William C. Kent Killed in Action August 27, 1944

Posted on December 22, 2011

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PVT William C. Kent Picture sent to me by cousin, Charles T. Kent

This is a story of an Uncle that no one got to know. He was the son of Clifford and Lydia Kent. A brother to; Francis, Patricia, Charles T. (Tom) and Joan.

When World War II (WWII) started, my young Uncle Billy (18 y/o) volunteered like so many other young people. William C. Kent became Private William C. Kent 16 175 025. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to Company A, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division from July 26, 1943 to August 27, 1944.

In July 1943 the Division made an assault landing at Sicily. It fought it’s way to Palermo and capture Messina. In September they landed at  Salerno. After a brief rest in January 1944 the Division was part of an Amphibious Landing ay Anzio.

The Division was removed from the front lines and went into training for the Invasion of the Southern part of France.  The landing was called “Operation Dragoon”‘. The Task Force that the 3rd Division was assigned to had American, British, Canadian and French troops. The landing would be at Alpha Beach and would be part of the 2nd D-Day Landing. This would be done at Cape Cavalaire, France. The landing was the second part of the Allied Forces push into France. Because the landing was in the Southern part of France it was affectionately dubbed the “Riviera Landing. It was to take place on or around June 6th but because of the problems on Normandy, Omaha and Juno beaches it was delayed. Churchill wanted to invasion much farther north. Eisenhower said no. This landing site was not as fortified as the others and the superior forces took it quickly making it possible to move large quantities’ of food, medical supplies and much needed ammunition and fuel that all of Allied forces needed.

The landing took place on the 16th of August. PFC William C. Kent was Killed in Action on August 27, 1944. On his person they found:

Misc insignia US and Infantry Brass and marksmanship Medal

Religious Articles Rosary and New Testament

Broken Watch

Pocket Books

Souvenir Ring

US 50 cent piece

Identification Tags (Dog Tags)

Private William C. Kent was killed in the vicinity of Poet Laval, France from a Gun Shot Wound to his Right Side. He was buried in a temporary grave and later moved to the US Military cemetery in Luynes, France.

My Grand Father (Clifford) and Grand Mother (Lydia) started writing letters to the Army in June of 1945 requesting their sons’ remains. A letter dated September 20, 1948 from the Chicago Quarter Master Depot stated that William C. Kent’s’ remain would be delivered by Government Hearst on the 23rd of September 1948.

William C Kent is now interned in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. Buried with him are his father, Clifford C. and his brother, Charles T. (he went by Tom) Kent. His father served in WWI and his brother served in WWII. All three are buried in the Military section of the cemetery.

I knew my Grand Father even though he died when I was 8 or 9. He was a good man. I knew my Uncle Tom and loved him much. I never got to know my Uncle Billy but one day I will.

Several years ago I decided to make a Military Room in my house to honor those who went to war in my family. I made a shadow box for myself, I sent off to St. Louis to obtain all the information I could on my Father-in-Law, Clyde E. Roller. I also sent of to Washington, D.C. to get the information on my Uncle Billy. Uncle Billy’s was in Washington, D.C. because he was Killed in Action. I received all of the paperwork that each section had on my Father-in-Law and my Uncle Billy.  Now I have four Shadow boxes in my Military room. Mine, Clyde’s, Uncle Billy’s and my wife’s. She may not have gone to war but she did serve 7 1/2 years and she is my wife.

As I was making my Uncle Billy’s shadow box, I mentioned to my sister, Betty, what I was doing. She sent me the Rosary that Uncle Billy was carrying when he was killed. I bought the remainder of the items needed to include a New Testament. I met my cousin, Barbara, this summer for the first time in a long time. She is my Uncle Tom’s daughter. On December 21, 2011 I received a package from her. In the package was the New Testament that my Uncle Billy was carrying when he was Killed. I have been so blessed and so honored by these two ladies by entrusting me with two of the precious things that Uncle Billy was carrying. I will for ever be thankful.

Uncle Billy’s Shadow Box

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