We shall not forget

SAMUEL RIGBY SPROTT, JR.

The Citadel Class of: 1944

Photo courtesy of The Citadel Archives and Museum, Charleston, S.C.

SAMSUNG

Photo courtesy of Willem Kiggen

Cadet Company: M (Sphinx 1941)
Age: 22
Born: 18-Nov-21 in Walterboro, South Carolina
Hometown: Walterboro, Colleton County, South Carolina
Family: Samuel R. Sprott (father), Mary Isabel Sprott (mother),
Ethel P. Sprott (sister), Annabel Luikart Sprott (wife)
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Forces
Servicenumber: O-754855
Entered the Service from: South Carolina
Function: Bombadier
Squadron: 720th Bomber Squadron
Group: 450th Bomber Group, Heavy
Plane data:
(Serialnumber, MACR, etc.)
B-24, 41-28612, MACR 3584
Date of death: 24-Mar-44
Status: MIA / KIA
Place of death: over Trieste, Italy
Spot: Gulf of Venice
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Gravenumber: Tablets of the Missing
Cemetery: Florence American Cemetery
Biography: Not Available
Other information: Activities – Cheerleader
Source: 1942 Sphinx

LT. S. SPROTT IS MISSING
BOMBARDIER ON LIBERATOR
Was Stationed At Bari, Italy – Went Overseas In February
– Mr. and Mrs. S.R. Sprott received word from Mrs. S.R. Sprott, Jr., of
Clovis, N.M., last night that she had been informed by the war
department that her husband, and their son, 2nd Lt. Sam R. Sprott, Jr.,
had been reported missing in action since March 24. Lt. Sprott was a
bombardier on a Liberator, and was stationed at Bari, Italy.
Lt. Sprott was a visitor here for a day and a half in February just before
he left for duty overseas. Mrs. Sprott, Jr., the former Miss Annabel Likart,
of Clovis, New Mexico and Lt. Sprott were married November 6, 1943.
She was here on a visit about four weeks ago, going from here to her
home. Her father, a Lieutenant Colonel is a prisoner of war of the
Japanese. he was with the Coast Artillery at Bataan.
Lt. Sprott attended the Walterboro schools, Riverside Military Academy,
at Gainesville, Ga., and The Citadel for two years each, leaving the Citadel
to the air corps the middle of October 1942. He received his wings in
August 1943 at Danning, New Mexico.
Source: The Press and Standard, Walterboro, S.C., Thursday, April 20, 1944, p.1.

LT. S.R. SPROTT WAS KILLED
“MISSING IN ACTION” FIRST NEWS RECEIVED
Telegram From War Department Indicates That Engagement Was Fatal
– Mrs. Sam R. Sprott has been notified by the war department, that her
son, Second Lieutenant Sam R. Sprott, who was reported missing in
action , March 20, 1944, is now officially declared deceased. Mrs. Sprott
also had a telephone call from Mrs. Sprott, Jr., of Clovis, New Mexico,
confirming this notification. She had received a similar telegram.
2nd. Lt. S.R. Sprott, Jr., was a bombardier on a Liberator bomber, and
was stationed at Bari, Italy when his place was shot down by the enemy.
Hope has been entertained since that he had escaped and would
eventually return. Lieutenant Sprott attended the Walterboro schools,
Riverside Academy in Gainesville, Ga., and for two years, The Citadel,
leaving that institution to enter the service of his country in October, 1942.
He received his wings in August, 1943 at Danning, New Mexico.
November 6, 1943, he and Miss Annabel Likart, of Clovis, New Mexico,
were married. She has a little son, Sam Luikart Sprott, born after the
father went overseas. His father, S.R. Sprott also died after the report that
his son was missing in action.
– Source: The Press and Standard, Walterboro, S.C., August 30, 1945, p.1.

_______________

From the 450th Bomber Group Memorial Association website:

“24 March

This morning started with cold and snow but soon became bright. The target
briefed was the Wazlergrwerk Ball Bearing plant at Steyr, Austria. Our planes
got off on schedule with the 10 X 500 G.P. bomb load. The weather and visibility
were poor and the second attack unit turned back before Major Snaith leading in
a 720th plane, turned to an alternate target. Our squadron was in the first
attack unit. In a battle with enemy fighters 2nd Lt. Hodgson, pilot, and his crew
[#621] were shot down into the sea near Pola, Italy. In that air battle, S/Sgt’s
Kirkland, Mason, Beshore and Openshaw each claimed an ME 109 shot down into
the sea. Eight of our planes went on to Rimini, Italy, and in clear weather bombed
the marshalling yards there. We had one early return and that plane jettisoned
bombs in the Adriatic. In the evening, Squadron S-2 gave an orientation and
news summary at Group S-2. A fine turnout resulted despite competition with a
USO Camp Show unit and movie in Oria. Reports indicate that both “shows” were
well liked. Mail was heavy “going out” as many men sent a “group Easter
greeting” on V-Mail to their homes.

Sixteen (16) enemy aircraft engaged the group as we drove in on Rimini, Italy, on
24 March. The enemy attacked in groups of four or five from five to seven o’clock,
low. Our wing ships were attacked by elements of three abreast, level, from three
and nine o’clock, and broke off to rear; and from front through three and nine
o’clock. One ME 110 seemed to act as fire control ship. JU 88’s came from three
and nine o’clock to fire rockets. One of our aircraft was shot down by the enemy.
Our gunners destroyed four (4) ME 109 aircraft.”
Source: Historical Record – March 1944, Headquarters 720th Bomber Squadron.
Further details concerning the group’s encounter with the enemy aircraft
available in the S-2 Narrative, 450th BG for March 24, 1944.

Sources: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Citadel Archive & Museum, Mike Stannard ’65, 1940 US Census (NARA), Ancestry.com, Unit history 720th Bombardment Squadron March 1944, 450th Bomb Group Memorial Association, Find a Grave.com, Colleton County Memorial Library, Willem Kiggen

We ask for your help.
It is our objective to have complete and accurate records for each of our Citadel Men.
If you have information to contribute or correct this or any other record, please contact us or see support.

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6 responses

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  5. James Wood

    2nd Lt. Hodgson (Ralph) may have also attended The Citadel. I met a his brother who noticed The Citadel on my jacket and said his brother (Ralph Hodgson) was a went to The Citadel as was shot down in the Adriatic which fits this story. How can I check to see if this is true?

    December 11, 2016 at 2:29 am

    • Greetings, Mr. Wood. Thank you very much for posting your information and question. I have done a search of a number of genealogy and newspaper databases, as well as the Citadel Alumni Association’s alumni database, and I did not find any information which would indicate that 2Lt. Ralph Garvie Hodgson, Jr. had ever attended The Citadel. What I did find, however, was quite interesting. He was from Greer, S.C., and played varsity football for Furman University during the 1940 season. His position was “spinback” and in his sophomore year according to Furman’s 1941 Bonhomie yearbook. 2Lt. Sprott had been a cheerleader at The Citadel, and probably the two, being from S.C. and rival schools, had a good bond. Very respectfully, Roger Long, ’89

      December 11, 2016 at 7:51 pm

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