Question of the Week: Do you have any military heroes in your tree? [closed]

+30 votes

November 11 is celebrated in some countries as Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day to honor military veterans. Do you have any military heroes in your tree? Please answer below or on Facebook. You could also share the question image on social media along with your answer.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.1m points)
closed ago by Chris Whitten
I served 18 years in USMC. Thru ancestry reseach I found my Bio father and served USMC Korean war. His father purple heart awarded during WWII. Have eleigibilty now to Sons of the Revolutionary war also. CYRUS family from Cabel WV. OohRah
I am late on this but my father, Norman T Baird was in Army WWII at the Battle of the Bulge, Grandfather James Ross Spanish American War in Phillippines, many more back to the Revelution
Walter John Vernon my great uncle. Killed in action aged 19 years, in Northern France in July 1917. He is buried in the military section of the cemetery in the town of Bailleul, France.

Born in 1898 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England he joined the Worcestershire Regiment.

R.I.P Walter John Vernon. Our family Hero.
I had a cousin, William Knight who was serving in France in WWII and had survived until peace was declared, but because the news did not reach where he was, he was killed the day after peace was declared.
My hero is my Patriot grandfather Peter Looney.
My brother, Allan Barrett, Vietnam.  My father, William T. Barrett, WWII; my son, Ricky Hilton, Marines during Gulf conflict; my husband, Winson Woods, Gulf conflict.
TO ALL OF THE ABOVE:  Click on ANSWER to create your Veteran's profile.  Clicking on "Comment" will only be sent to the persons directly above you  and your Veteran's profile will not be seen by all.  I learned the hard way, too. ;))   I think this is being adjusted soon.
My dad, Eugene Hunt WWII. Wounded, purple Heart and 5 Bronze Stars. He never talked about the war.
My husband John L. England, Viet Nam Vet.
I'm so glad they did not serve in the same company!
Yes I do, although I already mentioned my dad Eugene Hunt WWII, wounded with a Purple Heart and 5 Bronze Stars for Heroism. My siblings and I knew nothing of the 5 Bronze Stars until after dads death. My mothers father, Ulas Odell Henry WWI. My great great grandfather  John Freeman Hunt  enlisted in the Civil War at the age of 40.

77 Answers

+21 votes

Got a few days, Eowyn? Haha.

My grandfather, Marco Ferraiolo was a paratrooper.

My other grandfather, Robert Hamel, was a staff sargent in the Air Force.

All of my great-grandfathers served in WW 1 or 2 in various ways large and small and were definitely heroes. Alfred Hamel was awarded many medals and so far have been the only ones I have actually touched.

Even my grandmothers took part in the war effort. Very cool and definitely makes them heroes.

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (625k points)
+16 votes
Although we never met, my fathers cousin (Ruth Thompson)  married a man (Samuel Martin) who ended up winning the Military cross during World War 2.

This is the closest I can get to any heros in my family!!
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+18 votes
There are loads in my paternal family!

Great-grandfather Ernest William Smith (Smith-163327) - was in WWII after marrying and having a daughter, and was apparently a highly intelligent man who was very talented particularly in sketching, according to his war books.

Ernest William Smith's dad Ernest Smith is believed to have fought in WWI.

2x great-grandfather Horace Dowding (Dowding-233) fought in World War I and stayed in the military into the 1920s/1930s.

Horace's brother Sidney died WWI Battle of Jutland along with many other soldiers.

I am NOT related to the well-known Air Marshal Lord Hugh Dowding despite my surname. Was a common misconception prior to me starting my research, although I've heard Horace actually met Hugh by complete chance one day - Horace was running a car wash in London and Hugh just so happened to bring his car there - they both couldn't believe the chances of meeting another H Dowding, or so the story goes.

I don't know of any on my maternal side. My mum's dad's family were Irish, it's possible there might be some military activity on that side and I just haven't found records yet. My mum's mum's family were German outcasts so definitely not on that side.

I have a funny story about this actually. I was doing some research into Sidney Dowding and the Battle of Jutland and discovered that Sidney and the rest of the crew were killed by an "Admiral von Hipper". von Hipper's surname was only one letter off my mum's German family's surname (von Hippel) and for a minute I almost misread the name as von Hippel which meant I nearly thought one of my mum's ancestors killed a distant relative on my dad's side... what a coincidence that would have been!
by Anonymous Dowding G2G6 Mach 3 (33.1k points)
+16 votes

William Henry Allen

was the son of my 5th-great-grandaunt. He had no children of his own, so I’m almost about as closely related as it’s possible to be.

by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (248k points)
reshown by Barry Smith
+23 votes

This is a 1945 WWII photo of my father MSgt. Clare A. Lovelace who was a B-29 flight engineer. He is with his crew on the bottom row--third from the right. I consider all of these men heroes with the dangerous missions they flew, but I especially consider my father, who gave his life for his country, a hero. The two men on his right, William Davenport and Lawrence Toepee, and the one on his left Charles Markowitz were gunners, and they were also killed with my father. The were hit with so much flack that their B-29 crashed and split on impact when hitting the ocean and their bodies were never recovered.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (708k points)
You really have a lot of great photos Alexis I am always looking forward to seeing them
Thank you sweet Susan. I love seeing your photos.
+11 votes
By valour, by medal or both?
by Richard Shelley G2G6 Pilot (225k points)
Or perhaps by honorably serving their country even though they might not have earned a medal or commendation.

