Jerry Summers: Laurence Durwood Sies And The Peerless Clipper World War II Aircraft

Saturday, July 4, 2020 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

During World War II it was a common practice to have some type of insignia or saying on the nose of a bomber that reflected some correlation to a hometown or person of the crew. On July 3, 1942, Laurence Durwood Sies graduated from training as an Aviation Cadet and was designated as a pilot in the Army Air Force.

The Peerless Clipper was one of these and was purchased as a result of War Bond sales by the Peerless Woolen Mills of Rossville, Georgia, across the state line near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It was a B-24 bomber in the 449 Bomb Group 717, Bomb Squadron and the plane was initially assigned to the crew of Chattanooga native Sies.

who operated Sies Electric Company in Chattanooga on 11th Street after the war until his death.

According to his daughter, Katie Henderson, Sies flew 52 missions during the war. Twenty-five missions were the normal limit before being transferred to another plane.

The plane was lost on April 2, 1944 over Steyr, Austria located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. The aircraft flew into a mid-air collision resulting from a rocket attack by Lufwaffe fighters which shot down two other bombers, “Miss Behavin” and “Superstitious Al-o-ysius." The plane then was piloted by 1st Lt. Jake Kury and all 11 members of his crew perished and only one man survived out of the 31 men flying in the three planes.

Sies would survive the war and raise four daughters. He lost his rank when he flew under the Market Street Bridge in a P51 Mustang on a lark. He moved up the ranks from 2nd Lt. to Major, but as a result of his under the bridge caper was demoted back to Captain.

According to his son-in-law, Dave Pope, who married Sies youngest daughter Laura, after serving his 25 missions on the Peerless Clipper, Sies transferred to the O.S.S. which was the predecessor to the present-day CIA. He flew a B-24 bomber at night in an aircraft that had no numbers and was painted black.

The plane's duties included dropping money, propaganda pamphlets and French Nationals of the resistance fighters in occupied France who would be parachuted into their native country.

For his military service, Sies was awarded several decorations while serving in the Air Force. They included the Distinguished Flying Cross American, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Cross France, Silver Star Croix DeGuerre, American Theater Metal, Distinguished Service Medal, European Theater Metal and others.

It is another story about a Chattanooga young man and his Rossville Peerless Woolen Mill connection that is part of the military legacy of our community.

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com  

           

Laurence Durwood Sies
Laurence Durwood Sies

Intersection Of Masters Road And E. Masters Road Closed

W 12th Street Closure Set For This Weekend For Bridge Repainting

Chattanooga Hamilton County NAACP Branch Holds Virtual Webinar-Mayoral Forum For 6 Candidates


Masters Road at the intersection of E Masters Road is closed beginning Friday through Wednesday, due to emergency stormwater repairs. View CDOT's map of event and road closures for full details ... (click for more)

W 12th Street will be closed between Carter Street and Poplar Street beginning Friday at 7 p.m. through Saturday at 8 p.m. TDOT contract crews will be cleaning and repainting the HWY 27 bridge ... (click for more)

Local Branch President Ann Pierre said, “we are extremely excited to host the first of two forums for the large field of candidates for Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee.” The community is invited ... (click for more)



Happenings

Intersection Of Masters Road And E. Masters Road Closed

Masters Road at the intersection of E Masters Road is closed beginning Friday through Wednesday, due to emergency stormwater repairs. View CDOT's map of event and road closures for full details of these activities and other projects underway in our public space. (click for more)

W 12th Street Closure Set For This Weekend For Bridge Repainting

W 12th Street will be closed between Carter Street and Poplar Street beginning Friday at 7 p.m. through Saturday at 8 p.m. TDOT contract crews will be cleaning and repainting the HWY 27 bridge over W 12th Street Detours will be posted. View CDOT's map of event and road closures for full details of these activities and other projects underway in our public space. (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has No New COVID Deaths, New Cases Fall Below 200; Tennessee Has 4,064 New Cases, 93 More COVID Deaths

Hamilton County reported 182 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 114 patients hospitalized with 37 in Intensive Care Units. Ten others were in the hospital with suspected COVID. Of those hospitalized, 61 are county residents. The new total of cases in Hamilton County is 36,834. There were no more deaths from the virus in the county reported since Thursday, leaving the total ... (click for more)

Health Department Adds First Dose Appointments To The Vaccination Schedule; For Phases 1a1, 1a2 And Adults 75+ By Appointment Only

The Hamilton County Health Department, in partnership with Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management, will begin taking first dose appointments again starting today (Friday) at 9 a.m. New appointments have been added to the schedule for Sunday through next Thursday. All appointments are at the Riverpark Hubert Fry Center, 4301 Amnicola Hwy. Enter near the Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Opinion

Where Are Our Educational Priorities? - And Response (2)

If only our institutes of higher learning put as much emphasis, effort and financial investment into their academic departments as they do into their football “programs”. $9.3 million in annual salary for a football coach? Really? Are there anywhere professors who earn even a fractional smidgen of that amount? Where are our priorities? Is the “commitment to consistently winning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vols Are Resuscitated!

I am a big fan of magic tricks. Sometimes I’ll sit down with YouTube and watch a lot of dazzling stuff. My favorites include Darcy Oakes with the doves, or David Blaine spitting up live frogs from “the aquarium in my stomach.” Really intellectual stuff … I can watch it for hours … but the best magic is “real magic,” much like the University of Tennessee jerked from the top hat Thursday, ... (click for more)