From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

David Laird '42

Date of birth: September 20, 1919

Date of death: July 26, 1944

Age: 24

Naval Academy Register

David Drexel Laird was admitted to the Naval Academy from New York on June 23, 1938 at age 18 years 9 months. He resigned on June 1, 1940 because he was "deficient in studies, second term’s work. Recommended to be dropped. Permitted to resign."


From WWII Talk:

AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/43/787 Commonwealth War Graves records
Aircraft Type: Baltimore
Serial number: FW 317


Baltimore FW317 took off from Cessina airfield at 2215 hours on 26 July 1944 to carry out an armed recce in the Florence/Bologna area. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Two other aircraft from the Squadron on the same mission reported seeing an aircraft crash at 2318 hours on 26/7/44 in the Pontassieve area. The weather was fine with a moonlight night, no cloud and good visibility.


RCAF Flt Lt Laird, D D Captain (Pilot) †
RAF FO McCarter, J P (Navigator Bomb Aimer) †
RNZAF WO J Finlow, (Wireless Operator Air) †
RAAF 405987 WO F W West, (Wireless Operator Air) †

No 5 Missing Research & Enquiry Unit reported in 1947 that "the wreck of FW317 was located near Firenzuola, and according to a farmer on whose land the aircraft crashed the crew of four were killed." They are buried in the Beachhead War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. Anzio is a coastal town 70kms south of Rome.

In Memory of Flight Lieutenant David Drenel Laird
J/21258, 13 (R.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Canadian Air Force who died on 26 July 1944
F/Lt David Drenel Laird was born in Johnson, Iowa 20 September 1919. He was the son of Donald A. and Hilda D. Laird. At the time of enlistment he had been working as a radio repairman in Baltimore, Md. He roomed at the home of a former neighbour from Iowa, hence the Baltimore connection in RCAF Casualty Lists.

From the Canadian archives:

Surname: LAIRD
Given Name(s): DAVID DRENEL
Date of Birth: 20 Sep 1919
Date of Death: 26 Jul 1944
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J21258
Reference: RG 24
Volume: 27933
Item Number: 19313

He is buried in Italy.

Though he was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was serving with a Royal Air Force squadron when he was lost.

Memorial Hall Error

The Killed in Action scroll in Memorial Hall has his middle name as "Drexel"; all other references are "Drenel".

Class of 1942

David is one of 82 members of the Class of 1942 on Virtual Memorial Hall.