We shall not forget

ROBERT EDWARD POLAND

The Citadel Class of: 1942
Cadet Company: M (Source: Sphinx 1939)
Age: 24
Born: 12-Jun-18 at Watertown, Massachusetts
Hometown: Barnstable, Massachusetts
Family: Frank Poland, Sr. (father), Miriam K. Poland (mother)
Rank: Captain
Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Forces
Servicenumber: O-420507
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts
Function: Pilot
Company – Squadron: 1st Squadron
Unit – Group: 6th Ferry Group
Plane data: (Serialnumber, MACR, etc.) A-20 Havoc, 42-33298
Date of death: 4-Apr-43
Status: Missing / DNB
Place of death: Atlantic ocean 200 miles off the coast of Liberia, North Africa
Spot: vicinity 2 degrees 5 minutes North, 10 degrees 20 minutes
West, last reported position
Awards: Purple Heart, Air Medal
Gravenumber: Tablets of the MissingView Page
Cemetery: North Africa American Cemetery
Biography: Not Available
Other information: “After two years at Citadel Military College, Charleston, S.C., enlisted in Army Air Corps
November 1941.
Parks Air College, St. Louis – Randolph Field, Texas.
Commissioned second lieutenant at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana.
Received Captaincy with Air Transport Command”
– Source: Letter from Mrs. Frank Poland to Gen. Summerall dated 14 September 1948, The Citadel
Archives and Museum, Charleston, S.C.

According to information included in the Report of Death dated 25 April 1947 (National Archives),
Captain Poland was 6 foot tall, weighed 160 pounds, and had blue eyes and dark brown hair.
His shoe size was 9-D.

The plane, a Douglas A-20 Havoc light bomber, was off the coast of Africa, enroute from Ascension
Island to Roberts Field, Marshal, Liberia, when Captain Poland reported it was in trouble. Pilot and
crew were Capt. Poland, 1Lt. Jeremiah T. Ryan, navigator, and Cpl. Bernard A. Kanger, engineer.
Thirteen planes and crew were involved in the two day search effort for the missing air crew.
Poland’s mother was incorrectly informed that her son had been found near Africa and was in a
hospital being treated for exposure and sunburn.

“The fact that these men disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean between Ascension Island and Liberia,
Africa, more than four years ago leaves no doubt as to their ultimate fate. An immediate search was
instituted but, though thorough, proved fruitless. The possibility that these airmen were picked up
by enemy surface or underwater craft is now without significance since all American prisoners of war
have been repatriated. Since no trace of any of the crew members of the plane has been discovered
or reported during the intervening period of more than four years that has elapsed since they became
missing, it must be concluded that these men were killed when their plane was forced down at sea.”
– Source: Report of Death, 25 April 1947

Sources: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Citadel Archive & Museum, Mike Stannard ’65, www.Fold3.com, Find A Grave.com

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Memorial Day Weekend 2012 in Belgium and The Netherlands – Part I « The Citadel Memorial Europe

  2. Pingback: ROBERT EDWARD POLAND, Class of 1942 | The Citadel Memorial Europe

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