top of page

WW II Fighter Pilot's Plane found after 80 years! 
Piloted by Lt Warren Singer, Class of 1939  


A Peoria High School Graduate, Class of 1939, who participated in a spectacular mission to destroy and disrupt Nazi air operations from a base in Italy but was never seen again.  Until recently no one had seen a trace of Warren Singer and his P-38. Singer, a 1939 graduate of Peoria High School, who attended the University of Illinois for two years before becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps was now flying the P-38 Lightning.  Lt Singer was living his dream of flying aircraft, and he was in one of the finest aircraft of World War II.  The Nazi’s called it the “Fork Tailed Devil”.   Lt Singer would participate in a raid on the Italian airfields near (FOG-JA) Foggia, Italy on August 25, 1943.   166 P-38’s took off from Tunisia that morning.  137 planes reached the target and one vanished completely…Lt Singer and his P-38.  The mission's aim was to weaken Italy’s aerial response in anticipation of the Allied landings.  It was a great success, resulting in the destruction of 65 enemy planes with only the loss of six Lightnings.

Peoria High School Crest - 1939

But Lt Singer never reached his target, and air force records show he was last seen flying near Manfredonia, a town 22 miles east of Foggia.  He had turned back and joined with another P-38 that was having issues.  As each aircraft began to turn back to base Singer disappeared.  Nobody witnessed him ditch in the water.  Nobody could say for certain what happened. 


For the last 80 years Singer was declared dead but never found.   But a clue finally emerged this last November that Singer who disappeared without a trace of his aircraft or human remains.  Italian divers located what turned out to be a P-38 in 40 feet of water.  After further investigation it was determined to be Lt Singer’s aircraft.  They surmised that Singer may have drowned after ditching.  The news of the find meant some meaningful closure to the family who are still alive in the US.  Even though Italy and the US were at war back then…it makes no difference in the find today as we always search for closure and honor for this US Airman on Memorial Day. 


Finding his P-38 allows part of a mystery to solved.  It is very likely he did not survive being in the water.  His name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia.  In a dispatch sent from Washington DC…it read, “In Grateful Memory of Warren E Singer, who died in the service to his country, in the North Africa Area, Aug 26th, 1944, He stands in an unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die, that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings.  Freedom lives and through it, He lives in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.  Signed Franklin D Roosevelt, President of the United States.”

From the monument at the Tablets of the Missing at the North Africa American Cemetery

Excerpts from this article were taken from the War History Online, Dec 10, 2023 Clare Fitzgerald, Guest  Author

If you would like to read the whole article about the discovery of the aircraft please follow the link.

bottom of page