Date of Birth: September 17, 1917
Place of Birth: West Plains, Howell Co., Missouri
Father and Mother’s Names: William Payne and Cecelia Mae (Bottom) Payne
Date Entered Service: March 30, 1942 at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Service Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank/Specialty: Second Lieutenant, Pilot, B-17G Flying Fortress #42-39894 "Boomerang Barbara."
Service ID: 0-803675
Division/Company/Unit info: 561st Bomber Squadron, 388 Bomber Group, 8th Air Force
Riley Connection: Lived at 714 Houston St. Manhattan, Riley Co., Kansas. Entered the military at Fort Riley. NARA (National Archives) records list this soldier's Home of Record as Riley County, Kansas.
Date of Death (and Age): February 20, 1942 (age 23) - KIA (Killed in Action)
Place of Death: Plane crashed near Assens Kommune, Syddanmark, Denmark.
Grave Location: Originally burried in the Assens Cemetery near Neuville, Belgium. Payne's body was brought home with two other members of his crew. They were re-interred together on March 21, 1952 at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. A memorial stone was also placed at Holton Cemetery in Jackson Co., Kansas.
"Boomerang Barbara" grave marker at Zachary
Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.
Bio: Jerry and family were living in Buffalo Twp., Cloud Co., Kansas in 1930 and Topeka, Shawnee Co., Kansas in 1935. In 1940, Jerry was living in Manhattan, Riley Co., Kansas at 714 Houston St. with his mother, Cecelia, and brother, Robert. Jerry was working as a salesman for a wholesale beverage company. On March 30, 1942, Jerry entered the Army Air Corps at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was married and stood 5' 9" tall and weighed 159 lbs. Jerry became a 2nd Lieutenant and was a Pilot for a B-17G Flying Fortress nick-named "Boomerang Barbara."
On February 20, 1944, Jerry flew on a mission to bomb Pozen, Poland. As the bomber formation approached the Danish peninsula, it was attacked repeatedly and aggressively by a large number of enemy fighters. These attacks continued to the target, over the target, and on the return flight. During the return flight, Payne radioed that his aircraft had a massive fuel leak, and that he would try to go home by a different route. The aircraft was never heard from again, although it later made an emergency landing in Denmark, near Assens. Accounts vary on the landing as to whether it was a landing or a crash, as all but 1 of the crew was killed, the Tail Gunner, Andrea Alearese, WIA (Wounded in Action) and was taken as a POW to Stalag LUFT IV in Gross Tychow, Pomerania, Poland by the enemy. The 9 dead fliers were buried in the Assens Cemetery by Danes and a German escort. Jerry was brought home on March 21, 1952 and re-interred in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
The crew Killed In Action were:
2nd Lt. Jerry Bryan Payne, Pilot
2nd Lt. Carl Edison Cole, Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. James J Kelley, Navigator
2nd Lt. Clarence Howard Swanson, Bombardier
SSgt. James Leonard Ellis, Waist Gunner
SSgt. Joseph Albert Pappalardo, Ball Turret
SSgt Grant Tucker, Waist Gunner
TSgt. John Bryant White, Radio Operator
TSgt. Marco Joseph Zumbolo, Flight Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
The information available for this veteran is incomplete. We would like to include as much information about all our veterans as possible, so if you or someone you know has any additional information we encourage you to contact us at: email@example.com. Thank you for your support.