William Ashley Haines was born on November 23, 1924 in Lancaster, Ohio. He served in the 711th Bomber Squadron, 447th Bomber Group, Heavy, as a Sergeant and Ball Turret Gunner on the B-17 #43-38245, Leach's crew, during World War II.
On the morning of 2nd October 1944 the 447th U.S.A.A.F. Bomb Group (who were stationed at nearby Rattlesden Airfield) incurred a tragic loss following a mid-air accident in the skies over Kettlebaston, England. Whilst climbing into the sun and broken cloud to join formation, the B17G 'Flying Fortress' of Captain Leach (711th Squadron, aircraft no.43-38245) ascended into the similar bomber of Lt. Wilder (of 710th Squadron, no.44-6460). Leach's propeller cut into Wilders fuselage severing the tail, causing both the heavily laden planes to plummet to the ground. Leach's plane crashed at Wetherden Hall in Hitcham with the loss of all crew, and most of Wilders, at Treacles Farm in Kettlebaston.
There was however one very fortunate survivor. The navigator from Wilders plane (2nd Lt. Eliot Mishler) somehow managed to parachute to safety from the stricken aircraft. He not only survived the crash but also the war.
SGT Haines is now buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
The crew lost on 43-38245:
Capt Clifford T Leach - Pilot
2nd Lt David W Bowen - Co Pilot
1st Lt Donald B. Rubin - Navigator
1st Lt William L Rogers - Bombardier
T/Sgt Earl J Riggs - Top Turret Gunner/Engineer
S/Sgt Clyde R Klee - Radio Operator/Waist Gunner
Sgt William A Haines - Ball Turret Gunner
Sgt John K Henry - Waist Gunner
S/Sgt Carl S Reitzel Jr - Tail Gunner
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, http://www.kettlebaston.com