In Memory of
Army 2 Lt.
Thomas F. Archer
September 4, 1919 – September 1, 1942
Killed in Acton in the Egypt area of the Middle East
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 “a prominent athlete and student...” 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:
I’m very sorry that I could not have written you immediately
after Tom’s death…
Tom was assigned to my crew as the bombardier some time during the first part
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 navigator’s
compartment to use the hatch
but could not. Tom was in the compartment jumping up and down trying to get
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 pilot’s 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.
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.