Daniel P. Dunkerly was born in Connecticut, August 1, 1920, his father, Daniel Peers, was 51 and his mother, Karen "Kate" Iversen, was 44. He married Sara Jane Blount on July 22, 1944, in Pinellas, Florida.
In Rye his family lived at 10 School Street. Daniel enlisted and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Daniel P. Dunkerly was a member of the
429th Bomb Squadron of the 15th Air Force. The 429th operated primarily from Amendola Air Base in Foggia, Italy. It was engaged in long-range bombardments of strategic targets in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Greece. He was the radio operator and the destination of his
B-17G #44-8191 Flying Fortress (pictured at right) was Ruhland, Germany when it was struck by enemy fire.
The pilot of Daniel P. Dunkerly's plane was Capt. Andrew F. Crane and related the following after liberation as a Prisoner of War:
" We left the formation just after dropping bombs on the target. We flew eight miles to 10 miles N. of Breslau then bailed out. I personally saw five chutes, and other crew members bailed out five minutes previously.
Dorman, Betchley, Barnett, Honke, and myself bailed out after other crew members had bailed out a few minutes before. No members were in the plane when it crashed as far as I know. Saw bombardier, navigator, co-pilot and engineer jump.Others were informed to jump three minutes before we jumped. Germans couldnt find any in the aircraft and asked me if I knew their whereabouts. I saw none of the crew on the ground or anywhere except five descending chutes.
My co-pilot and I found each other at German Headquarters. Both he and I were strafed, in our chutes by Me-109s. I heard gunfire continually and assume other crew members were killed by strafing or in attempting to make the Russian lines.
At German Headquarters I saw a picture of Betchley escape picture which we all carried and dog tags of Dorman and Dunkerley. I saw Dorman and Betchley bail out. As I see it, they were definite victims of strafing.The co-pilot was strafed four times. He oscillated his chute and managed to only sustain a grazing from a machine gun bullet. I was strafed twice. For information of other crews: I saw two B-17s quite a distance in front of me being attacked by Me-109s. Both caught fire and exploded. I did see two chutes. Possibly one ship could have been Lt. John Pieriks."
Daniel was 24 years old when he was killed northeast of Breslau, Poland on March 22, 1945. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.
Daniel's body was never recovered and he is listed on The Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium.
Review by John Wood on Jun 21, 2013
This is an opportunity to share a snap shot of a life cut short, a life given for his fellow men, a life given so others could live a full life in freedom.
Danny was my Dad, Frank Woods cousin, while only being two years older than my dad, Dad would share adventures about growing up in what he always called East Port aka Byram. Living on Cliff Ave in a house built by his grandfather Soren Iverson. The family was close to other Danish immigrants who shared the neighborhood. Dannys mother Karen Kate Iverson married Will Thompson and together they had 5 children. Three of the five died as young children. Will Thompson passed away in 1915 leaving Kate as a single mom, Kate later married Daniel Dunkerly Sr. who was described as being an army man.
Daniel Jr. was born in 1920. Growing up in Port Chester, Danny graduated from Port Chester High School in 1939. Danny was memorialized in his yearbook with the following comments: Daniel Dan Dunkerley spends his spare moments dancing and we can all testify to his ability as a Jitter Bug. He is air minded and would like to pilot an airplane in his future. But above all he desires to become an Air Condition Engineer. Clubs include Football, Cheerleader, History Club, Drama Club, and Prom Committee. He was also voted Biggest Smoothie.
After graduation in June 1939, Dannys family moved to Rye, living on School Street in the Village, Danny relocated to Long Island where he married, and was working in the aircraft industry prior to enlisting in the service. Danny and his wife had no children.
My dad would often share what became family lore, about his cousin Danny, it was said that Danny was able to parachute from his damaged B-17 and landed in a farmers field, and according to the family story, Danny was killed by Nazi troops where he landed. His remains were never recovered and he was listed as MIA, until he was declared KIA.
It is with respect and great pride that I am able to share this small tribute to a family member who dreamed as a teenager of being involved in flying. His dream came true as a crew member of a B-17.
His sacrifice is recalled in this project, many thanks for helping us put a story to our cousin. The attached photo is from the Port Chester High School Yearbook Class of 1939. This was the first time Id ever seen a photo of Danny. It reminds me of a line from the Irish song "The Green Fields of France" where they sing of a WW1 solider killed. They ask sadly
And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?
We now can share, You're not a Stranger without even an name, you're a young man who went off to serve our country and gave up his future for ours. RIP. Danny