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Abell Home --> Special Collections --> Virtual Exhibits --> Of Service and Sacrifice --> Fallen War Heroes: WWII

Fallen War Heroes: WWII


The 1946 Chromascope honored the following alumni who died during World War II:

Alvin Lee Barker, BA 1941
Captain, USAAF

Killed in action over Bremen, Germany, October 8, 1943.

Born in Sherman, September 11, 1917, Alvin Barker was the son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Barker and a brother of Cleveland, Ruby and Dorothy Barker, all Austin College students.  At Austin College he lettered in football, was Vice-President of the “A” Association, member of the Men’s Council, the International Relations Club and the Sherman Club.

Inducted in July 1941, Alvin trained in California.  He won his wings and commission at March Field, February 20, 1942, and was promoted to lst Lieutenant October 1, 1942.  Overseas duty dated from May 29, 1943.  Based in England, he was promoted to Captain on July 1, 1943, and at the time of his death he was Squadron Flight Commander and Operations Officer, 351st Bomber Squadron, 100th Bombardier Group.  He was awarded the Air Medal with two clusters and DFC.

Norman E. Barnes

Norman E. Barnes, BA 1935
Flight Officer, USAAF

Killed in China in aircraft accident, July 7, 1945

Norman came to Austin College as a Junior, after graduating at the College of Marshall in 1933.  He was active in student affairs, especially football and basketball; and was a member of the “A” Association.

Two years principal of Gunter school, he then became instructor and athletic director at the College of Marshall.

In the war he became flight instructor at Jones  Field, Bonham.  Later he went to Ellington, then Randolph Field for C-47 training; then to station at Reno, Nevada; then last April to the India-China theatre, flying military cargo for the ATC.  He was serving in that capacity when reported killed.

Memorial services were held in Marshall, home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.O. Barnes.

Jack Boggs Bidwell

Jack Boggs Bidwell, BA 1943
Private, U.S.Army

Died from heat prostration, Camp Wallace, Texas, August 18, 1943.

Jack Boggs Bidwell, the son of Reverend and Mrs. G.C. Bidwell, was born in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, June 18, 1922, and reared in Texas, graduated at Van Horn.

In Austin College, in addition to night work in a local factory, Jack was active in all phases of college.  His activities included membership in Alpha Chi (National Scholarship Society), International Relations Club, Student Council, YMCA Cabinet, track and basketball teams, football manager, "A" Association and Theta Omega Tau.  During his senior year he was president of his class and holder of the Stephen F. Austin Fellowship in History.

Two brothers, Robert and David Bidwell, were in College with him.

In the Army less than four months, he had been awarded the marksmanship medal and appointment to ASTP.

Donald G. Boyd

Donald Gladney Boyd, BA 1940
2nd Lieutenant, USAAF

Killed in crash near Flagstaff, Arizona, October 3, 1941

Gladney was the son of Mr. and Mrs. M.G. Boyd of Palestine, Texas.  In College, his extra-curricular activities included golf and tennis; International Relations Club, whose President he became in 1940; Men's Council; Phi Sigma Alpha; business manager of the Chromoascope.  During his senior year he took flight training at the college and was secretary of "The Flying Kangaroos."

In February of 1941 Gladney enlisted in the United States Army Air Force and received his wings and commission at Stockton, California.  Only a week later, a B-18 in which he was a passenger, crashed on Agassiz Peak of the San Francisco Mountain Range in California.  At the time of his death he was enroute to Sherman for his marriage to his Austin College fiancee.  Burial was in Palestine.

George W. Firor

George W. Firor, Class of 1946
Pfc. 101st Pt. Inf., U.S. Army

Killed in action December 21, 1944, in Belgium.

George Firor, son of Mrs. Velma F. Stevens of Tacoma, Washington, entered Austin College as a freshman in 1942.  He was born in Dalhart, Texas, and was graduated from Forest Avenue High School, Dallas.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, George withdrew from college and enlisted in the Army.  During the one semester of his freshman year he had played guard on the football team, was initiated into the Phi Sigma Alpha social fraternity, and took a leading part in all activities of the Slime Association, the organization of men of the freshman class.

His death occurred during the battle of the Belgian Bulge, and the Purple Heart and Star for gallantry were awarded posthumously and presented to his mother.

