Union City Soldiers Killed in Action in World War II
Eugene H. Clark
One of the first World War II veterans from the Erie County area to be brought back from overseas, the body of Pvt. Eugene H. Clark, former local Marine, arrived in the United States aboard the Army transport Walter W. Schwank. The ship docked at San Francisco in the last week of March 1948.
Private Clark's body was among those of 3,357 Marines and Navy men being brought back home aboard the Schwenk for burial. His body finally arrived in Union City on Wednesday, April 29, 1948, and was taken to the Glenn Funeral HOme. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
The 27-year-old Marine was one of the first Union City boys to be lost in action and he was serving with the First Engineers Battalion, 1st Marine Division, when he was killed at Guadalcanal on August 9, 1942. He had only been in the service for six months, enlisting on February 2, 1942. Before he enlisted Pvt. Clark worked at the Talon Company in Meadville and belonged to the Union City Methodist Church.
Paul Reed Lilley
In mid-March 1942, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Lilley of R.D. 4 Union City, received word from the United States Navy that their son, Paul Reed Lilley, had gone down with his ship. The Navy asked that his parents not disclose the name of the ship or the location from which his last letters were mailed. The Navy said that it was not probable that anyone had survived the ship's sinking. Paul was one of the first Union City casualties of World War II.
First class machinists mate Lilley, 37, had served in the Navy for 19 years, enlisting when he turned 18, on July 17, 1923, at Buffalo, New York. Following boot camp, he transferred to the ship Seattle, where he served eleven years as a fireman. Later he transferred to the McKleash and was promoted to machinist mate first class. He stayed with this ship until November 1942, when he transferred to the ship that went own.
It wasn't until December 1945 that the U.S. Navy officially declared Paul Reed Lilley dead and said that he had been missing in action as of March 1, 1942, when the U.S.S. Pillsbury was lost as a result of enemy action. A Navy report said that on February 28, 1942, a strong enemy force operated in two groups about 150 miles south and east of Tjlstjap, Java, and headed northwest. On March 1, 1942, all Allied surface ships operating near Java were ordered to Australia. Since that time no information about the Pillsbury or any of her crew members has been received. The Navy believed that the Pillsbury was lost at sea near Ball Strait, following a battle with the Japanese.
Evan L. Coe
On November 2, 1943, Mrs. Buenah Coe, R.D. 4, Union City, received an official letter from the War Department informing her that her only son, Pvt. Evan L. Coe, had been killed in action in Italy on October 8, 1943.
Private Coe, age 27, was inducted into the Army on January 14, 1943, and received his basic training at Camp Lee, Virginia, and Camp Reynolds at Greenville, Pennsylvania. His mother received word of his safe arrival overseas in May.
He graduated from Union City High School and was employed at Aero Supply in Corry when he was inducted into the Army.
On November 17, 1948, Pvt. Coe's body arrived in Union City from the government's distribution depot at Schenectady, new York. The LeBaron Post American Legion and John Krol Post, V.F.W. officiated at the military service at the Glenn Funeral Home on Thursday afternoon, November 18, 1948. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
Sgt. Kenneth B. (Fred) Shepard, Aerial gunner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Shepard of R.D. 3, Corry, was killed in action on April 7, 1943.
Sgt. Shepard worked at the Smith Furniture Store in Union City before he went to Erie on January 14, 1942, and took the oath of allegiance into the United States Air Corps. Aviation Cadet Shepard received his training at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, at the Will Rogers Air Base in Oklahoma, and at the Harlingen Gunnery School in Texas. He graduated a full-fledged aerial gunner and landed in Africa with the other members of the bomber squadron to which he was attached.
Sgt. Shepard flew on daily bombing mission. On one flight his outfit took part in a raid by eight A2D Douglas Hvoc bombers with an escort of Curtis-Wright P3Ds. They blasted a concentration of German and Italian troops and supplies at dawn near the town of Kebili in Northern Africa. The planes roared down to a height of only 20 feet off the ground to blast their enemies.
