August A. Byron
United States
Army Air Corp

United States 8th Air Force (Army Air Corp.)
8th Air Force
First Air Division
94th Combat Wing
351st BG (H)

(bombardment group - heavy)
854th Chemical Co

Polebrook AFB

August A Byron, 1943, United States 8th Army Air Force
World War II


My father, August Byron, passed away November 2nd, 2012 at the age of 94 in his home of over 60 years in Bellingham, WA. He received a full honors military burial. To honor his memory I decided to put his burial flag in a shadow box and also his medals, insignias, etc. The only problem was I had lost all of his Army things when I was a young boy in elementary school (he let me play army with all those things). So I went forward to replace them along with his records from the military. What I got was a surprise because I never knew how much my dad really did in WWII nor the number of medals and/or citations he and his unit received.

The story of those at Polebrook AFB in England, the B17s of the Mighty 8th Air Force, and the sacrifices and heroism by the men of the 8th Air Force Bombardment Groups really gripped me. Some of that information I have put on another page about the 351st and B17s of the squadrons from Polebrook. There is huge amount of information and websites for the 8th Air Force and the many units and squadrons from WWII. Today I have a better undesrtanding why this is. Their accomplishments, losses, and bravery shall forever be unsurpassed in history.

My dad never talked it up much. Oh he liked to talk about WWII and Polebrook. Including things he did with his buddy "Bradley". But he always played it down. You'd think it was just 'no big deal' and was just a few years in the Army Air Corp. That was my dad alright and like many other WWII veterans. Truly humble but real heroes and men of action. I will miss you dad. Here is the story of August A. Byron's service in WWII of which I am immensely proud.

Dad (nicknamed "Cougar") joined the United States Army (Air Corp) on April 19th, 1941. He was 23 years old. The United States had not yet declared war. He traveled from Blaine to Seattle to join up.

He had 6 brothers and two of them also joined the military (Connie in the Army Air Corp/Air Force for 20 years, retired - WWII and Korea, and Louie in the U.S. Navy - WWII). He also had two uncles that served in WWI with overseas service.

August joined the 8th Air Force. Back then it was part of the army and called the U.S. Army Air Corp. The 8th was known as "the first eighth air corp" aka - VIII Bomber Command.

Less than a year after he joined the Army the United States was in the world war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941.

He got his basic and advanced training at Camp Beale and Reno Nevada. From there he was assigned to the 94th Combat Wing and the 351st Bombardment Group (Heavy) which was formed on Nov. 24, 1942 Spokane WA. His specialty was Chemical Technician (MOS 0870) and he was with the 854th Chemical Company which was part of the 351st BG(H).

The 854th had various jobs but basically dealt with the bombers oxygen, fuel and other supplies like that. The unit also handled preparation for chemical warfare protection of all the personnel. Another main job of the 854th was the loading of the bombs as well as off loading or taking care of any unexploded ordnance. Back then everyone pitched in and worked tirelessly to win the war.

So it was that my dad traveled to England on RMS Queen Elizabeth. He left New York on May 10th 1943 and arrived in England on May 18th. An 8 day trip across the Atlantic.

He returned home several years later in 1945 on the RMS Queen Mary.


RMS Queen Mary carrying the troops
There is so much history just on the RMS Queen Mary during the war
that many websites exist to tell her story.

For more photos, details, and where she is now:

Sgt August Byron, 1944
Sgt. August A. Byron 1944






The History

The 8th Air Force was activated at Savannah, Georgia, on January 28th, 1942.  It moved to England in May of 1942, and sent its first bombers into Europe on August 17th, 1942. 

The 8th became the daylight precision bombing force flying out of England.  The 8th Air Force took part in all of the major bombing operations launched from England during the war.  They suffered heavy casualties for their daylight bombing campaign.

By V-E Day, the 8th had destroyed over 20,000 enemy aircraft and had made over 1 million flights.  The 8th Air Force was transferred to Okinawa after the Germans surrendered, but did not get into action against the Japanese.

My dad was assigned to the Polebrook Royal Air Base (RAFB) in Southhampton England. This was to be his home for the next 2+ years. Polebrook is a very famous Air Base and was home to (4) B17 squadrons assigned to the 351st BG. The 508th, 509th, 510th, and the 511th.

