Looking back: Southampton Servicemen Report

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2018

by Clyde Parker

Dec. 2, 1943

As reported to The Tidewater News, the most recent Southampton County inductees into United States military services are herewith announced. The conflicts, raging in both the European and Pacific theaters of the war, are increasingly being referred to as World War II. American troops are now actively involved in the South Pacific region. Although, at this time, the United States is not involved in direct conflict with Germany,  we are providing logistical and materiel support to our allies, especially Great Britain, and, to some extent, Russia.

In Richmond, last week, the following Southampton County men were inducted into various branches of the armed forces: From Franklin: Alden Henry Gee, Frank Ralph Day Jr., Ashby Blythe, Joseph Daniel Hardy and Carlton Rose Blythe. From Ivor: Linwood Earl Vann. From Sedley: Joseph Edward Williams and Carl Chesley Johnson. From Courtland: Otis M. Joyner Jr. From Branchville: William Benjamin Dundalow.       

And, listed below, as reported to The Tidewater News, are current status and assignments of Southampton men who, earlier, entered military service. 

Private Norman G. Lankford, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.R. Lankford of the Franklin community, has been transferred from Mitchell Field, New York, to the 322nd Fighter Squadron Seymore Johnson Field at Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Captain Lemuel A. Branch, Veterinary Corps, U.S. Army, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Branch of Franklin, has been transferred from Fort Riley, Kansas, to the west coast preparatory to duty overseas.

He was reassigned to the Veterinary Officers Replacement Pool, Quartermaster Depot, Oakland, California which is his present address. Mrs. Branch and her little daughter, Patsy, have returned to Franklin and are making their home with Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Branch.

Baird Cabell, son of Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Cabell of Franklin has been transferred from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, to the Bombardier and Navigation School, Squadron 83, at the U. S. Army Base located in Santa Ana, California.

Bert Pulley, Aviation Radioman Third Class, who has completed his training at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida, has been transferred to Norfolk, Virginia.

He is spending a 12-day furlough with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Junius W. Pulley of Courtland.

James Chesley Beale Jr., son of Mrs. James Chesley Beale of Franklin, has been transferred from Travers City, Michigan to California. His address is: Section H.F.A.D., Naval Air Station, Monterey, California.

Milton T. Futrell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Futrell of the Courtland community, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant at Camp Ellis, Illinois. Sergeant Futrell entered the U.S. Army last January and is attached to the Medical Corps.

Mrs. Otis Smith of Franklin received a wire from the War Department this week stating that her brother, PFC Beverly Simmons, is in a serious condition with pneumonia. He is located somewhere in the Southwest Pacific area. PFC Simmons has been overseas for about two years.

Private Joseph K. Magette, who has completed his training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, has been spending a short furlough with his mother, Mrs. Bertie Magette of Courtland, before leaving for an embarkation center in Pennsylvania.

Word has been received from Corporal Rainey Hundley, son of Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Hundley of Sedley, of his safe arrival in Australia.

Corporal Geno B. Whitehead, son of Mrs. Bettie Rowe Whitehead of Sebrell, has been transferred from a post in Sicily to one in Italy.

Henry C. Bryant, grandson of Mrs. K. W. Gray of Franklin, who is in a military hospital in Texas with a broken collar bone, would appreciate hearing from his friends at the following address: Private Henry C. Bryant 33634804, Station Hospital, Ward 12, Amarillo Army Air Field, Amarillo, Texas.

Camp Manufacturing Company which, earlier this year, sent out greetings/gifts to service men of Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, has received a number of thank-you letters from men stationed in camps all over the country and at various foreign posts. One particular letter of interest was from Hatcher P. Story, United States Navy, whose address is Fleet Post Office, New York. Story expressed appreciation for the gift of cigarettes which he said were scarce aboard his ship.

Story said that there are men from all over the United States, forming an interesting intersection of American life. His ship let an American Red Cross group have 50 gallons of chocolate for American servicemen.   

On the home-front, Southampton Company No. 23 of the Virginia Protective Force (VPF,) now based in Franklin at the Fourth Avenue Armory, is at the ready and is subject to activation into the United States Army.

The unit is being prepared for ultimate deployment to a strategic location somewhere in the United States — or to a foreign destination, “yet to be determined.” Captain Jesse L. Sinclair Jr. is commanding officer of the Southampton unit.

Company No. 23 held a regular drill period here Monday night, divided into judo and knife practice by Lt. Magnus. A number of promotions were also made Monday night as follows:

Dr. James P. Broaddus and Lawrence A. Clements, from Sergeant to Sergeant 3rd Grade; Luther Hunnings, Hubert Bridges, George H. Yates, Herman Underwood, and Jeremy Gagner, from Corporal to Sergeant 4th Grade; Richard Balfour and Aubrey Lankford, from Private 1st Class to Sergeant 4th Grade; Jesse Grissom, Charles Holt, Elliot Parker, and Emmett R. Vaughan, from Private First Class to Corporal; Jerome Gagner and Harvey Darden, from Private to Corporal; Howard R. Freeman, Charles R. Rawls, Melvin W. Bryant, Jasper Joyner, Eppa Prince, Chester Piersa, Eugene L. Presson, J.C. Taylor, and Julius N. Hale, from Private to Private 1st Class.

Major Franklin Edwards, of Franklin, is commander of the Second Battalion which gives him command of both the Southampton and Suffolk units.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net