Bruce Ffoulkes, Jr.

NAME
Bruce Ffoulkes, Jr.
NICKNAME
SERVICE NUMBER
O-11443
UNIT
VMF-214
Pilot
HOME OF RECORD
301 Poett Road, San Mateo, CA
NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Irene Wood
DATE OF BIRTH
September 3, 1918
ENTERED SERVICE
MONTH DAY YEAR
DATE OF LOSS
December 23, 1943
REGION
Papua New Guinea
CAMPAIGN / AREA
New Britain / Rabaul
CASUALTY TYPE
Missing In Action
Declared Dead January 11, 1946
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Bruce Ffoulkes, Jr. was a Marine fighter pilot assigned to VMF-214 – the “Black Sheep Squadron” – based out of Torokina Airfield, Bougainville.

On 23 December 1943, Lieutenant Ffoulkes flew Corsair #443 (F4U-1 17443) as part of a fighter sweep aimed at the town and harbor of Rabaul. The “Black Sheep” arrived in the wake of a bomber strike and waded into a mixed force of approximately forty “Zeke” and “Tony” fighters. Ffoulkes went after a lone Zeke over St. George’s Channel – and was never seen again. He was heard calling for a position, but never rejoined his flight.

Ffoulkes was declared dead on 11 January 1946.

INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Air Medal, Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
First Lieutenant
(posthumous Captain)
STATUS OF REMAINS
Missing in action
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

Biography:
Coming soon. Contact the webmaster for more information about this Marine.

Junior Heier, who was leading the second section, hit pay dirt. Like the others, he and Bruce Ffoulkes started the fight at eighteen thousand feet. After spotting fifteen Zekes crossing St. George’s Channel a thousand feet above, Heier climbed two thousand feet, located a Zeke to his left, and swung around to commence a deflection shot from three o’clock…. The crippled fighter eased down until it hit the water in a flat glide, then bounced and skittered across the surface. It finally came to rest on the surface and remained afloat as Heier passed overhead. Bruce Ffoulkes, still on his wing as he recharged his guns and began climbing toward a cloud, called “Where are you going?”

Heier radioed back: “Climbing out from under; we’re under the fight. We have to climb out, then come back on top.”

“Well, it’s behind us,” Ffoulkes responded. “I’m going back.”

“Don’t climb up under it, you’ll get your ass shot off,” warned Heier, but Ffoulkes insisted. “Good luck,” Heier called. He never saw his wingman again.

– Bruce Gamble, The Black Sheep


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