Sgt. Shepard was killed in action in the North African campaign on April 7, 1943. Reverend E.W. Mattison conducted Memorial services in his honor from the United Brethren Church in Union City.
Then on Thursday, June 3, 1943, Sgt. Shepard returned to Union City. His body was shipped from the American Graves Registration Center at Schenectady, New York, and escorted to Union City by M/Sgt. Elmer Warren of the Military Escort Detachment. Members of the American Legion and V.F.W. accompanied Sgt. Shepard's body to the Glenn Funeral HOme. Friends called until Friday noon, and Reverend J.A. Carlson of the Evangelical United Brethren Church officiated at Friday afternoon services for Sgt. Shepard. He was accorded full military honors and buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
Lieutenant Wilson (Bill) Woods, son of Mr.and Mrs. Crawford Woods, 55 South Main Street, Union City, was reported missing in action by the Navy Department in July 1943. The Navy didn't provide any details about the disappearance of twenty-five year old Lieutenant Woods.
A naval pursuit pilot, he was flying a plane which took off with other planes on July 1, 1943, for a combat air patrol over the landing operations at Randova Island. While near Randova he helped intercept a large force of enemy bombers and fighter planes. After the battle, Lt. Woods did not return to the base and has not reported or been heard from again.
Before the Solomon Campaign, Lt. Woods and his Navy Air Squadron had participated in the invasion landings at Casablanca.
In February 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded Lt. Woods the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement while participating while participating in aerial flight as a fighter pilot during attacks on the Japanese in the Solomons. Part of the citation reads: "On July 1, 1943, despite vastly overwhelming and discouraging odds, he and three teammates courageously initiated an attack against 45 hostile Japanese dive bombers and fighter planes over new Georgia Island. His aggressive fighting spirit and outstanding airmanship contributed immeasurably to the success of our operations in this period and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval service."
Lt. Wilson Woods graduated from Union City School and Bucknell University in 1941. He received his Navy pilot training at Jacksonville, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Three years later, the U.S. Navy declared Lt. Woods officially dead as of January 9, 1946
On March 24, 1944, the United States War Department notified Mr. and Mrs. Barrett E. Barstow of Route 1, Union City, that their son Sgt. Clarence Barstow was missing action.
In April 1944, the War Department informed his parents and his wife, Mrs. Betty M. Barstow, that Clarence had been killed in the air action over German territory on March 4, 1944. Earlier in the week before they received the telegram notifying them of his death, the Barstows received a packet of all of the letters that they had mailed to Clarence since early in January.
In January 1944, Sgt. Barstow had been promoted to staff sergeant. His promotion was announced at an Eighth AAF Bomber Command station in England. He was a waist gunner on the Flying Fortress "Slightly Dangerous."
Before he went into the service, Clarence worked as a milkman and a truck driver for the Shreve Dairy in Union City.
On Thursday, July 8, 1948, the body of Pfc. Clarence Benton arrived in Union City, accompanied by Sgt. Leonard A. Wheeler, Jr., of the U.S. Military Escort Detachment. Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Was Posts in Union City met the train and went with Pfc. Benton to the Glenn Funeral Home.
Pfc. Benton , age 24, was the son of Mrs. ivy Benton of Springboro, Pa. He was inducted into the service at New Cumberland, Pa, on February 28, 1942. He served with the 29th Division of the 116th Infantry and he was killed in action at Pennes, France on July 29, 1944.
Before he went into the service, Pfc. Benton attended Union City High School and graduated from California State Teachers College from a course in Industrial Arts. He shipped overseas in October 1943.
Reverend Minneigh from the Methodist Church officiated at Pfc. Benton's funeral service. He was buried in the family plot at Evergreen Cemetery with full military honors.
S/Sgt. Alexander Gvatsky, 26, of Union City died in an English hospital on August 13, 1944, of wounds suffered in the battle for France.
