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S/Sgt Arthur St Pierre, Gunner, Crew 601

While doing my research for my book "Deadly Decision," I had been trying to find information on Arthur St. Pierre, one of the gunners on my Dad's crew (Pete Val Preda, pilot, Crew 601). Arthur and my Dad were good friends. Yvette St. Pierre and my Mom traveled together by train to Florida in October, 1943. The 492nd had just returned from Blythe, California and was in Orlando for Advanced Combat Training (ACT). During that time the guys were allowed to take a one week leave to spend with their wives. Arthur lost his life on the Politz mission, June 20, 1944. I had been unsuccessful in locating any family members as St. Pierre is a very common name in the New England area.

In August of 2009 Lynne and I spent the weekend at her brother's cottage in New Hampshire. On Saturday morning we went to the local donut shop for coffee. While standing in line, I saw the rack of newspapers and picked up the New Hampshire Union Leader. On the front page was an article about the upcoming dedication of a World War II memorial in the city of Manchester. We decided to attend.

The writer of the article, John Clayton, would be speaking at the dedication. I wrote an e-mail to him, telling of my interest in finding Arthur's family. I was hoping he would put my contact information in any follow-up article he wrote. He did not answer my e-mail, and to be honest I wasn't surprised. The following Sunday we drove two and a half hours to Veterans' Memorial Park in Manchester. There was a very good turnout for the dedication. The monument listed some twelve thousand veterans' names. Over three hundred had been killed in action. John was one of the last speakers. As he delivered his remarks, he mentioned Arthur St. Pierre by name! I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. After the ceremony Lynne and I introduced ourselves. He said he was hoping we would be there. He told us the corner of Maple and Willow Streets is called Arthur St. Pierre Square. We drove over and saw the granite monument with an inlaid bronze plaque. I wish my Dad had known about this. It is a fitting tribute to his friend.

John also told us he would send a copy of an article he had written about St. Pierre's monument. We received it a couple of days later. The article answered a question I've had since I began researching the 492nd BG. I wondered if he and Yvette had any children. If there was a "Gold Star Kid," I wanted that person to know they were "cousins" in our 492nd family. But that is not the case. The article John sent me listed Arthur's next of kin. They had no children and his siblings have all passed away.

Rick Centore
Author, Deadly Decision
4 Comments on
S/Sgt Arthur St Pierre, Gunner, Crew 601
  1. On Monday, September 6, 2010
    Paul Arnett wrote...

    Great story Rick! How thoughtful that his community has honored him in such grand fashion. I think that speaks volumes about the people living in Manchester too.

  2. On Sunday, October 3, 2010
    Peter A. Puia wrote...

    Dear Rick!

    It was great meeting and speaking with you at Braley Field in Windsor Locks on Sept. 29, 2010. I will be purchasing your book through Borders Books.

    I am trying to find some info on our family friend Alexander S. Whinnem who served in the USAAC during WWII. He was a tail gunner on a B-17. He passed away 6/14/2008. He lived in Farmington Ct. I'm trying to find out what group he served with and how many missions he flew etc. His family lived in East Hartford, CT in a 3 family home my Dad owned. His children are his only survivors as his wife recently passed away. Any websites you may know of that I can find info about him and his crew would be appreciated.

    Thank you.....Pete

    • On Monday, October 4, 2010
      Rick Centore wrote...

      Hi Pete,
      I found your friend's obit and pasted it below. it said he flew 35 missions as a tail gunner in the Pacific theater. It also said he was part of the Flying Tigers. I'll do more research as this is puzzling. It doesn't mention the B-17 but this is not surprising as there were not many B-17 outfits in the Pacific. I'll do more research. My guess is that he was a B-24 or B-25 crewman. I'll keep looking.
      Good talking to you and thanks for your support,
      Rick Centore

      WHINNEM, Alexander S. "Dutch"
      June 15, 2008 WHINNEM, Alexander S. "Dutch"

      Alexander S. "Dutch'" Whinnem, 89, formerly of Glastonbury and Bristol, died at Glastonbury Health Center on Saturday, June 14, 2008. He was born to Alexander and Minnie (Downs) Whinnem of Hartford. He graduated from Bulkeley High School. He served in World War II as a tail gunner in the Flying Tigers squadron and flew 35 missions in the Pacific theatre. Alexander ran Alexander Whinnem & Sons, a speciality painting business, and worked on many historic homes, including the Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain houses. He worked until he was 85, and for the last 35 years with his son-in-law, Brian Buxton. Alexander is survived by his wife, Cecelia Whinnem; his former wife, Lillian Whinnem; his son, Ronald Whinnem of West Hartford; his daughter, Barbara Knickerbocker and her husband, Robert Knickerbocker of Sarasota, FL; his daughter, Deborah Buxton and her husband, Brian Buxton of West Hartford; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was an avid sportsman and was a member of the East Glastonbury Fish and Game Club for many years. He enjoyed hunting and fishing; and loved baseball (to the end a Yankee fan). He was an outstanding golfer who started playing when he was six, taking instruction from his brother, Robert; and continued to play until he was 83. He will be missed by his family, his clients, and by his many friends, including his golfing "buddies" who have been so devoted to him, visiting with him and "talking the game" after he suffered a stroke three years ago.

  3. On Friday, March 23, 2012
    Rick Centore wrote...

    Thank you Isis. It is sad when men who have given their lives for our country have no family to remember their contribution to our freedom. In the case of Arthur St. Pierre, he is remembered by our 492nd family.

  4. […] 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.] […]

  5. On Monday, March 22, 2021
    a private comment was submitted.
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