Ben Prentice Gafford

Ben Prentice Gafford, Class of 1944
Engine Cadet, U.S. Merchant Marine

Lost in explosion at sea off the coast of Africa, January 1, 1943.

Ben Prentice Gafford, son of Mr. and Mrs. G.P. Gafford was born March 21, 1922, in Sherman.  He entered Austin College in the fall of 1940.  At the end of his freshman year, Ben Prentice declined a nomination to Annapolis as second alternate and entered the Merchant Marine.

After passing a competitive examination, he reported to New Orleans for 8 weeks of shore training.  In his twenty months of service he completed voyages to South America, South Afria and the West Indies.  At the time of his death he would have received his commission on completion of the voyage.

The Mariner's Medal was awarded posthumously.

Elery George Gross

Elery George Gross, Class of 1937
Lieutenant, USAAF

Killed in crash near Palm Springs, California, November 13, 1941.

Elery, who was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Gross of Greenville, entered Austin College in the fall of 1933.  At Austin College, he was football manager and a member of the track and basketball teams.  He transferred to St. Edwards, and was graduated there in 1938.

Inducted into the Air Corps February 14, 1940, he received his wings and commission at Kelly Field October 4, 1940.  During the summer of 1941 he was attached to the U.S. Embassy in London acting as Military Observer for the U.S. Air Corps.

On his return to the U.S., he married Miss Ona Ard, of Greenville, on August 6, 1941.

November 13, 1941, he crashed near Palm Springs, California.  Elery's body was returned to Greenville.

La Rue Haralson

La Rue Haralson, BA 1940
Lieutenant, USAAF

Killed in crash into the Pacific Ocean, April 17, 1943.

LaRue Haralson, son of Mr. and Mrs. L.G. Haralson, of Sherman, was graduated from Denison High School and entered Austin College from Schreiner Institute.  In Austin College, La Rue lettered in football, was Secretary/Treasurer of the Sherman Club and held membership in "A" Association and the Phi Sigma Alpha.

He entered service November 12, 1942 and did his training at Jones Field, Bonham, and at Randolph and Kelly Fields; he received his wings and commission at Kelly, July 3, 1942.  The next day he received an overseas assignment, the South Pacific.

Bombardier Squadron veteran of 50 missions, Bismarck Sea battle and an 8000-ton ship sunk at Rabaul, La Rue died in practice maneuver, diving into the sea.  His body was not recovered.

Clifford G. Hardwicke

Clifford G. Hardwicke Jr., Summer Student
Lieutenant, U.S.Cavalry

Killed on Bataan, January 17, 1942.

Clifford G. Hardwicke, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. C.G. Hardwicke of Sherman was the grandson of Professor Case, for many years professor of music and director of Austin College glee clubs and chorsues.  The major part of Cliff's college work was done at Texas A&M, from which he received his degree.  He attended Austin College during the summers of 1934, 1935 and 1936.

He entered active service in June, 1940.  After duty at Ft. Clark, Ft. Bliss, and Ft. Riley, he saw service with the 26th Cavalry in the Philippines.  He was killed in action at Moron, Bataan, P.I.  January 17th, 1942.  Purple Heart and Silver Star for gallantry were awarded posthumously.

Harold Hester

Harold Hester, BA 1940
Ensign, USNR

Lost at sea with U.S. Submarine S-28, July 4, 1944

Harold Hester was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hester and while in college married Evelyn Welborn, of the class of 1939.  In Austin College he was a member of the band, was on the basketball and tennis teams, was president of his class during his sophomore year, and a member of the Pre-Medical Society.

He received naval training at Annapolis, beginning January 8, 1943, and asked for submarine duty.  After service in the Aleutians he went to advanced submarine school at New London, Connecticut, where he received his "Dolphins."  At New London, Harold took first honors in a class of 350.  He was assigned to the Submarine S-28, became her executive officer, and was lost with her.

Roswell G. Higginbotham

Roswell G. Higginbotham, Summer Student/Coach
Lieutenant (jg), USNR

Died at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, May 25, 1943.

"Little Hig" will be remembered as a student at Austin College in the summer of 1931 and as backfield coach in 1923 when Pete Cawthon was head coach of the Kangaroos; and head baseball coach in 1924.  He was married to Miss Elizabeth Tuck of Sherman.  They had one son, Bobby.

