Robert Campbell Simmons
Born: July 9, 1920
Hometown: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Service: U.S. Army Air Corps
Position / Rank: Second Lieutenant
Class: 1939 USMC Cadet Corps
Date / Place of death: September 27, 1944 / Elmside
Farm, near Nailstone, England
Date / Place of burial: Cambridge American Cemetery, Plot E, Row 6, Grave 1
U.S. Maritime Commission records indicate that Robert C. Simmons was a member of
the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps from June 27 to November 18, 1939.
Robert C. Simmons subsequently enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on July 23, 1942
as an Aviation Cadet and was promoted to Second Lieutenant on October 7, 1943.
Subsequently, he completed Bombardier School and was assigned to fly B-17G
bombers with the 849th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 490th Bomb Group, Eighth Air
Force operating out of Eye Air Base, Suffolk, England.
On the night of September 27, 1944 Robert C. Simmons was a member of the crew of
a B-17G named “Heavenly Body” (tail number 43-37776)on a night low-level training
mission. At 2045 local time the aircraft’s nose dropped and its port wing struck the
ground. The resulting crash killed all of those aboard.
At the time Second Lieutenant Simmons was killed, his unit was flying strategic
bombing missions over Germany. U.S. Air Force records indicate that Robert C.
Simmons was awarded the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. This indicates that
Second Lieutenant Simmons had participated in as many as thirty-five combat missions
over Europe at the time of his death.
Robert C. Simmons was the son of Herbert W. Simmons and Grace C. Simmons. In
1930 Hubert Simmons was employed as a Bridge Tender while the family lived with his
father, a fisherman. By 1940 Robert had a much younger brother, Herbert, Jr.
Photo of Memorial Plaque placed near the Crash Site of “Heavenly Body