OBITUARY Percy Clayton
S/Sgt. Percy Clayton Mathews was born February 10, 1918 in Luverne, Alabama, and died May 29, 1943.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as member of the 305th Bomb Group of the 422 Bomb Squadron of the US Army Air Corps, based in Chelveston, England, which was part of the European Theatre during WW2.
Mathews had completed 8 bombing missions and was returning from his 9th when his plane was hit. He was a waist gunner on a B-17 which left Chelveston with the 8th Air Force for a strike against the German submarine base at Saint Nazaire, France.
The B-17 carrying Mathews was hit by enemy flak after dropping its bombs on the target. All the crewmen except Mathews were able to bail out. Some were captured, and some were returned to allied forces. He was believed to have been hit by flak before the plane crashed in a field in northwestern France.
Following the close of hostilities, service members’ remains were recovered and reburied in American cemeteries overseas in graves marked with an X and a # as unknown. During comprehensive historical research, examination of DNA, along with documentation of burial records, dates, and location, the conclusion was made that a grave marked X-205 contained the remains of Staff Sergeant Percy Clayton Mathews.
He had been listed as MIA for the past 75 years, but after this positive identification, his remains have finally been returned to the US for interment at the Barrancas National Cemetery at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL.
Percy Clayton Mathews was the son of John D. Mathews and Betty Elizabeth McCormick Mathews. His siblings were Odessa M. Johnson, Rosemarie M. Martin, Bonnie M. Tomberlin, Gerald F. Mathews, Orren J. Mathews (all now deceased).
Percy is survived by a sister-in-law, Jessie D. Mathews (Orren, deceased), nieces Betty M. Unger (Buddy), and nephews Bennie F. Mathews (Nancy), Mark E. Mathews (Mary), and Paul Mathews (Trish), and several great-nieces and great-nephews and cousins.
The funeral procession to Barrancas will begin at Waters and Hibbert Funeral Home at 124 West Gregory Street, Pensacola, FL on June 28 beginning no later than 9:00am. Those who come must be sure to bring license or other ID to be allowed into the Cemetery (this is strictly enforced).