WW2 Casualty Gunner over Germany: Manchester NH’s S/Sgt Arthur Michael St. Pierre (1920-1944)

In 1955 an ordinance stated, “That the square located where South Maple Street, Vinton

Photograph of Roger B. Cote recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the corners of Massabesic Street and Valley Street. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

Photograph of Arthur M. St. Pierre recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the northeast corner of South Maple and South Willow Streets. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

Street and South Willow Street intersects, be officially designated and known…as ‘Arthur M. St. Pierre Square’.” This was approved on 20 March 1956 and signed by Josaphat T. Benoit, Mayor. The plaque reads: S/SGT ARTHUR M. ST. PIERRE. 8th US ARMY AIR FORCE. BORN MARCH 6, 1920. DIED AUGUST 20, 1944 IN GERMANY.

 

 

Arthur Michael St. Pierre was born on March 6, 1920 to Arthur & Mary (Healy) St. Pierre. He grew up on Alpheus Street in Manchester, attending local schools–Bakersville Grammar and Manchester Central High School. Following graduation he worked at the Manchester Die Company.

Val Preda Crew 601, 492nd Bomber Group.  Arthur St. Pierre is center, kneeling.

Val Preda Crew 601, 492nd Bomber Group. Arthur St. Pierre is center, kneeling. My thanks to Rick Centore for providing this USAAF photograph.

Arthur M. St. Pierre enlisted 19 Jan 1942 in Manchester NH for military service, receiving basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. According to a knowledgeable source “he was assigned to the Army Flexible Gunnery school in Jacksonville FL, graduating in 1942.” From there he went to Orlando Florida and Harrington KS. He was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 856th Bomb Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, that was sent to England to participate in D-Day, and was to become known as “The Hard Luck Outfit.”

On 20 June 1944 Arthur M. St. Pierre was aboard a Liberator, [my original post stated a “Fortress”– see comments below this story] on a bombing mission, the target being oil at Politz, Germany. The bomber was shot down out of formation by enemy fire, and struck water in the vicinity of the Isle of Regan or the town of Stralsund. A once restricted document to Air Force Command, dated June 30, 1944 stated: “crashed (downed) : A fortress, near Kubitzer Fodden West of Ruegen June 20, 1944.” Five men were able to parachute out (they were later captured). S/Sgt. Miles Toepper and S/Sgt. Jack S. Reed attempted to give first aid to St. Pierre and  Sgt. Douglas E. Pierce.

The report goes on to state that S/Sgt Arthur M. St. Pierre was reported dead, near Thiessow near the Kubitzer Bodden, was recovered dead on June 23, 1944 by the German soldiers who fond his body in the plane’s wreckage, and buried him 2.5 km southwest of Thiessow on Reugen, on the beach the same day.

Marker Request for Arthur M. St. Pierre

Marker Request for Arthur M. St. Pierre

One source stated that his body was returned to the family in 1949. I did not find any documents (such as a death certificate) stating this, but I did see that on 29 August 1949 his father Arthur requested a flat granite military marker which was placed in St. Joseph Cemetery, and that his son’s name is inscribed on the family gravestone.

 

NOTE: I would be deeply grateful if any relatives who have more information and/or a photograph of Arthur M. St. Pierre would contact me through this blog. [I was recently contacted by Rick Centore, whose father, Nello Centore, was also one of the crew members, and a friend of Arthur St. Pierre.]

[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire.  It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.”  All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]

==========PARTIAL GENEALOGY of Arthur Michael St. Pierre==========

Joseph St. Pierre was b abt — in Vermont and d –. He married — to Judith Tetreault. She b. — in Canada and d. —
——————-
Children of Joseph & Judith (Tetreault) St. Pierre:
1. +Arthur D. St. Pierre b abt 1876 in Canada
2. Annie Josephine St. Pierre, b abt 1882 in Manchester NH; m. 25 March 1908 in Manchester NH to George Allen Dow, son of John & Ella (Morrill) Dow
3. Louis St. Pierre, b abt 1883; d. 13 Oct 1888, age 5 in Manchester NH of diphtheria
4. Victorine St. Pierre b abt 1884 and died 16 October 1888 in Manchester NHof diphtheria

 

