, Francis worked hard and bought a motorcycle that he loved to ride. Francis wanted to first go into the Navy but was unable to. His dream was to see the world and fly the big airplanes.


Francis H. Dresser enlisted as a private October 8, 1940 at Fort Riley in the Army Air Corps as a pilot. His enlistment paper showed that he was 5 foot 7 inches and weighted 131 pounds. Prior to enlistment he had worked as a banker or financial clerk. He was later commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Maxwell Field in 1941. In 1943 he was stationed at Tuscon, Arizona and two years before that in Panama and South America. July 1944, Dresser was transferred to England. In the month before his death he participated in a course "designed to bridge the gap between training and soldiering in an active theater of war." Major Dresser served in the 849th Bomber Squadron of the 490th Bomber Group. He was reported missing September 1st over France. He was a pilot on the Flying Fortress (B-17G). His plane was nick-named "Miss Ana Bortion". There were 10 soldiers, including Francis, who died in a mid-air collision in this plane over France.


Manhattan Mercury Chronicle Article, September 21, 1944, reported that:  "Dresser Is Missing Dresser is Missing. Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Dresser, Route 4, were notified Monday by the War department that their son, Major Francis H. Dresser was missing in action since September 1 over France. Major Dresser was a pilot on a Flying Fortress. He is a brother of Mrs. C. J. Carlson, route 5, Mrs. Orville Livingston, 1125 Poyntz, and T-S Edward F. Dresser who has been overseas in Africa and India two years and four months. Major Dresser went into service in October 1940. A third brother, Robert Dresser, lives on the farm on Route 4 with the parents."




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History of the 101   The Forgotten 101   2610 From Riley