(The following is a synopsis of a memoriam that ran in the military edition of the McGehee Times, March 15, 1945 of individuals from Desha County residents who were killed during World War II. Thank you to the Times-News for allowing me to reprint this information here.)
S-Sgt. Jim T. McCloy, killed in action Nov. 8, 1942 while on a mission over a German munitions plant in France. Is buried in Lille, France. Posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Citation. His mother, A.E. Smith, resides in Orlando, Fla.; brothers, Melvyn and Art reside in McGehee; another brother, Sam, is stationed in Hawaii with the Seabees.
Pvt. William G. Shook Jr., and Pvt. Lawrence R. Shook, sons of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Shook of Rohwer. William drowned Oct. 9, 1944 on his way to the Philippines. Lawrence later reported killed in action after he had been missing in action since October 22 on Leyte, Phillipines. They were survived by three sisters and two brothers.
Cpl. Clem D. Lee, killed in action in France Sept. 25, 1944. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Varnell Lee of McGehee. He was attached to the 90th Division of Patton’s 3rd Army. Was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Pfc. Patrick B. Dillon Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Pat Dillon of Dumas, was killed in action in Germany November 30, 1944. Survivors include his parents, and two sisters, Mary Frances and Linda Joyce, also his grandmothers, Mrs. Annie O. Locke of Dumas and Mrs. T.M. Dillon of Wilmot and grandfather, R.A. Locke of Shreveport, LA.
Pfc. James R. Gaston, son of Mrs. B.R. Gaston of McGehee, was killed in an airplane crash in India Dec. 26, 1943. Posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Citation.
First Lt. Avalee E. Huie, son of Mrs. L.C. Huie of Dumas, died May 13, 1943, when two bombers collided on routine patrol at El Paso, TX.
Pfc. John Britt, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Britt of McGehee, died in Port Moresby, New Guinea while helping construct a bridge. After his death, the bridge was named in his honor.
Charles R. Pescod, born in Salinas, Ecuador, died December 2 in France. He played professional baseball in the United States until entering the Army. He was survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Cook, and a daughter, Charlotte Anne of Dumas; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.T. Pescod, six brothers and five sisters of the Canal Zone.
Sammy W. Townsend, L.A.C., died Aug. 18, 1941 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, two weeks before receiving his wings in the R.C.A.F. He was the son of Mrs. Smith of McGehee.
Pvt. Whitnell W. Lawrence, was killed in France August 30. Besides his wife who resided in McGehee, he is survived by his mother, Mrs. M.L. Lawrence, two children and several brothers and sisters.
Lt. Hugh L. Williams, Jr., son of County Judge and Mrs. Hugh L. Williams Sr. He was survived by his wife, the former Laura Smith and a daughter of Rohwer, and sister, Mrs. William Matthews of McGehee.
Franklin Eldridge Fehr, son of Mr. and Mrs. George F. Fehr of Watson, reported missing on a patrol flight in the Aleutians Jan. 17, 1943. He was officially declared dead a year later. A chapel in the Aleutians is dedicated to the crew of which he was a member.
Cpl. Thomas F. Lewis, Jr., son of T.F. Lewis of Memphis was killed in action while with the Marine Corps in the Pacific. “He was the first Dumas boy to be killed in World War II.” He was surivived by his father and two brothers, Dr. Douglas Lewis of McGehee and Bernard Lewis of the Naval Air Corps.
Cpl. Fred M. Manees was killed in action Dec. 28, 1944, in Belgium. He was survived by his widow and two small daughters, Patricia Ann, 7, and Pauline, 6, of North Little Rock; his mother, Mrs. Dean Turner of Dumas; his father, Z.H. Manees of Imperial, Calif., and two sisters, Mrs. E.E. Matthews of Pine Bluff and Mrs. E.R. Ross of Dumas.
Pfc. Robert F. Howell, brother of Mrs. Fred Heathcock of McGehee, was killed in action in France Nov. 20, 1944 and was buried in a U.S. Military Cemetery in Eastern France. His mother, Mrs. Virgil Howell of Warsaw, Mo., received the Purple Heart awarded him posthumously.
Pvt. Marvin Clayton, of Tillar, was killed in Germany September 22. His two young sons, Gibbs and Billy had been living with relatives near Tillar since the death of their mother in July 1942. Clayton was also survived by his brother, Dewey T. Clayton of Tillar.
Cpl. Bruce Grubb, husband of the former Nellie Birch of Tillar, died Dec. 25, 1944, in Belgium. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. B.C. Grubb Sr. of Dumas; four sisters, Lois Grubb, Mrs. Glenn Robinson, Mrs. Marvin Hodges, all of McGehee, and Maude Grubb of Memphis.
Pvt. Freddie Ensminger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ensminger of McGehee, was reported missing Nov. 26, 1943 and later reported killed on November 27.
Pfc. Josef H. Crutchfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Crutchfield of McGehee, was killed in action July 9, 1944, on Saipan. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously and the Asiatic-Pacific campaign ribbon with three battle stars. Before his induction, he resided in Little Rock.
E. Robin Warrick, was reported missing in action in February, 1943. He was officially declared dead later that year. He was the son of Mrs. A.O. Warrick of McGehee. Two of his sisters, Mrs. Anna Mae Singleton and Mrs. Robert Snow, resided in McGehee. He was also survived by his widow, Mrs. Pearl Warrick of San Diego, Calif.
Julian T.W. Tillar, veteran of Bataan and Corregidor, was one of the last to escape when the Philippines fell in 1942. He was killed in a maneuvers accident in the Southwest Pacific area Aug. 19, 1942. He was the son of Mrs. J.S. Tillar of Tillar. “Because he had been in every theater of war aboard a hospital ship, he was entitled to every campaign ribbon. He was also survived by a sister, Charlotte.
Cpl. James E. Butts was killed in Tennessee maneuvers Sept. 8, 1943. (The brief does not say who his mother was, only that she resided in McGehee.)
Lt. James Condray Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Johnson of Hazen, was shot down while on a bombing raid on Gaines Landing Field in North Africa Feb. 3, 1943. He was employed at Kroger’s in Dumas for two years before enlisting.
Cpl. Henry S. Prewitt, son of Mrs. J.R. Prewitt of Tillar, was killed in combat in France October 14. He was also survived by a sister, Mrs. Donald J. Huenink of Pennsylvania and a brother, Maj. Z.T. Prewitt of the Army.
Lt. Benjamin Rials Gaston, son of Mrs. B.R. Gaston of McGehee, died May 21, 1943 in Jacksonville, Fla., from injuries received in an airplane accident. Gaston was on the ground observing landing operations when the accident occurred. His brother, James, was killed in an airplane crash in India Dec. 26, 1943.
Lester Monroe Cash was reported missing in action March 27, 1942 and was later officially declared dead. His uncle, Hogue A. Cash, resided in McGehee.
Sgt. Robert Irby was killed in action in France December 10. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. A.Z. Irby of Watson. He was also survived by two brothers, T-Sgt. Albert Irby of the Army and Edward of Watson; three sisters, Miss Dessure Irby of Dumas, Bennie and Margaret of Watson, and his grandmother, Mrs. Mollie Irby, also of Watson.
Pvt. O.D. Dordon of McGehee died October 28 at a base hospital in England from wounds he received in action in Germany. He was survived by his father, Otis Dordon of Kurdo, his step-mother, two half brothers and a half-sister.