Arthur D. St. Pierre, son of Joseph & Judith (Tetreault) St. Pierre was b. abt 1876 in Canada/VT/NH, and died 7 jUNE 1950; buried in lot AC-86 St. Joseph Cemetery Manchester NH; He married 8 November 1915 in Manchester NH to Mary Agnes Healy/Haley, daughter of Michael & Kate Healy. She was b July 1882 in Manchester NH and d. 29 May 1942. Resided 45 and later 53 Alpheus Street Manchester NH. His occupation was carpenter and building contractor.
——————-
1940 US Census > NH > Hillsborough Co. > Manchester > 53 Alpheus Street
Arthur St. Pierre M 62 b NH
Mary A. St. Pierre F 56 NH
Edward St. Pierre son M 21 NH
Arthur St. Pierre son 20 NH
Mary St. Pierre dau F 18 NH
Catherine St. Pierre dau 15 NH
——————-
HOOKSETT — Albert A. Levesque , 81, died Jan. 29, 2004, at his son’s home after a brief illness. Born in Manchester Jan. 18, 1923, he was the son of Amedee and Rosalie (Vanasse) Levesque . He was educated in the Manchester parochial school system, attending St. Anthony School. He had been a master plumber for the Armand E. Lemire Plumbing and Heating Co. and later for the Bellemore Heating Co. Mr. Levesque was a member of the Hooksett American Legion. He lived all of his life in the Manchester and Hooksett areas. He was a communicant of Blessed Sacrament Church. Mr. Levesque was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, participating in the Leyte Gulf Invasion, and was awarded the Purple Heart. The family includes two sons, James A. Levesque of Hooksett and Arthur M. Levesque of Manchester; six grandchildren; three sisters, Alice Tetu of Manchester, Gloria Porter of Belmont and Lillian Scarlett of Florida; and many nieces and nephews. His wife, Mary A. (St. Pierre) Levesque , died in 1995. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Church. Burial will be in the new St. Joseph Cemetery, Bedford. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the 554th Engineering Shore and Boat Regiment, care of Sam Puntureri, 1926 Sunflower Circle, Sebring, Fla. 33872.
——————-

Arthur St. Pierce, close-up from his bomber group photo above.

Arthur St. Pierce, close-up from his bomber group photo above.

Children of Arthur & Mary (Healy) St. Pierre:
1. Edward St. Pierre, b. 6 June 1918 Manchester NH, d. 1 February 1972
[St. Joseph Cemetery: StPierre, Edward, 53, d.2/1/1972 2 390-d]
2. +Arthur Michael St. Pierre, born March 6, 1920; died August 20, 1944 in Germany (subject of this story); On 12 June 1943 at the Grenier Field Chapel, Manchester NH he married Yvette Mandy Hebert, age 20, daughter of Arthur & Bertha (Provost) Hebert. In 1946, Mandy remarried on 27 April in Manchester NH to Roland Joseph Gagnon, son of Alcide & Cilanide (Trembley) Gagnon.
3. Mary Agnes St. Pierre, b. 18 Sep 1921, d. 7 Sep 1995, age 73; married 12 June 1943 in Manchester NH to Albert Armand Levesque, son of Amede & Rosalie (Vanasse) Levesque. He was b. 18 January 1923 and d. 29 January 2004. Both are buried at St. Joseph Cemetery.
4. Catherine Julia St. Pierre, b May 1924, died April 1981; married 12 July 1947 in Manchester NH to John William Wentworth, son of Floyd & Bessie (Hartwell) Wentworth. He was born abt 1927 in Indianapolis, Indiana

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6 Responses to WW2 Casualty Gunner over Germany: Manchester NH’s S/Sgt Arthur Michael St. Pierre (1920-1944)

  1. Pingback: Manchester New Hampshire’s Military Squares and other Memorials | Cow Hampshire

  2. Brendan McNally says:

    This is a very good article. Thank you for posting. One small point of accuracy, though. If he was in the 492nd, the aircraft was a B-24 Liberator. You might want to correct. But it’s altogether a great piece.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Brendan, thank you for the correction. Glad to learn about your project. The official records call your father’s ship “a Fortress” which I presumed was a B-17 while Liberators were B-24. Perhaps the military records are in error.

  3. liberator713 says:

    Hi Janice, Alex Mena here. A few discrepancies about your article. Arthur St. Pierre was a gunner in a B24 Liberator bomber, not a B17. He was indeed shot down on June 20th, 1944. I am currently producing a documentary film about my late father’s B24 liberator bomber from the 492nd Bomb Group (H). The film is called CREW 713 and the website is http://www.crew713.com Here is a link to the 492nd Bomb Group website with a crew photo of the whole crew. I would love to talk with you some more. You can contact me through the website or my email. Alex@crew713.com Thanks for remembering Sgt. Pierre. http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/cgi-bin/pagepilot.cgi?page=showCrewPage&crewPage=601-ValPreda&crewTitle=Val%20Preda%20601&nav=i2c

  4. liberator713 says:

    One more note. A historian and researcher with the 492nd Bomb Group, Rick Centore, has written a book about the mission and this particular crew. His father Nello Centore was the engineer and I’m sure knew Sgt. Pierre very well. The name if the book is called, “Deadly Decision” subtitle’an unselfish act seals a bomber’s crew’s fate’ Rick did an amazing job researching the book. He also serves as one of my advisors on CREW 713. Small world indeed.

  5. Rick Centore says:

    In August, 2009 my wife Lynne and I attended the WWII memorial weekend in Manchester, NH. We visited Arthur St. Pierre Square. My father, Nello Centore, was the flight engineer on Arthur’s crew. They were great friends. Thank you for, through your writing, keeping alive the memory of men like Arthur St. Pierre.

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