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March 5, 2010

Oroville Mercury Register
June 16, 1943
Oroville Gunner Is Missing After Raid Over Europe
Oroville, (Butte County), May 23
Mr. and Mrs. Ira Wixom of Thermalito were advised in a telegram from the war department that a son, Technical Sergeant Wilton Wixom, United States Army Air Forces, is missing. Wixom, waist gunner in a Flying Fortress, has been unreported since May 14th after going out from England on a bombing raid over Europe. Wixom entered the service in February, 1942. A brother, Forrest is an electrician’s mate second class, with a navy construction battalion in the South Pacific, and another brother, Lionel, is an army private. Sergeant Wixom was a welder in Richmond before entering the service. He had worked on a dredge in Alaska and for a box factory at Gray’s Flat, Plumas County. He was graduated from the Oroville High School in 1933. Wixom Missing In Air Sweep Over Europe Tech. Sgt.. Wilton Wixom, waist gunner in a Flying Fortress, has been missing since May 14 when he participated in a raid over Europe, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Wixom, of Thermalito, were notified today by the war department. The telegram gave no details, but Wixom’s plane is believed to have been shot down in one of the many recent bombing attacks launched from England on Hitler-occupied countries of the continent. A twin brother, Wilbur, is a welder in Alameda. Other brothers are Glenn, Oroville mail carrier, and Clyde, a PGE employee. The missing man is a brother of Mrs. Gladys Lambert of Oroville and Mrs. Verde Folden of San Francisco.

From a letter to Mrs. May. Wixom
May 19, 1943- HEADQUARTERS AAF STATION 110 APO 634, 19 MAY 1943

Mrs. May V. Wixom, Rt. #3, Box 206, Oroville, California.
Dear Mrs. Wixom, You have been notified that your son, T/Sgt. Wilton A. Wixom, is officially reported missing in action. I recognize that this announcement must cause you more anxiety than any of us can possibly imagine. We share this feeling with you because he is a valuable asset to this organization and a good friend. Your son has always set a shining example in the performance of his duty. We will humbly try to do what is required of us remembering his constant devotion to the task which was assigned him. He has contributed his share to the victory which we all desire, and you have made an immeasurable contribution toward that same victory through him. We want you to know that he will be profoundly missed by his many friends in this organization, nor will the time ever come when he will be forgotten by any of us. Our hopes and prayers are joined with yours during these difficult days.
Respectfully yours, W. A. Hatcher, Jr., Lt. Colonel, Air Corps Commanding.
(to be continued next week)

OMR June 30, 1945
Meeker Tells How French Saved Him
His Plane Shot Down

(This moving story, written in September, 1944, when Sgt. Harry Meeker returned from overseas was submitted to the censor at that time. It was held up to protect the underground of France from the Germans. It is now released.-Editor.)
By Naomi Cazier
Out of the bomb-torn rural lands of Rennes, France comes a story of heroism and devotion that returned Staff Sgt. Harry Meeker of Oroville safely back to his own lines after he had been shot down into enemy territory. Hidden and aided for two months by the French underground, Meeker owes his life to the patriotic peasant’s of Rennes, who risked their own lives to protect him. “We took off June 12,” Meeker related, “with instructions to destroy a certain target. Capt. Bill Turner of Columbus, Ohio, was pilot of our B-24 bomber. Turner was 27 years old and a swell fellow to know. He had been in longer than any of us. I was tail gunner. There were 10 other members of the crew.”
(To be continued next week)

Stu’s Notes: The above two stories have something in common, they both jumped out of air planes over enemy territory after they hit the ground the stories are quite different. We know a lot about what happened to Harry Meeker on the ground, but not much of what happened to Wilton Wixom, hopefully a relative will know more. Thank you Oroville Veterans Memorial committee member Alan Wixom for the History of one of his Families Heroes.

The Native Sons of the Golden West are hosting a Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner to benefit the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at the South Side Community Center, 2959 Lower Wyandotte Rd.. Tickets are available at the Oroville Chamber of Commerce Office. $10 each. The doors and bar open at 5:30pm and the dinner is at 7:00pm. There will be raffles and a desert table. You can call Kent Fowler at 693-1267 for more information.