A War Fought by Unknown Heroes
Winston Churchill once said of World War Two that it was not a war of princes or chieftains, but of peoples and causes; a war fought by unknown heroes. Here we acknowledge the unknown heroes that Churchill was referring to as well; our fallen heroes as well as those that fought for our freedoms and returned with their memories. We remember and honour in our hearts the Allied heroes, war veterans and all the affected people, who valued freedom in their life above all else.
Click on the buttons below to view an alphabetical listing of Honorees, both living and passed. If you know of someone who should be recognized here, from any country, please contact us today!
S/Sgt, US Army, E Company, 16th Infantry
Silver Star with Oak Leaves Cluster, Purple Heart . Eusebio served in all the First Division campaigns of World War II: Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. While a sergeant in the vicinity of Annet-sur-Marne, Ile-de-France, France, 28 August 1944, intense enemy fire compelled members of a rocket-gun team to abandon their positions in defense of a road block. Sergeant Galvan manned the weapon and engaged an approaching hostile truck loaded with troops. Remaining at an exposed vantage point and completely ignoring personal safety, he destroyed the enemy vehicle with a single rocket shell and repulsed a series of attacks upon the road barrier.
Robert E. Gerstung
T/Sgt, US Army, Company H, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division
Medal of Honor, Purple of Heart. Medal of Honor winner for heroism in action on December 19, 1944 near Berg on the Siegfried Line with Company H, 313th Regiment, 79th Division. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 6 Augusyt 1915 - 17 June 1979. His Medal of Honor Citation reads: On 19 December 1944 he was ordered with his heavy machinegun squad to the support of an infantry company attacking the outer defense of the Siegfried Line near Berg, Germany. For 8 hours he maintained a position made almost untenable by the density of artillery and mortar fire concentrated upon it and the proximity of enemy troops who threw hand grenades into the emplacement. While all other members of his squad became casualties, he remained at his gun. When he ran out of ammunition, he fearlessly dashed across bullet-swept, open terrain to secure a new supply from a disabled friendly tank. A fierce barrage pierced the water jacket of his gun, but he continued to fire until the weapon overheated and jammed. Instead of withdrawing, he crawled 50 yards across coverless ground to another of his company's machineguns which had been silenced when its entire crew was killed. He continued to man this gun, giving support vitally needed by the infantry. At one time he came under direct fire from a hostile tank, which shot the glove from his hand with an armor-piercing shell but could not drive him from his position or stop his shooting. When the American forces were ordered to retire to their original positions, he remained at his gun, giving the only covering fire. Finally withdrawing, he cradled the heavy weapon in his left arm, slung a belt of ammunition over his shoulder, and walked to the rear, loosing small bursts at the enemy as he went. One hundred yards from safety, he was struck in the leg by a mortar shell; but, with a supreme effort, he crawled the remaining distance, dragging along the gun which had served him and his comrades so well. By his remarkable perseverance, indomitable courage, and heroic devotion to his task in the face of devastating fire, T/Sgt. Gerstung gave his fellow soldiers powerful support in their encounter with formidable enemy forces.
Private First Class, US Army, Combat Medic, Pacific Theater
Combat Medic Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal with 2 Stars, Philippines Liberation Ribbon, World War Two Victor Medal, Good Conduct Medal . Sabino was born in 1910 in New York City of Basque parents from Bilbao, Spain. Unmarried at the age of 32, he was drafted in May, 1943. He completed medic training at Brooke Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, and was assigned to the Medical Detachment of the 754th Tank Battalion as a replacement. He left for the South Pacific in December, 1943 in time for two campaigns - the second battle for Bougainville (Solomon Islands) and the invasion of the Philippines. If my research is correct, the 754th was part of XIV Corps, which consisted of a Marine Defense Battalion, the Americal Division, the 37th Infantry Division (Ohio Buckeye's), the 754th Tank Battalion, Army Air Force, Naval, and numerous other small elements. You can read his journal by visiting http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/pers/sal/Goitia-Jnl.html. Submitted by Ellie Kennedy (niece).
Sergeant, US Army, Co. G, 315th Inf., 79th Div.
Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge . An Army platoon sergeant in K Company of the 315th Infantry, 79th Infantry Division, he came ashore five days after D-Day as part of the 1st Army's invasion force and was immediately thrown into the battle for the port city of Cherbourg. After Cherbourg was secured, Grisham's regiment was attached to Patton's 3rd Army on the front lines. He was wounded on 19 July and spent the rest of the war in an Army hospital. 10 March 1921 - 8 July 2016.
Roy Edward Hanf
Private First Class, US Army, 3rd Platoon, Co. G, 315th Inf., 79th Div.