Before he enlisted, S/Sgt/ Gvatsky graduated from Union City High School and he was employed at the Standard Chair Company. He enlisted in the National Guard at Corry on February 14, 1941. In September 1943, he landed in England where he was briefed for active campaign service. It was during the invasion of France that he was seriously wounded and returned to England for hospitalization.
The United States Government shipped the bodies of T/5 David Smith, Sgt. Max Hites, and S/Sgt. Gvatsky home to Union City in November 1948. Reverend Perry Haines of the Methodist Church officiated at his funeral service and he was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
Lt. Donald Hewitt
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hewitt of Concord Street in Union City received a letter the week of July 29, 1944 from a Red Cross worker in England. The worker told them of the death of their son, Lt. Donald Hewitt, 24. The worker had learned about his death through an officer in Hewitt's division who had been wounded in action and transferred to the English hospital for treatment. The officer claimed that he had seen Lt. Hewitt fall in action.
The Hewitt family had no official confirmation from the United States Government, so they hoped that the officer might have mistaken their son, Donald, for someone else. Then a telegram from the War Department was delivered to the Hewitt home on Tuesday morning, July 20, 1944, stating that Lt. Hewitt had been killed in action in France on June 24, 1944.
Lt. Hewitt graduated from Union City High School in June 1941 and enlisted in February 1942. He received his basic training at Indiantown Gap and then was transferred to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. At Fort Sill, he graduated from officer training school as a second lieutenant in 1942.
On Christmas Eve, 1942, he landed in Africa and a few months later he landed with the American forces in Sicily. During the Sicilian Campaign, he received his first wounds and he was awarded the Purple Heart. Following his hospitalization, he was sent to England for further briefing and then transferred to Normandy, where he was killed in action.
Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt have one other son, T/Sgt. Harold Hewitt, with the U.S. Army forces in the Atlantic Theater.
A Union City Times story described the arrival of Lt. Hewitt's body in Union City on Tuesday morning, August 10, 1948. A military escort from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts met his train and escorted his body to the Musser Funeral Home. He was buried in Waterford Cemetery.
Sgt. Max Hites, 24, of Union City, was killed in action on August 9, 1944, during the battle for France.
he attended Union City High School and was employed at the York and Foster Company, Inc. at the time of his enlistment in Corry on February 17, 1941. He received his early training at Indiantown Gap, Pa., Camp Beauregard, North Carolina, and Camp Pickett, Virginia.
He landed overseas in October 1943 and was serving with the infantry when he was killed.
Max Hites is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
A War Department telegram delivered to the Krol home, R.D. 1, Union City,, informed Mr. and Mrs. Krol that their son, Sgt. John Krol, had been killed in action in France on June 12, 1944.
Sgt. Krol, 32, enlisted in the service in March 1941, and received his early training at Camp Gordon and Camp Wheeler in Georgia and was later transferred to Fort Dix. Following extensive training at Fort Dix, he was moved to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, for maneuvers.
Following his briefing at Jackson, he was shipped to florida and assigned to a unit ready to be shipped overseas.He landed in England in December 1943 and was with the invading forces that entered France.
Mr. and Mrs. Krol had two other sons with the U.S. forces. First Sgt. Frank Krol was stationed in Iran and Pvt. Stanley Krol was at Camp Phillips in Kansas.
On Monday, July 24, 1944, a requiem funeral mass in memory of Sgt. Krol was solemnized by Father Lawrence H. Trembly at St. Teresa's Catholic Church.
Sgt, Krol was the first member of St. Teresa's parish to be killed in action. Members of the American Legion LeBaron Post and servicemen made up the guard of honor. Members of the Mom's Club attended the service in a group.
On Thursday, May 20, 1948, the body of Sgt. Krol came home to Union City on the morning Pennsylvania Railroad train from Schenectady, New York. Details from the John Krol Post Veterans of Foreign Wars and the LeBaron Post American Legion escorted the casket from the railroad station to the H.L. Musser Funeral Home.
