|Lt. Francis Moke shown with the crew of the "Sweatin' It Out" and with his wife and wedding party.|
Francis Eugene "Gene" Moke never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on August 3, 1917 in Missouri. His parents were also both born in Missouri. Three of his grandparents were born in Germany. His father worked as a locomotive engineer. Francis had a twin sister. It is possible that the twins were adopted because the 1920's census does not show the Moke's had any children. By 1940 Francis had completed two years of college. He was living in Fulton, Missouri and worked as an insect exterminator at the state hospital.
Gene married Ethel Irene Bellamy on June 29, 1941. He was not quick to leave his wife and did not enlist until Christmas Eve 1943. He was assigned to the Army Air Corp and became a 2nd lieutenant in the 838th Bombardment Squadron, 487th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force.
The 487th Bomb Group was equipped with B-24 Liberators. It arrived in England in April 1944. Its first targets in May were related to supporting the invasion of France.
Early on the morning of June 6, 1944 Lt. Moke learned that his mission on that day would be to bomb the road network intersection at Caan to support the English troops landing on the beaches that day. He was the navigator on the "Sweatin' It Out" which took off with the rest of the 838th Bomb Squadron from Lavenham, England. While over the English Channel his plane suffered catastrophic engine failure -- all four engines went dead. The plane went down in the channel and there were no survivors.
Lt. Moke's cenotaph memorial is at Evergreen Burial Park in New Philadelphia, Ohio. His widow remarried after his death and died in 1992.
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To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY
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