His college work was done at A&M where he had a brilliant football and baseball career; after which he was much sought after as a coach and league player.  The past several years he had been a staff member in the Athletic Department at SMU and director of the men's dormitory.

Roswell entered the navy in the summer of 1943 as a Lieut. (jg) and died at Quonset Point, Rhode Island following an opreation.

Shepherd Litsey

Shepherd Litsey, Special Student

Killed over Germany, November 5, 1944.

Shepherd Litsey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Litsey of Sherman, was a special student at Austin College just prior to his enlistment.  He entered service October 17, 1942, as a photo-technician and trained at the Hondo, Texas, Navigation School, photographic section.

He went overseas April 12, 1944, and served as combat aerial photographer with the 34th Bombardier Squadron, based in England.

On September 26, 1944, he was wounded by flak over Bremen, Germany. On November 5, 1944 his plane failed to return from a 2500 plane raid over Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Ludwigshafen.  He had the air medal with two clusters, Presidential Group citation and two Purple Hearts.

Shep was a brother of Captain Richard Litsey, USAAF, Austin College Class of 1943.

Gordon D. McDaniel

Gordon Duggan McDaniel, Class of 1937
Ensign, USNAF

Died February 15, 1943, at Ream Field, California, as a result of a crash near San Diego.

Gordon Duggan McDaniel, son of Mr. and Mrs. B. McDaniel, was born and reared in Denison.  He entered Austin College in 1933, for the pre-law course; was active in student affairs, and became assistant editor of the Kangaroo.  After two years he went to Texas University where he took his law degree in 1938.  After graduation he was associated with the law firm of Campbell, Myer and Eastham, of Houston, Texas.

He was sworn into the Naval Reserve January 1, 1942, received his wings and commission at Corpus Christi in November, 1942, thence went to Miami for training as pilot of Navy Torpedo Planes.  He then was sent to the West Coast where death occurred.  Burial was in Denison.

Guy N. Matlock

Guy N. Matlock, Class of 1928
S/Sgt., U.S. Medical  Corps

Died in New Guinea, October 19, 1944.

Guy Matlock was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Matlock of Sherman and a brother of Dorothy, Doris and George Matlock, all graduates of Austin College.  Guy spent two years at Austin College, was active in student affairs and took a leading part in the Sherman Club.

At the time he entered service he was a petroleum engineer in New York.  He trained at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.  Overseas, he was attached to the 60thGeneral Hospital in which organization he was serving at the time of his death.  Memorial services were held by his chaplain at 1800, Sunday, October 22, 1944.

As a token of their esteem for Guy, his associates on the hospital staff raised a memorial fund of $580 which they sent his parents.  Mr. and Mrs. Matlock plan to use the money to establish a student loan fund in memory of Guy.

Edward Lee Matthews

Edward Lee Matthews, BA 1934
Lieutenant, 3rd Armored Division

Killed in action March 3, 1945, in Germany.

Edward Lee Matthews entered service in June of 1942.  He attended OCS at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he was commissioned in September, 1942.  In this country, he was stationed at Camp Barkley until June, 1944, when he went overseas as a member of the 3rdArmored Division.  He was promoted to 1stLieutenant after the battle at St. Lo, Normandy, and was killed in action leading a reconnaissance troop of 32nd Armored Regiment in Germany.

Edward was the son of Mr. and Mrs. A.N. Matthews, of Sherman.  While in College he was active in the Stroller’s Club.  In addition to his parents, he is survived by this wife and a small daughter.  His wife is the former Miss Locile Rogers, a former Austin College student.

Douglas H. Mebane

Douglas H. Mebane, BA 1911
Colonel, Medical Corps, USA

Died in service, November 12, 1943.

Douglas H. Mebane entered Austin College from Alvin, Texas , in 1907.  He took the pre-medical course and was graduated with the BA Degree in 1911.  He held offices, including the Presidency in the Athenaeum Literary Society, the YMCA, his class, which was organized in his senior year.  He played football and basketball and was on the track team; was high sheriff of the Kangaroo Court.

He took his M.D. degree at the University Medical School, Galveston, in 1916.  Dr. Mebane then went into the U.S. Army, and served 25 years, including tours in Hawaii, the Philippines, and the largest hospitals in the service.  At the time of his death, he was Chief of the Medical Service.

His widow, Mrs. Mebane, lives with her mother, Mrs. C.C. West, in Eldorado, Texas.  A son, Douglas, Jr., is in military school in San Antonio.