Later, the casket was moved to the Krol home where friends called. Sunday evening the rosary was recited and on Monday morning, Father Lawrence Trembly officiated at a funeral Mass at St. Teresa's. Sgt. Krol was buried in St. Teresa's Cemetery.
S/Sgt. Donald Lord enlisted in the Army in Corry in 1940, and later transferred to Co.L, 28th Division, 112th Regiment. In February 1941, he was shipped overseas and served in England and France from October 1943 to August 1944. He was killed in action on August 10, 1944.
The body of S/Sgt. Donald Lord, 30, arrived in Union City on october 27, 1948, from the Government's Distribution Depot at Schenectady, New York. A military guard from the V.F.W. and American Legion posts met the train and escorted Sgt. Lord to the Glenn Funeral Home. Reverend Perry Haines of the Methodist Church officiated. Sgt. Lord was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
John C. McQuiston
Mrs. Helen Smith McQuiston of 105 South Main Street, Union City, received word from the U.S. War Department in August 1944, that her husband, Technician Fifth Grade John C. McQuiston was dead.
Tech McQuiston, 29, had been serving with a U.S. Artillery unit in the European Theater and died in an Army base hospital on July 4, 1944, from wounds received in action.
Before he went into the service in March 1942, Tech McQuiston worked at the Standard Chair Company. He received his basic training at Camp Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Later he transferred to Camp Forrest, Tennessee, where he was assigned to a unit ready to go overseas. He landed in England in January 1944.
Merritt L. PeQueen
Gene PeQueen of Union City received word in August 1944 that his son, Lt. Merritt L. PeQueen had been killed in the heavy fighting on Saipan on June 19, 1944.
Lt. PeQueen enlisted in Company A at Corry in 1941 and trained at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Next, he went to Camp Livingston, Louisiana, for advanced training and later qualified for Officers Candidate School and won a commission. He was stationed in Arkansas for a time and then left for Pacific duty. He saw he first action in the advances against the japanese in the Gilbert Islands.
Lt. PeQueen was one of four brothers, all of them in the Armed Forces. Private Laverne PeQueen was at White Sulphur Springs Army Hospital recovering from wounds he received in North Africa. Private Gerald PeQueen was at Camp Howze, Texas, and Private Clair PeQeen at Camp Kreider, Missouri.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Shepard, 5 Merrill Avenue, Union City, received a telegram from the Navy Department in Washington telling them that their son, Sg1/ 1st Class Carlyle (Red) Shepard, was lost at sea during the sinking of the U.S.S. Landsdale off the African coast on April 20, 1944.
Several weeks before the Shepards had been notified that their son had been listed as missing in action during an enemy attack in which his ship was torpedoes and sunk. The family lived in hopes that he may have been picked up by Coast Guard vessels which arrived on the scene shortly after the sinking. But the telegram from the Navy Department listed him as officially killed while performing his duties.
Seaman Shepard enlisted in the Navy on July 7, 1942, following his high school term. After he completed boot camp training at Great Lakes Naval Training Base, he was assigned to the Lansdale which was then docked in New York Harbor.
T/5 David Smith, 23, died in an Army base hospital on Belgium on September 9, 1944, of wounds received in action. He was a graduate of Union City High School, and before he enlisted worked as a clerk in downtown grocery stores.
He enlisted in Company A at Corry on July 17, 1940, and received his early training at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Later he transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then to Camp Livingston, Louisiana. Following his specialized training at Camp Livingston, he was sent to Florida and later to Army radio school in Kansas.
In November 1943 he was shipped to England and was with the U.S. forces invading Belgium when he was wounded.
In November 1948, T/5 Smith's body arrived in Union City with two comrades, also from Union City. A military escort accompanied the bodies from the U.S. Government's distribution depot at Schenectady, New York. Reverend H.B. Burkett of the Free Methodist Church officiated at his funeral services. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
On Sunday, May 20, 1944, The United States War Department notified Mrs. Marion Soety of the Meadville Road, Union City, that her only son Pfc. Robert Soety had been killed in action in Italy on May 1, 1944.
