SGT William Edward Crowley
13th AF, 307th BG, 372nd BS
KIA 15 July, 1944
Near Yap Island in the Pacific
We'll listen together to some swell jazz later on, Dad.
I've just brought my Dad to town. For 50 some years he's been a name on a wall in Manila,
and I didn't even know. Today he's here near me, facing the sea of his burial.
Bill Crowley loved jazz. He had green eyes. I know these things are true. This pleases me.
His only child has green eyes and loves jazz.
Who was William Edward Crowley from Chicago, Illinois? There is no one left to ask. Records
tell me some things, however.
Irish Catholics have always been in plentiful supply in Chicago and no less so on August 18, 1921,
when a new one was added to the crop. Three other Crowley kids had already been presented to the
Windy City before baby Billy, and another one would follow before his mother's death would ensure no more.
Before enlisting in February of 1941 and asking for overseas duty, Billy Crowley had made his First Holy
Communion and had been Confirmed, (photos of a little boy in knickers attest to that) and had been duly
educated at St. Mel's and St. Philips.
He came home on furlough in July, 1942 and "brought a girl home with him," says a notation in his stepmother's
diary. In August he asked for a loan to get married (same source). Though she clearly was not fond of "the girl,"
she must have provided it because Bill and Miriam "Mimi" Poller were married in Biloxi on August 22, 1942, while
he was in radio school. While there, they created another little Crowley, later to be named Sharon Leigh, born
September 20, 1943.
The following July, one Crowley would be traded for that new life. Bill Crowley, Armorer Gunner, 13th Air Force,
307th Bombardier Group, 372nd Bomb Squadron, was killed as the result of a mid-air collision with another B24 on
a bombing mission over Yap Island on July 15, 1944. No crew members of either bomber ever returned to Chicago or
How is it possible to miss someone I've never met? I don't know. But at one o'clock on November 15, 2002, when
I first touched "SGT William E. Crowley" on the flat granite plaque I arranged be placed at Fort Rosecrans National
Cemetery in San Diego, I missed my Dad.
-- Sharon Crowley Edwards --