Stanford Adams

I had the opportunity to speak at my DAR meeting last night about many things. Our program included a session where everyone brought a family photo or some heirloom and a story. I forgot about that, but through the magic of technology I always have my genealogy files available from my phone so the first thing I thought about was this photo:


Stanford Adams enlistment photo

The story behind this photo is that it is what got me into genealogy this most recent time. I’ve been interested in genealogy since I was in high school, but I was always under the impression that my family was “all done.” So when I married a man whose father had passed away when he was 16, I thought I would try again. I asked his mother all kinds of questions about the family, but hit so many brick walls that I gave up. I never thought to ask about her family. As is so often the case, however, she passed away unexpectedly before I could talk about her genealogy.

We found in her things after her death several old photos. Many were unlabeled. One of the photos, though, was labeled “Stanford Adams”. It was an enlistment photograph. I joined to try to find out who he was. My mother-in-law’s maiden name was Adams, so we figured he must have been related. She was an only child, so he had to have been an uncle or great uncle. Let me back up a bit and mention that my husband and I had bought our house from his mother and stepfather several years prior to this. When they moved, they left a TON of stuff they didn’t go thru, as they were moving to a smaller residence. My husband remembered the stack of pictures that was left in the garage, and pulled those out. Among the framed photos was Stanford’s purple heart certificate and letter from President Roosevelt, along with a photo of a group in front of a B-17 bomber. So now we knew when and where he died. We just didn’t know how he was related. My mother in law never spoke of any aunts or uncles except one – Aunt Roberta lived in Florida, and her father visited her in the winters. In the summers he lived in Maine with my husband’s family. A quick google search of Stanford Adams revealed that he was a member of the Joel Gatewood crew of the “Chief Sly II” the 322nd Bomb Squad, 91st Bomb Group, Maine. It was shot down during the Schweinfurt raid of 17 August 1943, with a loss of 5 crewman. Lt. Joel Gatewood and navigator 2nd Lt. Daniel A. Downey were two of the four that survived, ejecting from the aircraft and spending 20 months as POWs. I was able to figure out that Stanford was indeed an uncle to my mother in law. After much research, I eventually learned that there were 8 members of her father’s family. I have been researching this family ever since, hitting multiple brick walls, especially with her grandmother.

Chief Sly II Joel Gatewood Crew before their mission

Chief Sly II Joel Gatewood Crew before their mission


Stanford was born 9 Sept 1913 in Limestone, Aroostook, Maine. He was the 6th living child of Robie Adams and Crissie Cora Johnson. Crissie was born in New Denmark, New Brunswick as best as I can figure out; and Robie was born to Benjamin Adams and Ellen Tuttle in Limestone. He enlisted from Governor’s Island, New York 18 Aug. 1842. He was unmarried and no children.

From about the Chief Sly II:

42-5139 Delivered: Cheyenne 2/10/42; West Palm Beach 14/12/42;
Assigned: 322BS/91BG [LG-V] Bassingbourn 13/3/43; MIA
Schweinfurt 17/8/43 Pilot: Joel Gatewood, Navigator: Dan Downy,
Bombardier: Harry Hammond, Waist Gunner: Tom Parfitt (4POW-all
caught after nine days at Saarbrucken), Co-Pilot: George Riegel,
Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Ray Canada, Radio Operator: Dan
Butler, Ball Turret Gunner: Stanford Adams, Waist Gunner: George
Hite, Tail Gunner: Fred Pearce (6KIA); Enemy aircraft KO’d #3 & #4
and wing on fire, crashed Geisenheim, 12 miles W of Weisbaden,
Germany. MACR 276. CHIEF SLY II.
Source: B-17 Master Log – Dave Osbourne

Another great resource for the story is from “Mary Ruth” Memories of Mobile…We Still Remember Chapter 4, “One Came Home, The Stories of Those Left Behind.” 

We wish we got to know you, Stanford. Thank you for your service to our country.

Stanford Purple Heart Letter from president

Purple Heart Letter

Stanford is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial  Saint-Avold Departement de la Moselle Lorraine, France. Someone has created a memorial on Findagrave for him, as well: Stanford Adams. I hope to get a photo of his grave sometime soon.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 9:34 am and is filed under Adams and Merry Descendants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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