William Joseph Hovanec was born on February 1, 1921, in Royal, Pennsylvania. He was the son of William Hovanec and Mary K Pollock Knizner.
William resided in Mahoning County, Ohio prior to the war. He enlisted in the Army on February 2, 1943, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was noted as being employed in the mechanical treatment of metals and also as Single, without dependents.
During World War II, William served in the 850th Bomber Squadron, 490th Bomber Group, Heavy, as a Staff Sergeant and Radio Operator on the B-24 #42-51187.
On July 18, 1944, the crew took off at 11:03 PM at Harrington Airfield in England on Operation "Dick 28A" for the Maquis Camille at Peinture Drop Zone. Their plane collided with Halifax LL364 NF-B of 138 Squadron and crashed between Marigny-l'Eglise and Mazignien-Coutolle, France. The two aircraft involved flew over the area without replying to the signals, heading towards the Eureka situated about two miles from the drop zone. After turning over a nearby village, probably in order to drop on DICK 28A. The other aircraft turned towards the Eureka, crossing over the route of "DICK 89", and the mid-air collision occurred at 0100hrs near Marigny-l'Eglise. Unfortunately, all of the B-24's crew members were killed in this incident. Following the accident, the bodies of the airmen had been watched over by residents for ten days because the Germans had not given permission to bury them. After ten days, the mayor decided to proceed without their agreement to their burial in the village cemetery of Marigny-l'Église.
SSgt Hovanec's final resting place is in the Epinal American Cemetery, Dinozé, France.
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, francecrashes39-45.net, www.abmc.gov