John D. Ellis was born in 1915 in California. He served in the 577th Bomber Squadron, 392nd Bomber Group, Heavy, as a Second Lieutenant and Pilot on the B-24H #42-95023 (call letter Y "a/c #023"), during World War II.
At 05.28 hrs at Wendling USAAF Airfield Norfolk, 2nd Lt Ellis was the third Liberator to take off that morning, but the weather was a major factor this day, the south-east of England was covered with dense cloud from 500ft to 10.000ft, so assembly at 17,500ft over base was chaotic with B-24 Liberators unable to form into their correct groups, before heading south on Longitude =-0.0000 this was one of the main flight path for outward bombing missions to Europe, Juvincourt Airfield, N/W of Reims France, was the intended destination for 2nd Lt Ellis' B-24.
Ellis had just cross the A233 (road) one mile S/E of Biggin Hill, suddenly the Liberator had a loss of power (engines) this then caused the aircraft to stall (nose high) peeled off and spiralled downwards into cloud at about 10,000ft this was confirmed by Capt. Muldoon, he was two miles to the west of Ellis, also 2nd Lt Sewell, 2nd Lt Larson, F/O Pierce, 2nd Lt, Scharf, 2nd Lt Haines left similar reports, some were over six miles behind Ellis at the time, eventually Ellis and co-pilot Stalsby plus engineer Jankowski must have manage to gain some control for 27 miles flying north and coming out of the clouds at 4-500 ft. close to Cheshunt, ending up to crash-land on the west side the Cambridge Arterial Road at Maxwell’s Farm. 2nd Lt Ellis and co-pilot Stalsby had a desperate malfunction condition on all four engines. It was widely believed in Cheshunt that the pilot deliberately steered the aircraft away from the town and in gratitude, the townspeople of Cheshunt and Waltham Cross erected a Memorial Plaque on the wall of the Visitors Building at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England with an identical plaque in the library at Cheshunt. The B198 road (first on the left of the A10 northbound after leaving the M25) which runs near the crash site has been renamed Lieutenant Ellis Way after the pilot had managed to avoid crashing into the nearby town. One of the firemen who attended the scene secured funding for a permanent crash memorial at the scene.
2LT Ellis is now buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
B-24H #42-95023 crew: Pilot, 2nd Lt Ellis, John D.
Co-Pilot, F/O Stalsby, Samuel C.
Navigator, 2nd Lt Cox, Robert B.
Engineer, T/Sgt Jankowski, Stanley F.
Radio Operator, T/Sgt Holling, John H.
Gunner, S/Sgt Hultengren, Clare W.
Gunner, S/Sgt Minick, Frank Jr.
Gunner, S/Sgt Cable, Jay V.
Gunner, S/Sgt Shaeffer, Jack D.
Gunner, S/Sgt McGinley, William C.
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, www.abmc.gov, www.b24.net, www.cheshuntatwar.co.uk