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There is still considerable and highly varied speculation about what happened to him on the afternoon of December 15, 1944. The official US Army report is that he was missing in action, aboard a small plane crossing the English Channel to France.

New (2010-2011) research by the University of Colorado determined that the C-64 Norseman plane carrying him and Col. Norman Baesell to Paris had been repaired a few days earlier to correct persistent problems with carburetor icing. The ground temperature that day was about 5º C so it would have been cold enough over the Channel to cause ice in the fuel line. The plane was a single-engine model with a wooden frame that could easily have lost power and disintegrated under those circumstances.

Another credible explanation is that he became the victim of "friendly fire" when the plane flew under a group of Allied bombers returning from an aborted raid on Siegen, Germany. Warplanes couldn't land with armed bombs so the standard practice was to jettison them in a specific "drop zone" over the Channel. The Norseman's pilot was a woefully underqualified hotshot who could easily have drifted off course and into the drop zone. In 1985 a couple of retired RAF fliers from that bomber group produced a logbook that recorded a "kite" (small plane) being hit by one of their jettisoned blockbusters. However they were never really able to explain why the logbook was kept out of sight for 4 decades, given how widely-known the mystery is. The story has been disputed by RAF veterans who claimed that the squadron in question had actually used a different drop zone far to the north.

There is also the possibility that the plane made it to France only to crash somewhere in Normandy. Some GI's reported that they had been ordered to clean up debris from a crashed plane that they identified as the missing C-64. However this story is weakened by conflicting reports regarding whether any bodies were found.

Another line of speculation is that Miller had been having an affair with a Frenchwoman whose husband had supposedly died in combat, but that he turned up alive and shot Miller in a jealous rage. This story is bolstered by reports from two U.S. medics that they were ordered to "deal with" Miller's body and that their own lives would be in jeopardy if they revealed what had happened. While Miller was generally considered to be an extreme "straight arrow" morally it's difficult to say what the pressures of war and separation might have done to him. Miller's biographer George T. Simon quoted Ray McKinley as saying Glenn had confessed that he was "doing things he didn't think he was capable of" and that he was "ashamed" of his behavior, but no one ever produced additional details. See the Related Question for more information.

A final hypothesis was presented in early 2009 by a researcher named Hunton Downs. He claims that the December flight was a ruse to hide a secret mission to Germany where Miller would serve as a liaison between the Army high command and some sympathetic German officers who wanted to end the war. According to Downs, Miller was chosen because his fame would provide an entrée with a group of officers who were great swing fans despite Nazi efforts to ban jazz and its related genres. Downs' speculation has some backing, including discovery of a "7-13" project (check those 2 positions in the alphabet) and testimony from former German soldiers who said they saw Miller alive as late as December 17th. Supposedly the plot was discovered and Miller was killed by the Germans on that day.

While it might make a great movie script, Downs' speculation is based on the contentions that (a) the famously undiplomatic bandleader had the skills to handle some of the most sensitive negotiations ever proposed to end a conflict and (b) he would conduct the talks entirely in German, a language that he spoke haltingly at best.

In addition to these speculations there are well-known questions about his health. George T. Simon described him as having lost 30 or 40 pounds by late 1944. Photos show him as gaunt, almost skeletal. He suffered from such shortness of breath that he had stopped playing his horn, leading to the almost obvious conclusion that decades of chain-smoking had resulted in lung cancer. This speculation has been abetted by letters found in his brother Herb's estate in which he (Glenn) said that he was seriously ill and did not expect to live long enough to return home. In one he actually asked Herb to make arrangements to care for his wife and children.

Unfortunately no evidence has ever surfaced that would definitively explain what happened. For now the Glenn Miller Mystery is as tangled as it ever has been.

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โˆ™ 2011-08-29 01:51:55
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Q: How did Glenn Miller die?
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Related questions

When did Glenn Miller die?

Glenn Miller died on December 15, 1944 at the age of 40.

Is Glenn Miller single?

No, Glenn Miller is not single.

What nicknames does Andrew Glenn Miller go by?

Andrew Glenn Miller goes by Miller.

When was Glenn Miller born?

Glenn Miller was born on March 1, 1904

Where did Glenn Miller die?

Glenn Miller went missing, presumed dead, on 15th December 1944. His aircraft disappeared in bad weather while on a flight to France.

Did Glenn Miller die?

Glenn Miller went missing, presumed dead, on 15th December 1944. His aircraft disappeared in bad weather while on a flight to France.

What year did glenn miller record adios?

when Did Glenn Miller Recored Adios

When was Glenn Miller Orchestra created?

Glenn Miller Orchestra was created in 1937.

When was The Glenn Miller Story created?

The Glenn Miller Story was created in 1954.

Who did Glenn Miller marry?

Glenn Miller married to Helen Burger in 1928

What plane did Glenn Miller die in?

An AAF Norseman C-64 aircraft

Did people like glenn miller music?

Yes. Glenn Miller was extremely popular.

What is the duration of The Glenn Miller Story?

The duration of The Glenn Miller Story is 1.92 hours.

How tall is Glenn Miller?

Andrew Glenn Miller is 6' 1 1/2".

Is Glenn Miller married?

Yes, Glenn Miller married to Helen Burger in 1928

Are Glenn Miller and Mitch Miller Related?


Who played Glenn Miller?

He was portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the 1954 film The Glenn Miller Story.

Did Glenn Miller have a son as portrayed in The Glenn Miller Story?

Yes. His son Steve was adopted.

What has the author Almeda Glenn Miller written?

Almeda Glenn Miller has written: 'Tiger dreams'

How tall is Andrew Glenn Miller?

Andrew Glenn Miller is 6' 1 1/2".

Is Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band of relation to Glenn Miller?


Did Glenn Miller play the clarinet?

Glenn Miller played the trombone. Benny Goodman played the clarinet.

Who influenced glenn miller?

Glenn Miller was mostly influenced by the likes of Louis Armstrong, and Artie Shaw.

How old was Glenn Miller at death?

Glenn Miller died on December 15, 1944 at the age of 40.

Was Glenn Miller religious?

Glenn Miller followed Christianity, he is quoted to say his favorite book was the bible