Black Hawk County

Cpl. Homer G. Harper




Homer Harper Ruled Dead

Mrs. Clara Harper, 426 Manhard street, received word in a war department letter Friday that her son, Cpl. Homer G. Harper, missing in action since June 26, 1943, has been officially declared dead as there was “no evidence of his survival.”

The B-17 of which Harper was a crew member left Port Moresby on a bombing mission over Rabaul and was never heard from after the takeoff.

Harper was inducted on Jan. 14, 1942, and had gone overseas two months later. He had participated in the Coral sea battle in his first major engagement and had twice been wounded in action. He was based in New Guinea during most of his overseas service.

Homer G. Harper was born Feb. 1, 1920, in Waterloo, and attended St. John’s school and East high school. He had married Berniece Rutter on Aug. 31, 1937, and was employed by the Rath Packing Co. in the maintenance department at the time of his enlistment.

His wife, Mrs. Vernal Wilkinson, who has remarried in the interval since the “missing in action” report was received, and one daughter, Sonja Kay, 7, survive.

Other survivors include his mother; one brother, George J., Dangerfield, Tex.; and three sisters, Mrs. G. R. McConeghey, Randalia; and Mrs. M. A. Buckles and Mrs. William D. Fike, both of Waterloo.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Friday, January 18, 1946, Page 5

Plan Rites for Homer G. Harper

Military funeral services for Cpl. Homer G. Harper, son of Mrs. Clara Harper, 426 Manhard street, who was killed in action during World war II, will be conducted at 10:30 a. m. next Wednesday at the national cemetery at Jefferson Barracks, Mo. Burial will be there.

Corporal Harper was declared killed in action by the war department on June 15, 1948, after his body was found with those of eight other crew members of an air force bomber on Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain. Natives had buried the bodies.

He had been declared missing in action on June 26, 1943, and declared dead on Jan. 8, 1946.

He was born on Feb. 1, 1929, in Waterloo. He attended St. John’s school and East high school. He married Berniece Rutter on Aug. 31, 1937.

Surviving are his mother, his former wife, Mrs. Vernal Wilkinson, 545 West Parker street, a daughter, Sonja Kay, at home; a brother, George J., 620 ½ Kirkwood avenue; and three sisters, Mr. G. R. McConeghey, 613 Falls avenue, Ms. M. A. Buckles, 714 Hanna boulevard, and Mrs. William D. Fike, 219 Western avenue.

He was preceded in death by his father.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Thursday, March 16, 1950, Section Two, Page 15

NOTE: Cpl. Homer D. Harper was interred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 78, Site 983B with members of his crew: TSgt John J. Barry, TSgt. Rodney J. Edwards, Capt. Donald D. McLachran, Sgt. Otto Russell, Capt. John S. Scott, 1st Lt. Mortimer K. Smith Jr. and Sgt. Ralph H. Thomas. ~