Landers, McCann served, died during World War II

Note: This article continues a series to honor Madison residents who died in military service during World War II. These men are memorialized at the Wall of Heroes in Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Madison.

MADISON – William Harry Landers and Herchel Herbert McCann were among seven men from Madison who died during World War II.

“They are more than just a name on the wall. They were sons, husbands, fathers or uncles to someone left behind. There is a story for each of them,” Richard Blanton said. Blanton serves as Historian for Madison American Legion, Post 229.

William Harry Landers was born May 2, 1933 in Madison to John William Landers and Mattie (Ragan) Landers. William Landers graduated from Madison High School on May 2, 1942 — his 19th birthday.

That same day, Landers entered the U.S. Army Air Force. He received his wings in August 1943.

Landers served with 813th Bombardment Squadron, 482nd Bombardment Group, called the “Pathfinders,” at the U.S. Army Air Force base in Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, England. “The 482nd Bomb Group was a Pathfinder Group, using radar-equipped aircraft to support bombing missions until March 1944,” Blanton said.

“Aircraft from this Group went ahead of other bombers and sent information back about the best routes to take and the extent to which weather was obscuring targets,” Blanton said.

Landers advanced to the rank of Staff Sergeant during his service. Sergeant Landers died in a non-combat accident on Nov. 10, 1943 in Eye Suffolk, England. He is interred in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville.

Another Madison native, Staff Sergeant Herchel Herbert McCann was born Oct. 20, 1919. He graduated from Madison High School. His parents were Richard Logan and Delpha Mae McCann.

McCann enlisted in the U.S. Army in December 1940. He served with 56th Armoured Command, 36th Armoured Division.

He initially was reported as ‘Missing in Action’ on May 15, 1945. His status later was amended on May 23, 1945. McCann was ‘Killed in Action’ on April 21, 1945 near Hotton, Arrondissement de Marche-en-Famenne, Luxembourg, Belgium.

McCann is interred in Madison City Cemetery.

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