Robert Soety, 19, graduated from Union City High School in 1943. He was inducted into the service on June 17, 1943, and received his basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. In September he landed in North Africa and in November 1943 he landed in the Italian war theater where his company fought the enemy on many missions.
He was killed at Anzio on May 1, 1944, and he was buried in the Sicily-Rome Military Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.
Killed in Action - 1945
Pfc. Carl Bishop of the Concord Road in Union City, was killed in action on February 6, 1945, in Germany.
His mother, Mrs. Ora Bishop of Beaverdam, received a telegram from the War Department on Monday, February 19, 1945, informing her of her son's death.
Carl Bishop attended Union City schools and before entering the Army, he was employed at the Aero Supply Company in Corry.
Pfc. Bishop entered the service on December 16, 1943, and received his basic training at Camp Berkely, Texas. he left for overseas duty on March 6, 1944, and he was wounded on August 2212, 1944.
After being hospitalized, he again joined his unit, Company E, 90th Infantry Division in November 1944.
Lawrence L. Hammond
Pfc. Lawrence L. Hammond, 30, one of the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hammond of Rt. 3, Union City, was killed in action in Belgium on January 30, 1945. The news came to his parents in a War Department telegram and was announced in the Union City Times on Monday, February 19, 1945.
Pfc. Hammond was a member of an armed reconnaissance battalion. H had met and visited his brother, Pfc. Glenn Hammond, somewhere in Belgium, only a few days before he was killed. If he had lived, he would have celebrated his 31st birthday on February 21, 1945. His other brother, Donald, is a Seabee.
Mrs. Marjorie Drayer Hayward, of 180 Gillette Street, Union City, received a telegram from the War Department on Saturday, February 3, 1945, stating that her husband, Pvt. Gordon Hile Hayward, was killed in action in Belgium on January 16, 1945.
Pvt. Hayward, 28, was inducted into the service on July 6, 1943, and received his basic training at Camp Lee, Virginia and Camp Reynolds in Greenville, Pennsylvania. He left for overseas in January 1944. He served in the Quartermaster Crops in Africa and Italy. While stationed in Italy, he volunteered for the Paratroop Corps and received training from May to november 1944. Then he was sent to France and later to Belgium.
The last letter that his wife received from him was dated January 7, 1945. At that time he was stationed in Belgium and he said that after one more jump he expected to be sent home on furlough.
Before he was inducted into the service he was employed as a steam fitter at the Erie Concrete and Steel Company in Erie.
Besides his wife, three children survive him: Judy, age 4, Susan, age 2, and Gordon Hile Jr., age six months who his father never saw.
Earl L. Stull
Mrs. Melvina Stull of 92 South Main Street, Union City, received word in late March 1945 that her husband, Pfc. Earl Stull, had been killed in action in Germany on March 4, 1945.
Pfc. Stull enlisted in February 1944, and received co-pilot training at camp Planche, New Orleans, Louisiana. From there he was stationed at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts for a short while before he was shipped overseas in November 1944. He served in England, France, Belgium, and Germany.
Besides his wife, he leaves two sons, LeRoy, 4, and Robert, 11 months.
T/Sgt. Theodore Hanby, Jr., serving with the U.S. Infantry Division in Germany, was killed in action on April 1, 1945. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hanby, Sr., of 23 Atlantic Street, Union City, received a telegram from the War Department on Friday, April 20, 1945, informing them of his death.
T/Sgt. Hanby was inducted into the service at Titusville on March 8, 1943, and received his basic training at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. He was sent overseas in February 1944.
His parents, his wife Ruth Diane Hanby, and two brothers and two sisters survived him. His brothers Norman and Calvin lived in Union City and so did his sisters, Mrs. Martha King and June Hanby.