In addition to my dad's 854th Chemical Company the other units
stationed there as part of the 351st include:

  • 11th Station Complement
  • 201st Finance Section
  • 252nd Medical Dispensary
  • 304th Service Group
  • 320th Service Squadron
  • 447th Sub-Depot
  • 1052nd Ordnance Squadron
  • 1061st MP Company
  • 1629th Ordnance Supply/Maintenance Co.
  • 2098th Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon


By the time my dad was at Polebrook
he had been promoted to Staff Sergeant.

Sgt August Byron, 1944, USAF


854th Chemical Co
854th Chemical Company

While in England my dad met Margie Doughty from Doddington, Kent and a corporal in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). They were married in Saint Ives, Huntington, England Sept 4, 1944. August and Margie were married the rest of their lives (62 years).

Checkers pub in England where my dad and friends
used to gather from Polebrook.


My dad left to return hom to the United States aboard the Queen Mary on November 4th, 1945 and arrived back home in New York November 9th , 1945. He was honorably discharged from Camp Beale on November 18th, 1945.

My Mom came over on the Queen Mary later in 1946 to join her "yank husband" (as the brits would say) and begin their family in Bellingham.

The 'war brides' photo - 1945


351st Bombardment Group (Heavy)
351st Bombardment Group(H)
Polebrook AB, England




This was called "kilroy was here" and was a popular graffiti of the American WWII troops to show the American military was here!




This was the tail designation for the
351st B-17s, the Triangle J.
The triange denoted the First Air Division/First Bomb Wing and the J was for the 351st. Click the Image for more marking information of the AAC units.








August Byron



August A Byron, 1918-2012
August A. Byron
August 28th, 1918 - November 2nd, 2012


Founding of the 351st Bombardment Group

On Tuesday Nov. 24, 1942 at Geiger Field just outside Spokane,WA the 351stBG(H) consisting of four air Squadrons was officially formed. At Polebrook, the Rothchild country estate in Northhampshire, the 351st base unit was to be comprised of the 508th, 509th, 510th and 511th Squadrons; each with a complement of 72 B-17s (plus hacks and spares). With aircrew and support personnel the station had an estimated strength of 7,900 personnel.

Dec. 28th 1942: Flying conditions in Washington were unsuitable for a heavy training schedule. After a short stay at Geiger Field the 351st entrained for Biggs Field (El Paso), Texas arriving Jan. 2, 1942 to conduct round-the-clock combat flight training. The Air Echelon of the 351st BG began to ship overseas on April 1st 1943 transiting through Kearney Air Base, NE. Officially Station 110 was activated April 15, 1943. B-17s, station hacks and key support personnel were ferried from Pueblo,CO. AAF through Presque Isle & Dow Field in Maine to Gander Lake, Labrador then flown to Prestwick, Scotland and finally on to Polebrook. May 4th 1943 under secret orders Ground Echelon personnel went by troop ship departing from New York on the Queen Elizabeth. The 510th and their brethren were going in harm's way. May 13th the 351st flew its first combat mission but had to abort due to flight element separation.

Operated primarily against strategic objectives in Germany, striking such targets as ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, communications at Mayen, marshalling yards at Koblenz, a locomotive and tank factory at Hannover, industries at Berlin, bridges at Cologne, an armaments factory at Mannheim, and oil refineries at Hamburg. Also struck harbor facilities, submarine installations, airfields, V-weapon sites, and power plants in France, Belgium, Holland, and Norway. Received a DUC (Distinguised Unit Citation later named the Presidential Unit Citation) for performance of Oct 1943 when an aircraft factory in Germany was accurately bombed in spite of heavy flak and pressing enemy interceptors. Received another DUC for its part in the successful attack of 11 Jan 1944 on aircraft factories in central Germany. Participated in the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944.

Presidential Unit Citation (2) aka - the Distinguished Unit Citation
2 presidential Unit Citations


2d Lt Walter E Truemper, navigator, and Sgt Archibald Mathies, engineer, were each awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 20 Feb 1944: when their aircraft received a direct hit that killed the co-pilot and wounded the pilot, Truemper and Mathies managed to fly the plane until other crew members could bail out; on the third attempt to land the plane in an effort to save the pilot, the B-17 crashed and the men were killed.

In addition to its strategic missions, the group often operated in support of ground forces and attacked interdictory targets. Bombed in support of the Normandy Invasion in AIR FORCE COMBAT UNITS-GROUPS 231 in Jun 1944 and the St Lo breakthrough in July. Hit enemy positions to cover the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Struck front-line positions, communications, and airfields to help stop the German counteroffensive in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Flew missions in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Returned to the US soon after V-E Day.


