In Memory of
Army 2 Lt.
Thomas F. Archer
Ipswich, S.D.
Edmunds County
September 4, 1919 Ė September 1, 1942
Killed in Acton in the Egypt area of the Middle East

Thomas F. Archer

Thomas F. Archer served our country as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. Thomas was born at Ramona, South Dakota, on September 4, 1919.  He was the second child of Frank and Josephine Archer.   He had one older sister, Marie.  Thomas was a well educated man who went to state college in Brookings, where he was ďa prominent athlete and student...Ē and member of the ROTC.

Archer received flight training at Montgomery, Alabama, and Maxwell Field, Texas, and on June 11, 1942, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant bombardier at Midland, Texas.   2nd Lt. Archer then went overseas to Africa and was immediately assigned to combat.

2 Lt. Thomas F. Archer was killed in action in the combat mission on September 1, 1942.  His parents were informed almost a year after his death.  A letter came from Captain Herbert Crateau, pilot of the plane, in 1945:

Iím very sorry that I could not have written you immediately after Tomís deathÖ
Tom was assigned to my crew as the bombardier some time during the first part of JulyÖ
After one particularly heavy explosion the co pilot screamed a warning. Looked out the left
window in time to see our plane slither into another plane which had been flying in close
formation with us. Our plane went into a spin. I warned the crew to abandon ship and went thru       
emergency procedure. The co pilot attempted to get to the navigatorís compartment to use the hatch
but could not. Tom was in the compartment jumping up and down trying to get hatch open. 
Seeing I could not use that hatch I opened the upper hatch and went out using my chute. The co pilot
followed. The Germans picked us up right away and we were taken to the wreckage of the plane.

The body of Tom was in the pilotís compartment where he had managed to get before the plane went down. The co pilot and myself took the bodies from the plane, wrapped them in their parachute silk and buried them close to the plane. We did not remove any thing from the bodies.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Tiffany A. Ness, 8th Grade West, Spearfish  Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, October 4, 2000.  Information for this entry was provided by Mr. Pete J. Geffre, Ipswich, South Dakota, brother-in-law of Army 2 Lt. Thomas F. Archer.