Alfred Martin Nicholas Jr.

Alfred Martin Nicholas, Jr., Class of 1945
Seaman 2/c, USNR

Killed in action August 18, 1943.

Martin volunteered for Navy service December 13, 1942, and eight months later met his death in action in Alaskan waters.  He had trained at San Diego and had participated in the battles of Attu and Kiska.  His unit was awarded the Presidential Citation.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Nicholas, Martin was born in Pueblo, Colorado, March 11, 1923, lived later in Denison, Texas and was graduated from Sherman High School.  He entered Austin College as a freshman in the fall of 1941 and withdrew from College to enter the Navy.  He was active in the Sherman Club and the YMCA.

His body is interred in Alaska.

Edwin Hughes Read

Edwin Hughes Read, Class of 1940

Killed in crash of passenger plane, February 23, 1945

Edwin was the son of Mr. and Mrs. O.J. Read of Augusta, Texas.  Two brother, one of whom is Ray Weldon Read, Austin College class of 1940, are in the Navy.

Chief Read had spent only his freshman year at Austin College when he entered the Navy in 1937.  He served in convoy duty in the North Atlantic, rescue duty in the North Atlantic, duty in Iceland, and in Trinidad, BWI.  He was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal with designation for combat duty, European-East African Medal Battle Stars; and the North American Theatre Medal.

At the time of his death, Chief Read was on leave form his destroyer, “Frank Knox,” a passenger on the American Lines “Mercury,” which crashed in Virginia.  He was buried in Augusta, Texas.

Norman Morrow Smith

Norman Morrow Smith, BA 1933

Killed in action over Regensburg, August 17, 1943.

Normanwas a son of Mr. and Mrs. N.H. Smith of Waco.  During his four years, “Pinky” was active in class, dramatic and musical organizations, assistant to the Librarian three years, Associate Editor of the Kangaroo, an officer of the Assistants Club.

Prior to the war, he held positions with the Texas Textile Mills in Waco and Dallas.  His wedding to Miss Dorothy May Tuthill took place July 13, 1942, in Sebring, Florida.

Overseas, Pinky was radioman and gunner on a Flying Fortress.  His plane was in a shuttle raid from England to Africa when over Regensburg, an enemy shell exploded in the radio compartment.

The Purple Heart and Air Medal were awarded posthumously.

A son, Norman Tuthill Smith, was born five months after his father’s death.

Richard E. St. John

Richard E. St. John, BA 1936, MA 1937
Ensign, USNR

Lost in mid-Atlantic following action of USS Borie with enemy submarines.

Richard E. St.John, son of Mr. and Mrs. D.H. St. John, Royse City, transferred to Austin College from Texas Tech in 1933.  He lettered in football and basketball, was President of the “A” Association, Vice-President of the International Relations Club and member of the “Y” Cabinet.

In 1936 “Al” was assistant coach, took his MA , then he coached at Kilgore.

On December 12, 1941, Al enlisted in the Navy.  He was appointed a Midshipman August 7, 1942, and on October 21 commissioned Ensign in the USNR.  On January 11, 1943 he was transferred to the USS Borie for duty.  He was lost rescuing companions on loss of the Borie to submarines.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Joseph L. Sory

Joseph L. Sory, Class of 1946
Sgt., U.S.Infantry

Killed in action in Eastern France, November 15, 1944.

Jodie was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Sory who now live in Dallas.  After graduation from Sherman High School, he entered Austin College where he completed a year’s work before joining the Army.  While in college he was President of his Class, a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, and voted “Favorite Freshman” for the year.

His basic training was received at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and later training at Camp Phillips, Kansas.  He held 1st class gunner’s medal for carbine, rifle, and machine gun.  Overseas Jodie served with Co. G, 114th Infantry, 44th Division, was killed in action with the 7th Army.  Purple Heart was awarded posthumously.  Memorial services were conducted at St. Mary’s Church, Sherman.

Lt. Henry Sory, ’44, is Jodie’s brother.

The following alumni also died during World War II, but were listed as Missing in Action in the 1946 Chromascope:

James Edwin Baldwin '36
Leonard Alton Page (attended 1937-38)
William Green Reynolds (attended1943-44)
Billy Deweese Steward (attended 1940-42)
James Edwin Wood (attended 1943-44)

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