How did Glenn Miller die?

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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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Who was Glenn Miller?

Alton Glenn Miller ranks as the most popular musician of the first half of the 20th century. He was arguably the first pop music "superstar": in terms of the number of top-10

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 have siblings?

Yes, 2 brothers and a sister. Deane was a dentist and Herb was alsoa musician, although not nearly so successful. His sister was namedIrene.

Where is Glenn Miller Buried?

His plane disappeared on a flight from London to Paris on December 15, 1944. Officially, no trace of the plane or his body was ever found.

Who influenced glenn miller?

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

Who conducts the Glenn Miller Orchestra?

The orchestra is currently led by vocalist Nick Hilscher. His predecessor was trombonist Gary Tole. The longest-serving conductor, Larry O'Brien, began his career with Ray McK

Who was Ray with the Glenn miller orchestra?

There were three Rays - Ray Eberle, Ray McKinley, and Ray Anthony Ray Eberle was the male vocalist with the civilian band from 1938 to 1942. Glenn had somehow become convin
In Glenn Miller

Where did Glenn Miller being singing?

Glenn Miller was a trombonist and conductor, not a singer. His only 2 recorded "vocals" are a slightly R-rated line in the Tommy Dorsey novelty tune "Annie's Cousin Fanny"
In Glenn Miller

When did Glenn Miller die and when was he born?

He was born on March 1, 1904 in Clarinda, Iowa. He took off on a flight from England to France on December 15, 1944 and was never seen again.