|U.S. Army Officer
82nd Airborne Division, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, B Company
2nd Lt. James F. Clarke O-1294267
Killed In Action - June 13th 1944, Normandy France
|At approximately 0244 hrs on June 6th 1944, C-47A 43-15137 "Chalk 40" of the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron
(TCS) 442nd Troop Carrier Group (TCG) dropped her paratroopers into Normandy France.
The chalk leader and first to depart the aircraft was 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke.
The destination of Chalk 40, as well as the other 44 aircraft for Mission "Boston" was Drop Zone T, the
Merderet Sector of the Cotentin Peninsula. The objective was Amfreville. The responsibility for this objective
was trusted to the members of the 82nd Airborne Division, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).
The order was to hold the La Fiere causeway in support of the 505th PIR (ordered to seize the town of
Sainte-Mere-Eglise) and hold the defensive line between Gourbesville and Le-Hameau-Renouf.
|When 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke was killed, his personal effects were sent to his mother Elizabeth Clarke (above left photo). His
effects included his wallet, insignia, dog tags (one early-war brass and one pre-war style), two aircraft spark plug shipping
plugs, a pair of 2nd Lt. Insignia, a 507th Parachute Infantry Officer collar insignia, a Parachute Infantry cap patch, a lanyard
made from parachute cord and his Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Medal ribbon.
His mother embroidered a gold star over the flag that she had for her two sons that were in the service.
His brother wrote on the inside cover of his pocket dictionary: "My Brother Jim died June 13, 1944 in the invasion of France
on a Tuesday with the Paratroopers", above right photo.
|2nd Lt. Clarke's Identification Tags - also know as "Dog Tags", left photo.
The top tag is a very early example made of brass and lists the next of kin address on the bottom. The practice of including
the next of kin address was deleted between 1942 and 1943. The tag also lists his Blood Type A and his religious preference
The bottom tag is a pre World War Two steel variation. This style of tag listed the name of the service member and unit.
Company H, 71st Infantry Regiment, as part of the 44th Infantry Division. The regiment was inducted into federal service on
September 16th 1940 in New York City, New York. The 44th Division moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey September 23rd 1940 and
participated in the Carolina Maneuvers from September 26th 1941 through December 6th 1941.
Lt. Clark served with this unit before World War Two as an Enlisted Man.
|THE LAST DAY - June 13th 1944
After resisting and reorganizing since the 10th of June the 507th moved to an assembly area north of Picauville, France while
the 325th Glider Infantry moved to an assembly area south of the town in preparation for an attack to the west the following
day. The 9th Infantry Division would be attacking on the right of the 507th.
On morning of June 13th, Captain Roy Creek, who had landed in Normandy as the CO of Company E, was now in command
of the terribly depleted 1st Battalion of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 1st Battalion comprised of A, B and C
As the 507th moved forward, it met stiff German resistance but continued to attack. The 3rd Battalion outran the 9th Infantry
Division, leaving the right flank vulnerable. The 2nd Battalion took up the drive and kept the attack rolling, but severe
resistance and strong counterattacks by enemy infantry and armor forced the lead to be taken by the 1st Battalion.
Private Chris Kanaras and what was left of Company B, assaulted a German strongpoint along a hedgerow. Strong
machine-gun fire was received from the hedgerow. 2nd Lt. James Clarke was killed while destroying the machine-gun
position with hand grenades.
2nd Lt. James F. Clarke was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his action.
His mother Elizabeth Clarke received this award posthumously.
|2nd Lt. James F. Clarke was born on June 26th 1920 and was killed on June 13th 1944. He was 23 years old.
He is buried in the Distinguished Service Section of the Long Island National Cemetery
Section DSS Site 18
2040 Wellwood Avenue, Farmingdale, New York
|2nd Lt. James F. Clarke's grave, above photo.
He is buried in the Distinguished Service Section of the Long Island National Cemetery,
Section DSS Site 18.
His grave stone lists his unit as the 507th Parachute Infantry, 17th Airborne Division. On June 13
1944, the 507th PIR was still part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
|JAMES F. CLARKE
Distinguished Service Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the
Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant James F. Clarke (ASN: 0-1294267), United States Army, for
extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company B, 1st
Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, in action against enemy forces on 14 June 1944, in
Normandy, France. Second Lieutenant Clarke was commanding the advance rifle platoon of Company B, 507th Parachute
Infantry Regiment in an attack against the enemy situated on high ground north of Le Bonneville, France. The advance
elements were held up by fire from an enemy machine gun, nested in an emplacement on the high ground to the front.
Setting an example of courage and initiative, Lieutenant Clarke raced for the enemy gun. He wiped it out with grenades, and
in the performance of this brave action, lost his life. His intrepidity set an example for others to follow. This courageous
action was a determining factor in the successful accomplishment of the battalion mission. Second Lieutenant Clarke's
fearless leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of
the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 82d Airborne Division, and the United States
Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, General Orders No. 19, March 14, 1945