T/Sgt Louis A. Lannon (Bud) Birth 08/13/1920 - Died 11/24/1978


Cpl Louis Lannon in B-17Corporal Louis Allen Lannon was born on 08/13/1920 in Topeka, Kansas and lived his entire life in the same city. He joined the Army at Ft. Leavenworth, KS on 09/25/1942.
He served in the Army till 02/23/1945. Louis trained to become a gunner weapon master as part of a B-24 crew. He was assigned to the Crew 9-12-D with F/O William Thieme as pilot. Louis was on the fatal mission #40 as left "waist gunner". Ten minutes from its destination, the formation met heavy ground anti-aircraft fire and attacks from approximately 80 to 100 enemy fighters.
A tremendous jolt threw Lannon. His plane had been hit and flying shrapnel had cut away the fleshy part of his left forearm.
Dazed and bleeding, he got up and continued firing at the enemy. He didn't know at the time that the plane was burning and 7 of the 11 crewmen had been killed.
Cpl. Lannon kept on shooting and the plane kept taking hits. He Cpl Louis A Lannoncontinued shooting even after shrapnel tore into his legs. A third volley sent chunks of metal into his back and above his eyes.
" I was still trying to shoot while I couldn't see" he said.
When the bomber began falling, Lannon and the tail gunner, Sgt Ingmar Hippe, bailed out. They were captured by German soldiers. For 2 days Louis lay on a marble slab in a hospital. Finally, the German doctors realized he wasn't to die as they expected, so he was given bloodplasma and taken to surgery where his wounds were treated.
He was seriously injured and spent 71 days in a hospital until transferred to the prison camp, " Camp Shumen " , in Bulgaria. Life in the camp had many hardships.  The men had little more to eat than the daily watery soup given them.
On September 8, 1944, five months after Lannon's capture, Russian troops took the area and released him and 310 other allied prisoners.  They were put on a train to Turkey. Lannon returned home and was discharged 02/23/1945.
After his homecoming, Louis had many problems with his injuries (his heart was hit by shrapnel) and the psychological difficulties that the war experiences had created. He also had a large piece of shrapnel in his back. Doctors told him it was too close to a lung toLouis Lannon in the 70's risk an operation.
"It feels like a knife cutting down my back," Lannon said. He had severe headaches and was treated at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Topeka, KS for nervous disorder.
He never recovered from his wounds and was totally disabled Louis Lannon at his home in 1974for the rest of his life. Louis had no job, no hobbies and usually sat at home remembering the flurry of activity which changed his way of life. He was an aircraft inspector before enlisting in the Army Aircorps in September, 1942.
Louis was divorced from his wife and lived with his parents at home. He remained in touch with what had become a good friend, James O'Neal.
He died on November 24, 1978 in Topeka at the hospital and was buried at the "Mount Calvary Cemetery" Topeka, Kansas. He left a brother, Charles Thomas Lannan, a sister, Jane Lannan and his mother Dorothy Lannan. Louis also had 3 children.
He was an Air Force veteran of World War II, a prisoner of war in Bulgaria, received two presidential unit citations, a Purple Heart with three clusters, an Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the European Theater Medal and finally after 19 years in 1963, he recieved the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary courage shown in battle during mission #40 on Bucharest on April 4,1944.
He was an exceptional man who must be honored for what he did that day and what he stood for. His life was broken and was never like before the war. Louis has my deep respect and I hope with this tribute page he will never be forgotten.

Missions, telegram and the story of 04/04/1944 told by Cpl Louis Lannon himself.

Missions done by Cpl Louis LannonTelegram house commingPage 1 of the storyPage 2 of the storyPage 3 of the story

Letters from Louis Lannon and his parents and article on his homecoming.

LetterLetterLetterLetterComming home

Grave Louis LannonThe following is the obituary in the TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL, Sunday, Nov. 26, 1978 on page 60 for Louis Allen Lannon:
"Louis A. Lannon - Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Name Catholic Church for Louis A. Lannon, 58, 614 Jewell, who died Friday at a Topeka hospital.
He was born Aug. 13, 1920, in Topeka, and was a lifelong resident of Topeka.
He was an Air Force veteran of World War II, a prisoner of war in Bulgaria, received two presidential unit citations, a Purple Heart with three clusters, an Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Distinguished Service Cross.
He was a member of Holy Name Church and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1650.
Survivors are a brother, Charles Thomas Lannan of Paxico and a sister, Mrs. Jane Exley, and his mother, Mrs. Dorothy Lannan, of the home.
Mr. Lannon will lie in state from 2 to 9 p.m. with a parish rosary recited at 7 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery."

LANNON, LOUIS A. the Distinguished Service Cross
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Louis A. Lannon, Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy during an air mission on 4 April 1944, in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Technical Sergeant Lannon's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces.

Headquarters: U.S. Army Air Forces-Mediterranean Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 42 (1945)

Documents and newspaperclips,

Special thanks are extended to his nephew, Donald Exley and his mother Jane Lannan (sister of Louis) for the documents and pictures they kindly provided me in the memory of their beloved uncle and brother, Louis A Lannon.

To be continued with new information ...