World War II Honor Roll

Howard Leon Chatelaine

Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Force


367th Bomber Squadron
306th Bomber Group(Heavy)

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: January 11, 1944
Buried at: Locustwood Memorial Park
                  Route 70 & Cooper Landing Road           
                  Cherry Hill NJ
Awards: Purple Heart

SERGEANT HOWARD LEON CHATELAINE was born on November 24, 1923 to Louis and Emma Chatelaine. He was a 1941 graduate of Collingswood (NJ) High School.  He was an aviation enthusiast, and had flown small planes at the Pine Valley airfield before the war.

Howard Chatelaine enlisted on his 19th birthday in the Army. Sent to Camp Lee VA for his basic training, he qualified for the Air Corps, and was sent to Miami FL. On January 1, 1943 he was sent to Air Force Technical School in Amarillo TX, where he spent five months, graduated with honors, and was promoted to Sergeant. On the last day of May he was transferred to the Air Force Flexible Gunnery School at Yucca AZ for a two month course. He arrived at Salt Lake City UT on August 5, 1943 and was subsequently sent to Ephrata WA, where he joined a B-17 crew as a flight engineer and top turret gunner. He was sent, with his crew, to Spokane WA for flight training on September 4, 1943, and then on to Pendleton Field WA for training with the 383rd Bomber Group, where preparations were made to go overseas. On October 25, he flew to Grand Island NE for final preparations were completed. Hs crew arrived at the East Coast point of embarkation on November 11, and he arrived in England on his 20th birthday, November 24, 1943.

Sergeant Howard Chatelaine was killed on his third mission, an attack on German aircraft factories at Brunswick, Oschersleben, and Halberstadt, on January 11 1944. Initially listed as missing, his loss was reported in the February 5, 1944 evening edition of the Camden Courier-Post. A later newspaper report on March 15, 1944 reported that at least one of the crew had survived the crash and had been taken prisoner.

His mother said at the time, “We were shocked to hear that his career in England was cut short, but we still have hopes that he may be a prisoner of war.”

Sadly, his death was later confirmed. Howard Chatelaine’s body was found in Holland, and he was buried in a Dutch Cemetery at Epe. The wife of the caretaker of the cemetery sent a picture of his grave to his family in the United States. After the U.S. Army arrived, his body was removed to the American Cemetery at Margareten, Holland. 

After the war, Howard Chatelaine was brought home, and was buried in Locustwood Memorial Park on March 26, 1949, in Cherry Hill NJ. He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leon Chatelaine, of 213 Toledo Avenue, Westmont NJ, a sister, Mrs. Robert Davis, and his brother, Raymond Chatelain.

Toledo Avenue
Westmont NJ

July 2004

Photo Courtesy
Von Lechner