15 Oct

B-17 Left Waist Gunner, S/SGT Raymond L. Provost from Orange, TX

Staff Sergeant Raymond L. Provost (service number 18115939) was the left waist gunner assigned to Joe’s crew on Wednesday, September 15th 1943.

The available census reports show evidence that Raymond was born on February 14th 1924. It appears that his parents were “Thomas Provost” and “Odile Provost” both originally from Louisiana. In 1930 the Provost family lived on Sixth Street in Port Arthur, Texas, and by 1940 they had moved to nearby Orange, Texas. Raymond had a younger brother named Thomas, who was only about 2 years old in 1940. Raymond graduated from Orange High School in 1942 and enlisted on June 2nd 1942. He was killed on his 21st mission.

Raymond is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at The Cambridge American Cemetery, and his status is still Missing in Action.

His remains have not been recovered. 

95th Bomb Group B-17F (serial number 42-30182) "Blondie II" in the sky

95th Bomb Group B-17F (serial number 42-30182) “Blondie II” in the sky

On Wednesday, September 15th 1943, Joe and his co-pilot David F. Prees, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, took off from Horham Airbase in the B-17 “Sittin’ Bull”, with eight other crew members on board, including Billie.

As fate would have it Joe Noyes originally took off in B-17 serial number 42-30182 “Blondie II” but they spun a prop shortly after getting airborne, and had to return to base. Dedicated to the mission at hand, and knowing that if he didn’t get the job done, someone else would have to go in his place, Joe then took off again at 1534 hours, flying the “Sittin’ Bull”.

It was supposed to be a relatively easy bomb run, with light enemy resistance. Their assigned target was the Billancourt-Renault industrial works, which they successfully hit at 1854 hours. There are conflicting reports, but what is known is that the “Sittin’ Bull” never made it back to England. 

The only report of his presence was when, 15 miles off Beachy Head on the route back, he was flying in the number 9 spot in the high squadron. At that point and in no apparent difficulty, he was seen to lose altitude and leave his position.

In October 1943, Joe Noyes washed ashore in Berck-Plage, France. He was initially buried in a small local cemetery, and then reburied at Étaples Military Cemetery.

Joe is the only member of the crew whose remains were found.

Your help is needed!

I am actively seeking relatives and friends of Raymond L. Provost from Orange, Texas. I would like to learn more about Raymond, to ensure that his life details are accurate and included when I publish my book on Joe Noyes and his crew.

Please get in touch with me if you feel that you can assist me.

Kimberly Blankenstein

Thanks so much for the help:

Tom Noyes – for his continued assistance and support with this project.