From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

David Laird '42

Date of birth: September 20, 1919

Date of death: July 26, 1944

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

David Drexel Laird resigned on June 1, 1940 because he was “deficient in studies, second term’s work. Recommended to be dropped. Permitted to resign.”

The Class of 1942 graduated on December 19, 1941, less than two weeks after the United States entered World War II. The class had previously been scheduled to graduate in February 1942.


From WWII Talk:

AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/43/787 Commonwealth War Graves records Aircraft Type: Baltimore Serial number: FW 317 Radio call sign: Unit: ATTD 13 SQN RAF


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 Force: Air 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 in Memorial Hall.