During the three years at Polebrook, the 351st B.G. (H):

Total B17 Flying Fortresses 279
Sorties Flown 9,075
Tons of Bombs dropped 20,778
Rounds of Ammunition fired by Gunners 2,776,028
Enemy Aircraft destroyed (shot down) 303
Credit Missions 311
Number of B17s lost in battle 124
Total B-17s lost 175


According to Air Command; “To man these aircraft the USAAF trained 193,440 pilots and washed out another 124,000 from 1 July 1939 to 31 Aug. 1945 while training 400,000 aircrew to man the bombers and transports with bombardiers, navigators, gunners flight engineers and other specialists.” The war began a revolution in the training of USAAF airmen.

Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.


My dad's medals, Ribbons and Unit Citations
and Insignias can be seen on THIS PAGE


35`st Bombardment Group (Heavy)
351st Bombardment Group(H)
Polebrook AB, England


508th (YB- ) Commanders:
Maj. Kieth G. Birlem Nov. 24, 1942 - May 7, 1943
Lt. Col. James T. Stewart May 14, 1943 - Aug. 28, 1945

509th (RQ- ) Commanders:
Lt. Col. Elzia Ledoux Nov. 24, 1942 - Jul. 1, 1944
Maj. Paul L. Fishburne Jul. 1, 1944 - Sep. 25, 1944
Maj. Franklin A. Richardson Sep. 25, 1944 - Mar. 25, 1945
Maj. Mortimore L. Korges Mar. 25, 1945 - Aug. 28, 1945

510th (TU- ) Commanders:
Cap. William R. Forsythe Nov. 24, 1942 - May 14, 1943
Maj. John R. Blaylock May 17, 1943 - Dec. 31, 1943
Maj. Leonard B. Roper Jan. 4, 1944 - Jul. 21, 1944
Lt. Col. Paul D. Wood Jul. 21, 1944 - Oct. 15, 1944
Maj. Leonard B. Roper Oct. 15, 1944 - Jan. 17, 1945
Maj. John D. Gorham Jnr. Jan. 17, 1945 - Aug. 28, 1945

511th (DS- ) Commanders:
Lt. Col. Clinton F. Ball Nov. 24, 1942 - Sep. 23, 1943
Cap. Harry B. Morse Sep. 27, 1943 - Oct. 1, 1943
Lt. Col. John B. Carraway Oct. 1, 1943 - Aug. 28, 1945



The 351st
units and squadrons

11th Station Complement
201st Finance Section
252nd Medical Dispensary
304th Service Group
320th Service Squadron
447th Sub-Depot
854th Chemical Co.
1052nd Ordnance Squadron
1061st MP Company
1629th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co.
2098th Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon

508th Squadron

509th Squadron

510th Squadron

511th Squadron




There is so much about these aircraft, their crews, and their accomplishments that I have put it on a seperate page.
To read a sliver of the amazing story of the 8th Air Force's B17

B-17 Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby - US Air Force Museum
A B-17 at the U.S. Air Force Museum


8th Air Force Losses --- B17 and B24
Half of the total U.S. Army Air Forces' casualties in World War II
were suffered by the Eighth Air Force alone.
26,000 dead and more than 28,000 held prisoner in Nazi camps

13,624 died in 12,506 wrecks while training in the U.S. Army Air Force during WW2

In six brief years over 299,000 aircraft were manufactured in the US.

First Eighth Air Force





351st Memorial, Polebrook RAFB, England
This monument is located at the end
of the main runway that was used
by the 351st Bomb Group during WWII.

The inscription reads:

Jimmy Stewart Memorial, Polebrook RAFB, England
This bench is located next to
the 351st Bomb Group memorial
Polebrook England.


The inscription reads:


Polebrook RAFB Memorial, England


Polebrook Memorial Plaque

Polebrook AFB
Polebrook AFB


Memorial at Whiteman Air Force Base
Memorial at Whiteman Air Force Base


World War II Memorial
Washington D.C.

August A. Byron, WWII Honoree #2430305

August A. Byron
Honoree 2439395


This is the walnut shadowbox for my dad's military service medals and insignias. It hangs on the wall in my living room.
The three shells and the flag are from his military honors burial.
(click photo for larger image)


WWII Memorial, Washington D.C.


Aerial view of the WWII Memorial


WWII Veterans memorial in Washington D.C.



Together We Served
US Air Force

Memorial Page - AUGUST BYRON


Dad' Medals and Awards B17's Queen Mary Other Links