Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 31, 2013

Tribute to a real-life hero

Newphew recalls uncle's role as WWII bomber pilot


The best story was when he shot the barrack lights out because his rest was being interfered with after some harrowing missions. He had preceded his actions by saying, “I don’t want to ask for quiet again or I’ll take matters into my own hands.” After shooting out the lights, he was ordered to report to Colonel Kane, his Congressional Medal of Honor commander. The colonel complimented Francis’ marksmanship, but warned him never to do it again, and Francis did not.

Francis McClellan went beyond most veterans as he volunteered his service before the U.S. went to war. It’s remarkable to fly unpredictable planes through extreme weather, aircraft fire and harassment by enemy fighters. Francis made light of the dangers, even bailing out of his crippled Wellington bomber in Africa. After his military career, he was a pilot for Colonial Airlines. However, he realized flying with passengers was much different than flying with his wartime crew and decided to quit. He ended his flying career, never to fly a plane again. My hero uncle died at 101 years old on June 25, 2013.


Robert Stefani is the nephew of Francis McClellan, who was his mother’s second youngest brother. Stefani now lives in his mother’s house off Orchard Street.




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