WWII Marine SBD Dive Bomber Pilot Color Photo Identified – Lt. Francis. A Watrous


I recently started researching my collection of 100+ images from a Marine SBD Dive Bomber unit and came across an awesome database that helped clear up a  lot of questions regarding identification of some of the pilots who posed for the camera.  Luckily, the men were wearing leather name tags which allowed for a partial identification.  Recently I discovered the Marine Corps Muster Role section of ancestry.com.  This allowed for a full identification of all the men that served with Lt. Walter Huff, the original owner of the collection.  With this in hand I was able to track down the names of a few pilots who served with Walter.

Lt. Francis Allen Watrous

I always knew that the last name of the man in the slide was Watrous, but had nothing else to work from.  Having discovered the muster role of the 332nd, I easily scrolled to the last section of the Lieutenants and found Mr. Francis A. Watrous listed.

Marine Muster Role – National Archives

From there I did a quick google search and found an obituary with a reference to Mr. Watrous.  The obituary was for his wife, who passed away in 2010, but referred to her first husband:

“……….. was predeceased by two husbands, Francis Allen Watrous, who was a U.S. Marine dive bomber pilot in World War II and was killed in a plane crash in 1947″

After a search through 1947 newspapers I was able to come up with an article explaining the sad death of Mr. Watrous.

Francis and his brother Arthur worked for Fleetwing Air Cargo Co. as deliverymen of baby chicks.  The brothers crashed on an overcast morning in July of 1947 while delivering 7,000 baby chicks from Wallingford, CT to Newmarket, VA.

And a recent addition to the post from the relative of Mr. Watrous (Thanks to Chris S.):

Francis Poses for the Camera

Francis Poses for the Camera

Fran and Lareine Pose in a Photobooth

Fran and Lareine Pose in a Photobooth

Francis and his Dive Bomber

Francis and his Dive Bomber

VMSB 332 on Midway

VMSB 332 on Midway

VSMB back 001