Crandell, Leonard John.

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Crandell, Leonard John, born 03-09-1918 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois,  one of the six sons and one sister named Elsie in his family of Mr. William & Mrs. Elsie Crandell of 619 Fairholm in Peoria, husband of Mrs. Laverne Crandell of Peoria and father of one daughter Janice Sue Crandell.

Leonard enlisted in the US Air Corps on 28-10-1942, and received his commission at Frederich, Oklahoma in March of 1944,and was flying in England by November of 1944. During his flying time, Leonard and his crew bailed out of “Fearless Fosdick”

   just north of Paris,France when the B-24 Liberator ran out of fuel. He returned to duty two days later. He leaves behind his wife LaVerne, his daughter Janice, one sister, Elsie {d.2008}, and two other brothers, Lloyd {d.1998} who is with the Marine Corps, and Joseph at home. Another brother, SSgt. Ralph Timothy Crandell was killed eight days earlier on March 16, 1945, with Patton’s 3rd Army. Two of his brothers, Thomas and Floyd, drowned in the Illinois River on separate occasions.

Awards: Purple Heart, Medal, Pilot Wings, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, American Campaign Medal, European Campaign Medal with Three Battle Stars, Army Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal.Siblings: Thomas Crandell, Ralph Crandell (Lorraine Davenport), Floyd Crandell, Lloyd Crandell (Mary Connolly), Elsie Crandell (Richard Hodel) Joseph Crandell (Barbara Larimore)

A series of tragic events runs through the story of the family. In February of 1930, the oldest child Thomas drowned at the age of 15 along with his cousin Frank, who had tried to rescue him when their boat capsized in the Illinois River. The boys were gathering wild cattails for a school play. Four years later, grandma’s husband William, only 41 years old, died of tuberculosis after a long stay in a sanitarium. She was 38. Another four years after that, on a hot summer day in July of 1938, her 15-year-old son Floyd was floating with friends on the same river and drowned, as his identical twin, Lloyd, and younger brother Ralph looked on helplessly.

Just a few years later, the family said goodbye to three of the four remaining sons as they volunteered for service and shipped overseas—one in the Army Air Corps, one in the Marines, and one in the Army. The family lost two of those sons, Leonard and Ralph, in March of the same year. The third son, Lloyd, returned safely, and made Peoria his home for the rest of his life.

Ralph was a tank commander in George Smith Patton’s Third Army.  He was killed on 16-03-1945—the last to die in the 778th Tank Battalion. He left behind a young wife and an infant son. First Lieutenant Leonard J. Crandell, was the pilot of a B-24J Liberator, 8th Air Force, stationed at Shipdham Airfield in England with the 44th Bomb Group. He flew 21 missions over Germany. He died eight days after his brother Ralph, on March 24. The two brothers never knew of each other’s fate.

Death and burial ground of Crandell, Leonard John.


Lieutenant U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II Leonard Crandell was killed in action on 24-03-1945, age 26, while piloting a B-24 Liberator named “Kaybar” over Germany with the 67th Bomber Squadron,44th Bomber Group, Heavy, 8th Air Force out of Shipdham, England. Leonard’s B-24 Liberator was the last plane lost in the 67th Bomber Squardon. Lieutenant Leonard Crandell is buried at the  US Military Cemetery at Margraten, Holland. Rijkswek Margraten


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