Flight Officer Stanley C. Price was one of the pilots assigned to the 35th Photo Recon Squadron during World War II, flying the Lockheed F-5E Photo Lightning in combat in the China-Burma-India Theater.

Flight Officer Stanley C. Price flew in the 35th Photo Recon Squadron late during World War II.  (Courtesy Find a Grave)

Flight Officer Stanley C. Price flew in the 35th Photo Recon Squadron late during World War II. (Courtesy Find a Grave)

Review of squadron historical records indicates he was a late-war replacement pilot and flew with Flight “E” of the squadron at Chihkiang Airfield, one of the forward deployed detachments of the unit. His earliest mission that is recorded is an unusual night photo recon as co-pilot in a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber (# 826) flown to reconnoiter the Siang River area between Chang Sha and Yochow, and the highway between the two points. It was a successful five and a half hour mission.

Records indicate he flew four more recon missions in July, including one on 18 July to cover airfields in the Canton-Hong Kong area with F-5E # 808. He flew F-5E # 823 on a two and a half hour mission to Lingling on 22 July. On 26 July 1945 he flew a photo recon in F-5E # 802 of the railroad running from Kiukiang to Nanchang he accomplished between 0900 and 1300 that day. The last mission he flew in July was a four hour flight on 28 July in F-5E # 823 to Wucheng.

Two unidentified pilots of the 35PRS shake hands during the war by a Redhawk squadron F-5E Photo Lightning.  The original caption indicated the pilot on the left just flew his first mission.  Given the number of mission symbols on the aircraft (possibly F-5E-2-LO 43-28291, squadron # 802, which flew with “E” Flight at Chihkiang), this is probably a late war picture.  The man on the left appears to be wearing Flight Officer insignia on his short collar – could he be F/O Stanley C. Price?  (Courtesy Chester Krejci family)

Two unidentified pilots of the 35PRS shake hands during the war by a Redhawk squadron F-5E Photo Lightning. The original caption indicated the pilot on the left just flew his first mission. Given the number of mission symbols on the aircraft (possibly F-5E-2-LO 43-28291, squadron # 802, which flew with “E” Flight at Chihkiang), this is probably a late war picture. The man on the left appears to be wearing Flight Officer insignia on his short collar – could he be F/O Stanley C. Price? (Courtesy Chester Krejci Family)

Mission records for August 1945 are not available to this web log writer, so it is not known how many more combat missions Price may have flown in the last weeks of the war. But another source indicates Price was involved in a post-war landing accident while flying F-5E serial number 44-24914 (squadron # 819) at the squadron headquarters base at Chanyi Airfield on 8 September 1945. The aircraft was apparently destroyed.

On 18 September the squadron left Chanyi by truck for the staging area at Luliang, China, and processing in preparation for return to the US. On 24 September, three C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft flew the unit from China to Barrackpore, India, just north of Calcutta.

From there the squadron moved by truck north to nearby Replacement Depot #3, US Forces India-Burma Theater, at Camp Kanchrapara. The squadron had transited this camp after arriving in India in 1944, and it was here they waited about two weeks for transport from Calcutta by ship home to the east coast of the USA.

F/O Price survived his operational flying in the war but not the environment of the immediate post-war period. One source indicates that he died on 26 October 1945 aboard ship seven days out of Calcutta without listing a cause. Another source (Find a Grave) indicates he died from Diptheria in India.

It is unknown to this web log writer the exact circumstances of F/O Price’s death, but it could be he died on the way home aboard ship from Diptheria which he contracted somewhere in the CBI.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Diphtheria (dif-THEER-e-uh) is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat, which can block your airway, causing you to struggle for breath.

Diphtheria is extremely rare in the United States and other developed countries, thanks to widespread vaccination against the disease.

Medications are available to treat diphtheria. However, in advanced stages, diphtheria can damage your heart, kidneys and nervous system. Even with treatment, diphtheria can be deadly — up to 3 percent of people who get diphtheria die of it. The rate is higher for children under 15.”

In World War II, the US Army recorded 5,700 cases of this disease between January, 1942, and December, 1945 – it did not reach an epidemic level of infection in any theater of war. But there were 125 deaths from these cases and it could very well be that F/O Price was one of these.

Seventy years ago, F/O Stanley C. Price became the last member of the 35th Photo Recon Squadron to die in World War II. A total of eight 35PRS men died in the war, and another three former members of the squadron did too after reassignment to the 32PRS. Price’s body was subsequently returned to the United States and he is buried at the Lakeside Cemetery in Muskegon, Michigan, at Plot 76-2.

No one likes to be forgotten, although all too often people do forget, for many different reasons.  But on this day, we remember Stanley C. Price for his service and sacrifice for our nation during World War II.

Grave of Flight Officer Stanley C. Price at Lakeside Cemetery (Courtesy Find a Grave)

Grave of Flight Officer Stanley C. Price at Lakeside Cemetery (Courtesy Find a Grave)

References:

35 PRS official histories

Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research (AAIR) website, Overseas Accidents Database results for September, 1945, at: http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AARmonthly/Sep1945O.htm

“Another Interlude, at Camp Kanchrapara,” 35 PRS web log, at:
https://35prs.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/another-interlude-at-camp-kanchrapara/

Stanley C. Price, Find a Grave Memorial, at: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=72328710

Diptheria description from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diphtheria/basics/definition/con-20022303

McGuinness, Aims C., M. D., Diseases Caused by Bacteria, CHAPTER X, Diphtheria, at: http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/PM4/CH10.Diphtheria.htm

“Memorial Day 2014 and the 35th Photo Recon Squadron,” 35PRS web log, at: https://35prs.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/memorial-day-2014-and-the-35th-photo-recon-squadron/comment-page-1/

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