Stories From the Grave
Warren Leslie Sharrock
Row 2, Plot 153
According to the Union Democrat the Stork was very busy on June 7, 1920. Warren Leslie Sharrock, Jr. was one of three boys born in Tuolumne County on that day. His parents, Warren Leslie Sharrock, Sr and Norma Nancy Gibson, were married on April 14, 1916 in Alameda Country. The family’s home was South East of Jamestown through Algerine to Rough and Ready Creek. Warren Sharrock, Sr was a Farmer and owned his own home. Over the years their family grew in size having two girls and five boys. Arline Sharrock was the oldest child followed by Warren Jr, George, Russell, James, William and Nancy.
Warren L. Sharrock, Jr attended the one room school house in Algerine and later graduated from Sonora High School Class of 1938. The Senior yearbook stated “If perseverance and determination mean anything, Warren should go far.” Warren L. Sharrock, Jr was a handsome young man. He stood 5’10, weighed 175 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
One room school house in Algerine
(Photo Credit: Tuolumne County Historical Society)
Senior Picture 1938
(Photo Credit: Ancestry.com)
On September 12, 1942, in San Francisco, Warren L. Sharrock, Jr enlisted as a private in the Air Crops. The enlistment terms read “Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law”. Prior to enlisting Warren L. Sharrock, Jr worked for Eagle Shawnuel Mine as a semiskilled welder and flame cutter.
Warren L. Sharrock, Jr became a B-24 Bomber Pilot during WWII and flew 32 combat missions over Germany. When he got out of the Army Air Corps, after the war, Warren L. Sharrock, Jr tried to obtain a position as a Commercial Pilot, but then decided to return the Army Air Force.
On the night of November 16th, while on a "round robin" training flight from Spokane Air Force Base, with a mock bombing target to Stockton, California, then onward to Ogden, Utah, then a return home, tragedy struck at 23:45 hours. Two in the group of thirteen B-29 Superfortresses collided at 26,000 feet above Stockton and plunged to earth in flaming wreckage. Only two airmen survived by bailing out in time and parachuting safely to ground. Sadly, 1st Lieutenant Warren Sharrock, the pilot of U.S. Air Force B-29-70-BW Superfortress #44-69939, and eight other fliers perished when the aircraft impacted in 6-10 feet of mud on Rindge Tract Island in the San Joaquin Delta. One crewmember parachuted to safety from the other B-29 (#44-86364) but nine were killed when it impacted on McDonald Island about 2 miles further south of this crash site. Dense Tule fog blanketed the area of the widely scattered wreckage hampering the search of these giant planes.
The three men who lived through the collision of the B-29 planes, over the San Joaquin Delta, were at a loss and could not explain or understand how the two planes collided and plummeted to earth killing 18 of the men on board. Staff Sgt. Kludge would later explain “We were just completing a mock bombing run over Stockton. Then there was a crash. The plane was spinning like a top and I bailed out”. Technical Sgt. Frank Schmitt of Negley, Ohio said he was sitting behind the cockpit making an entry in the log when the planes crashed. He said “I saw nothing. I depressurized the plane and put the nose wheel in down position and slipped on my chute. I turned to the pilot (Lt. Warren Sharrock) and said I’m leaving. Sharrock was busy yelling to the co-pilot in an attempt to get control. The plane was in a spin and rolling over”.
Initially it was said that 1st Lieutenant Warren Sharrock had survived the crash after safely parachuting to the ground. It was reported that a half an hour after the crash 1st Lt. Warren Sharrock bleeding from a head staggered into Edward Kenyon’s Island Fishing Resort gasping that the other plane ran smack into them. The resort owner said the man’s name was Lt. Warren Sharrock, but Hamilton Airforce Base confirmed that the man was actually Staff Sgt. Robert S. Kludge a member of Sharrock’s crew
The handsome young man who grew up on a farm in Algerine and flew 31 combat missions over Germany, was dead at 29. 1st Lt. Warren L. Sharrock, Jr, 325 Bombardment Squadron, 92 Bombardment Group, Spokane Air-force Base, was laid to rest in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Sonora with a Bronze metal headstone.
1st Lieutenant Warren Sharrock, Jr left behind a son, Leslie Sharrock, who had just turned 8 years old two weeks prior to the collision. His son was raised by Warren’s parents, Noma Nancy Sharrock and Warren L. Sharrock, Sr. Leslie Sharrock, attended Sonora High School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from San Jose State University. He worked for the Hayward Police Department for nine years and the Moorhead Police Department in Moorhead Minnesota. After a 43-year career - 30 spent as police chief - Leslie Sharrock retired in August 2009.
1st Lieutenant Warren Leslie Sharrock, Jr was a true war hero, an exceptionally brave and effective Bomber Pilot. I feel honored to share his heroic story with you.
If only I could thank 1st Lt.
Warren Sharrock, Jr for his service and for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Crew #675: Warren L. Sharrock Crew - 466th BG - 786th BS
(Photo Credit: The America Air Museum in Britain)
This crew completed 31 combat missions before hostilities ended.
Standing Left to Right: Michael A. Minnichiello (G), Oliver L. Sigler (G), Lee
R. Whittenburg (R/O), Donald A. Horn (G), Grady H. Wesson (FE), Edward J.
Kneeling Left to Right: Robert E. Hughes (N), Scottie H. McHenry (CP), Alfred R. Farnholz (B), Warren L. Sharrock (P)
Family Members Buried in the Sharrock Family Plot:
The San Bernardino Sun
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Madera Daily News Tribune
America Air Museum in Britain
Leslie Sharrock (Son of Warren Sharrock, Jr)