Purple Heart . While on a mission with his unit to secure the enemy from a wooded area, Private First Class Hanf was killed by shell fragments from enemy mortar and small arms fire. This occurred on 12 Oct. 1944, Foret de Parroy, near Luneville, France. Hanf is buried at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France, Plot B, Row 18, Grave 37. Additional information provided by Fannin Vet Carl A. Settle: Roy Hanf was 37 years old when he was killed. He had worked more than 20 years for International Shoe Company in Cape Girardeau, Missouri at the time of his induction. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and the Walther League. Submitted by daughter, Becky (Hays) Martin
Alva J. Hatley
313th Infantry Regiment, 1st Btn, Co. B, 79th Infantry Division
Purple Heart . Landed on Normandy with the 79th/313/1st Batt/company B. He was 20 years old at the time of this picture. He fought with the 79th until late November 1944 when he received wounds that removed him from combat. His name is Alva J. Hatley, and he carried the B.A.R. He always said that being part of the 79th. was one of the greatest honors he experienced in life.
James Hubert Hattox
2nd Lt, US Army, 79th Infantry Division, 315th Infantry Regiment, Co. C
Purple Heart, European Campaign Medal with one bronze star, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal . On December 26, 1942, James H. Hattox left Tupelo and headed for Camp Shelby, MS for induction as an enlisted man. Officially enlisting on December 31, 1942, he was shipped off to Camp Wallace, between Houston and Galveston, TX for basic training. After basic training, he entered training for anti-aircraft at Camp Wallace, TX and was promoted to Corporal. In April 1943, he was selected for Officers Candidate School and sent to Camp Davis, near Wilmington, NC. Jack was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on August 12, 1943, and reassigned to Fort Bliss, TX. At one point, Jack was reassigned to the Infantry branch and sent to Ft. Benning, GA to "Officer Special Basic" Infantry School. The call came to be shipped out to Europe in September, 1944. He went overseas with 4 other officers and 200 enlisted men. He shipped out of New York on September 18th and arrived in Liverpool on September 26th. After about a week in Northern England, they went by train to Southern England for transport to the Cherbourg Peninsula. On October 25, 1944, Jack was assigned to the 79th Infantry Division, 315th Infantry Regiment, Company C as a replacement platoon leader. He travelled by train and truck to join the 79th Division at a rest area near Luneville, France.
On November 14, 1944, Jack was sent to the front lines to command a platoon. The German were bombarding his position with artillery. They were using “tree burst” shells which exploded 20 feet or so above the ground and spread shrapnel across a wide area. Many men were also killed by splinters as trees were blown apart. Jack was hit by shrapnel about daylight on November 15, 1944. He almost bled to death before medics arrived to transport him back to the 11th Evacuation Hospital. His wounds were described: “He was struck by shell fragments in the left thigh resulting in a compound comminuted fracture of the middle third of the femur. At the same time there were two wounds involving the soft tissues of the right leg, and a small superficial wound” on the top of his head.” Later, it was discovered that his left ankle had been broken as well. After lengthy hospital stays and rehabilitation, on July 2, 1946 Jac received his Honorable Discharge and was "separated" from the Army.
Warren P. Hayes
PFC 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division
Purple Heart . Warren Hayes, US Army 79th Infantry WW II. Warren was one of 10 children born to Emmett and Hattie Hayes of Sunfish. He grew up farming and helping with all the chores a farm boy has. His youngest sister Maud recalls the day she carried his draft notice to him. She said he must have been expecting it because he stopped chopping fire wood and sat down on a stump to open it. At only 10 years of age, she remembers crying she didn’t want to see her big brother leave. He told her "It’s something I have to do."
Warren was inducted in 1943. Following basic training he was sent to England to be part of the landing force of the Normandy invasion. He told how they left England 3 days in a row, going back twice because the seas were too rough. On the 3rd day they were told this is it, we are going in. They landed on Omaha Beach in the second wave. Warren was in the war for 13 days when he received a gunshot wound in La Havre France. For this he received his first purple heart. He spent some time in the hospital in England, then returned to duty and fought in battles from Normandy through Northern France and Rhineland.
As an infantryman, Warren served under Generals Bradley, Patton and Eisenhower. His duties included house to house fighting to clean out snipers. He told how the enemy captured a convent and used the nun’s habits to try to infiltrate American lines. He also said the Germans would use women and children in foxholes for cover.
