6/20/2014 — Center, Texas
Major Ralph Truitt Amoss is buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England in Plot E, Row 1, Grave 68. At the age of 21 Ralph Amoss joined the US Army from Austin, Texas on November 25, 1940. Sometime after completing basic training as a Private he was accepted for flying school, became a bombardier and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He was assigned to B-24 Bombers of the 576th Bombardment Squadron, 392nd Bombardment Group (Heavy). The group moved to England in July 1943 and began combat on September 9th, 1943 attacking targets such as oil refineries, railroads, steel plants, tank factories and gas works in Berlin. Major Amoss and his comrades were also involved in bombing airfields and V-weapon sites in France prior to the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and struck coastal defenses on D-Day.
On August 5, 1944, B-24 Liberator #222 took off from Wendling, England with 26 other bombers on mission #146 to bomb Brunswick, Germany. Ship # 222 with a crew of 10 was piloted by 1st Lt. Owen Filkel and was the lead aircraft and first to take off. Visibility conditions at take-off were restricted to 600 yards due to haze. The aircraft was last seen to clear the runway and nothing more was known of it until it was reported approximately a half hour later, as having crashed two and one half (2 1/2) miles east of the field. The rest of the aircraft made successful take-offs. Due to the restricted visibility conditions, it was impossible to see what happened. The pilot was a lead pilot of exceptional ability and it can be assumed that possibly the instruments 'went out,' but due to the terrific crash, scattering wreckage over a large area, nothing could be determined by examination of the wreckage. There were no survivors and Major Ralph Truitt Amoss, one of the groups leading bombardiers who had completed over 100 missions was one of the ten crew members killed that Saturday in August at 0925 hours. The family was informed that a bomb the plane was carrying exploded on take-off and that this was to be Major Amoss’ last mission before returning home.
Ralph Amoss (sometimes misspelled as Amos) was born in Upshur County, Texas on May 13th, 1918 to William B. Amoss (1874 – 1931) and Vinia Saunders Amoss (1877 – 1948). His parents were married May 19th, 1902 in Gilmer, Texas and he was the youngest of four children. Two older brothers passed away at a young age from the flu. In 1920 Ralph (age 2), his parents and sister Virginia (age 16) were living in Center, Texas. After his father’s death Ralph and his mother lived with his sister Virginia and husband Robert Todd in Shreveport, Louisiana for a time. He graduated from Center High School with the class of 1936 and attended three years at the University of Texas. He may have been studying to become a pharmacist or something in the medical field as he was a member of the Pharmaceutical Association at the University of Texas. His grandfather, Dr. William H. Saunders who had a medical practice in Galveston, Texas may also have been an influence. The Austin City Directory listed Ralph living at 2603 Guadalupe during his college days.
An undated article from the Champion newspaper said “Ralph was 26 years old, a self-made boy and into his brief life was crowded so much achievement. Surviving him is his mother, Mrs. V. Amos; his sister, Mrs. Robert Todd; his half-brother, Jack Finley all of Freeport, Texas. He was promoted to the rank of Major two days before his death was announced by the War Department. Thus in this, our generation, youth passes by gallantly with high courage and determination that America and America’s way of life shall endure. So to the golden stars in Center’s service flag is added another to shine brightly in memory of young Ralph Amos, who sleeps in English soil and to all those who died for liberty.”
References: Shelbycountytexashistory.org; 8th Air Force Historical Society.org; Ancestry.com; FindAGrave.com; Champion Newspaper; Sylvia Morgan (daughter-in-law of Major Amoss’ sister, Virginia).