Real long shot here but perhaps one of you guys may have an insight into how to go about researching the circumstances of the death of a relative in the US forces in WW2.
The individual concerned was my Fathers first cousin ( his mother being my Grandfathers sister ) which makes him my 1st cousin once removed ( I think ).
He was born in the US and enlisted in late 1941 , he served as a flight engineer / gunner on a B-17 ' Flying Fortress ' with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
He was listed as missing in action in June 1943 and some time thereafter was considered RIP.
After the war my relatives tried to learn more about his death from official sources but got nowhere with the Army / Air Force - apparently just because the war was over did not mean that a vast amount of material remained classified for many years.
However, by going through veterans groups they did manage to learn that there were survivors from his plane and they suceeded in tracing the pilot. Unfortunately the pilot it seemed was deeply traumatised and refused to discuss the matter but his wife did tell my relatives what little her husband had told her.
Basically the plane was badly shot up by flak and fighters following an air raid on Kiel and 2 out of a total crew of 10 were dead by the time the plane went into the water.
My relative was seen to get into a life raft with 3 others while the other 4 survivors got into a second raft and then..........
Unfortunately thats all we ever learnt apart from the fact that the occupants of 1 raft were picked up and spent the rest of the war as POW's but nothing was heard from or about the second raft .
I would have imagined that the survivors would have been debriefed at War's end when they were liberated in order to account for their missing comrades , the loss of their aircraft , etc.
My question is this - does anyone know of an online resource where such info may be found ? My relatives sister ( RIP ) did manage to get a copy of the post bombing intelligence report which bears out the story of 2 rafts seen in the water but no other info.
Any ideas ?
I posted here because the Research a soldier thread is really geared towards WW1 British forces.