Warren was wounded the second time in Strasbourg, Germany. It was the coldest year on record in Europe. Conditions were terrible. Troops were either in deep snow or wet conditions day and night, living only on dried foods. Warren and three other troops were walking behind a tank whose driver had little experience in its operation. The battle was raging and the driver got so rattled he put it in reverse instead of drive. He backed over all four men, killing three and seriously wounding Warren. He tried desperately to keep his buddies alive by giving them snow, but his efforts were not successful. When the Germans came along, they kicked his buddies to see if they were alive. Warren played dead and was left for dead among his comrades. When the American troops came, they moved Warren to a haystack where he stayed for 3 days until the medics reached him. Just before going into surgery the last thing he remembered hearing the surgeon say was his leg would have to be amputated. Image his surprise and blessing to find out God had given him a skilled man who managed to save his leg after all. He received a 2nd purple heart for these injuries, and is listed in the Purple Heart Hall of Fame in Washington D.C.
After returning to the United States, he spent months undergoing many hospitals and treatments, including a year in the hospital in Nashville. During these times, few people had tires good enough for a trip to Nashville, but a neighbor took his father to pick him up for a visit home on furlough. He was discharged in November 1945, and returned home to Sunfish. He married Irene Durbin, and they had 11 children. They both are now deceased and are buried in St John’s Cemetery in Sunfish. Warren’s sister, Maud who is now 83 yrs of age, provided this account of his service.
Henry Glendon Hays
S Sgt AC AUS, 2526th AAF BU
Purple Heart, Victory Medal, Air Crew Member Badge, Air Offensive Europe Campaign, American Theater Service Medal, European-African-Middle Easter Service Medal with 1 Bronze Battle Star, Distinguished Unit Badge . Date of enlistment: Dec 8 1942 Dallas, Texas. Date of Separation: Oct 31 1945 Sheppard Field Texas. Airplane mechanic, Gunner 748 AAF. Wounds received in action over enemy occupied Europe, Jan 11 1944.
Last Mission of Hallden Crew - #98 11 Jan 1944. Over 300 German fighters attacked the formations after our fighter support returned to England and a mission recall signal was issued. 1st Air Division Air Commander, B/Gen Robert F. Travis claimed he never received the recall order and continued on to the target. The 303rd BG(H) lost 11 crews of which 46 of the 110 crewmen were KIA. The First Air Division lost 42 B-17s and 2 fighters. The recalled 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions lost an additional 16 B-17s and 2 B-24s. The 303rd claimed 30 German fighters destroyed, 4 probables and 9 damaged. The Hallden Crew's B-17 was seen to be in distress at 19,000 feet. Was on fire and went out of formation into a spin. The tail section came off. The B-17 crashed near Kirchlengern, Germany. Two crewmen were KIA and eight became POWs. Submitted by daughter, Becky (Hays) Martin
James P. Hennessey
Private First Class, US Army, Co. E, 345th Infantry Reg., 87th Infantry Div
Purple Heart . Jim was born November 24, 1925 in Bayonne, NJ. His father died in 1930, leaving his mother to raise him, his three brothers, and six sisters. He attended local schools, received his high school diploma, and entered the Army in March 1944. He had IRTC (Infantry Replacement Training Center) training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, SC, then proceeded to Ft. Jackson where he was assigned to the 87th. The 87th passed through his hometown when they were shipping out via Camp Kilmer. On Feb 26, 1945, Jim was wounded near Neuenstein, Germany. He was sent to a hospital in Paris, but says:
"It was rough on a 19 year old who didn't smoke or drink and not too fond of chocolate ... don't know how I was able to recuperate."
Jim was discharged from the Army on December 15, 1945 at Camp Upton, Patchogue, Long Island. He married his wife, the former Dolly Tagliareni, in 1949. They have two sons, and two grandsons. He retired in 1982 after working for 35 years as a mailman for the Bayonne Post Office.
Thomas J. Hennessey
T/Sgt, US Army, 8th AAF-390 Bomber Group, 568 Bombardment Squadron, Radio Operator-Gunner, B-17 (The Vulture)
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 clusters . Stationed at the 8th AAF Field in Framingham, England, T/Sgt Thomas J. Hennessey was with the 390th Bomber Group, 568th Bombardment Squadron. His plane was a B-17 and was named THE VULTURE. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Air Medal with 3 clusters. After WWII he lived and worked in Chicago, IL. He is buried alongside his wife Loretta, in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC. Submitted by brother, James Hennessey
Leonard R. Holland
PFC, US Army, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division
Bronze Star . Private First Class Leonard R Holland served with the 313th Infantry Regiment, receiving the Bronze Star.
Lieutenant, 315th IR, Co. I, 79th Division
Purple Heart . Lt. David Hornstein was from Rockville Centre, NY who served in Company I of the 315th Infantry Regiment of the 79th. He was killed in November 1944 in the Vosges Mountains.