Arlington Ward Canizares, Jr.
Arlington Ward Canizares, Jr. was born on October 26, 1921 and lived at 257 Pembroke Avenue in Wayne. His draft cards describe him as a white male with brown eyes and gray hair. He was a part of many clubs and groups at Radnor High School, including the Student Council, the Radnorite, the senior play, the Senior Dance Committee, the Glee Club, the Science Club, and tennis team.
Report cards from his time in 7th, 8th and 9th grades indicate that Mr. Canizares was a good student. After he graduated in 1939, he confirmed this assessment by attending Lehigh University and earning the Sophomore Honor in 1941, which was given to students who maintained an average grade of a 3.0 or higher.
On November 15, 1942, Mr. Canizares enlisted into the Army Air Corps. He started his service on January 1, 1944 and was given the serial number O-693103. He was part of the 62nd Fighter Squadron and ranked as a Second Lieutenant in the 56th Fighter Group. He flew a big blue Republic P-47 Thunderbolt with an insignia of Saucy Shirley the III on the side.
Mr. Canizares flew in a couple of missions and destroyed three enemy planes by the age of 22, which was a major accomplishment. Sadly, it was during one of these missions where Mr. Canizares met his fate.
On Easter of 1944, Mr. Canizares and two wing mates flew across the English Channel into Germany where they won a battle against Germany's Messerschmitt Air Force. Mr. Canizares and his mates then turned back for England before he noticed that his plane was dangerously low on fuel.
Suddenly, another Messerschmitt fighter plane came from behind and started firing. Through radio communication, the leader of Mr. Canizares’ group ordered Mr. Canizares to stay on course and allow his wing mates to handle the German plane. Mr. Canizares refused the order and turned around to help his wing mates.
The German fighter retreated and Mr. Canizares headed back to England, now with even less fuel. The crew flew over the English Channel until Mr. Canizares’ engine cut off. He was forced to bail out.
He pulled the ejection lever, the cockpit cover flew off and an explosive charge launched him into the air. Unfortunately, he sprung into the slipstream of the plane and struck its tail. He fell two miles into the English Channel, where a rescue launch was waiting to rescue him. Sadly, when he was pulled from the water, he had already passed, having died before he fell. His official date of death is April 9, 1944.
Mr. Canizares was honored with many medals, including the Purple Heart, which is awarded for being killed in action; the Air Medal, which is awarded for meritorious achievement in the war; the World War II Victory Medal, which was awarded for helping the U.S. and its allies defeat Germany; the American Campaign Medal, which was awarded for performing military services in the American Theater of Operations during World War II; and the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is awarded for heroism or distinguished achievement while on aerial duty.
Mr. Canizares is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery at Plot C, Row 4, Grave 75 in Cambridge, England.