I have Confederate soldiers on one side, are they heroes?
These questions are intended to be open. Not everyone in the military is a hero; not all heroes are in the military. If your ancestors were heroes, you should tell us why.
+20 votes

The famous Lost Battalion of World War I was truly lost; trapped in a ravine surrounded by the enemy. Their own forces, unaware of their location, began attacking them. Finally a pigeon named Cher Ami was sent with a message. On her flight she was shot through the breast, but managed to keep going and to deliver the message which saved the Lost Battalion. "We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven's sake, stop it."

No, I am not related to this hero, who received the Croix de Guerre for her actions. However, the commander of the Lost Battalion, Charles Whittlesey,  is my 7th cousin 4 times removed. I was excited to discover that he grew up in the house next door to me!

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (185k points)
have you heard the sabaton song the lost battalion
No, Will, I hadn't heard that song before. It doesn't mention Cher Ami. Charles Whittlesey was celebrated as a hero but ended up committing suicide.
yes I know  about Whittlesey committing suicide, saddly   and i have heard of cher Ami  i thought she had one leg nearly cut off as well. A few months ago I tried to find Charles Whittlesey profile but must have put something wrong because i could not find it and then I though he does need a profile i  will get around to making one, but put that on the back burner i have made two other profiles that have songs by sabaton about them, I have found out that not everyone likes my taste in music

Here is his Wiki profile.

Here is more on Cher Ami.

The Sabaton piece is just about the "lost" part. If I were composing, I'd add Cher Ami (maybe a flute?) working her way through the enemy fire. Sort of like the 1812 Overture?

+15 votes
I am working my back through time to  Olvir Einarsson: "He was a great viking; he did not permit his men to throw babies on the points of their spears as vikings were then wont to do; therefore he was called 'Babyman'. "  Does that qualify as a hero?
by Einar Kvaran G2G2 (2.1k points)
Yes, it does.
Edward Rutherford, in his book Sarum, said that an English surname - Barnikel or Barnikle - is the result of a Viking, during a raid on an English coastal town, shouting to his fellow raiders "Barn ne kill", translating it to "Don't kill the children".  My spelling of this name and the words may be somewhat off.  Unfortunately, I lack the time to find the reference in the book.
Thanks, I might try and locate the book.
+18 votes
My dad (well, my stepdad) fought in Vietnam and even won a medal, but I doubt he would've considered himself a hero. He found the experience most unpleasant and told me that he and the other American soldiers visited a village of "friendly" Vietnamese, then a few days later returned to find the entire village had been slaughtered. All the people they'd just been chatting with a few days before were dead.

My maternal grandfather fought the Japanese in World War II. He carried flamethrowers to burn away the jungle, and suffered from lung ailments we believe were caused by inhaling the fumes. At one point he had to lay in the mud and play dead while Japanese soldiers stepped on him, knowing that if he moved at all he'd be bayonetted.

War is hell.
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
Jessica, my husband and only male first cousin were combat veterans of the Vietnam War. Three of my friends died there, and I completely agree with you—War is Hell.
+17 votes
Every man or woman who had to fight in a war is a military hero.

Only those who have been to a theatre of war themselves can imagine what they have experienced and gone through.

Because of this view many ancestors of my family were military heroes.

In the 1st + 2nd world war alone:

My father Heinz August Gustav Lewerenz was called up for the Wehrmacht in 1943 at the age of 18 and was captured during the invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) in 1944. Via Belgium and England he then came to the USA, where he was released as a prisoner of war in 1948.

My paternal grandfather Martin Lewerenz was a grenadier in Gardegrenardierregiment 5 during WW I and was wounded near Amiens in 1916; in WW II he served as a non-commissioned officer.

My mother's stepfather Josef Wilhelm Beumer was a professional soldier and was killed in action in WW II during the allied Operation Market Garden 1944 in the Netherlands.

One of my maternal grandfathers, Edmund Christian Grabow, took part in WW I as a war volunteer and was wounded twice (1914 + 1915), so that he limped all his life; his brother Johannes Rudolf Grabow was killed by friendly artillery fire in the last days of the war.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
+15 votes

I've got one I consider a hero, although really I think anybody who went to war was a hero.

My great grandfather Crawford Raynor Foulis received a BEM - awarded for outstanding service in diving operations and as tenders to the divers during the invasion of the South of France. Sad thing is his dad had died in WWI. Luckily for Crawford he survived WWII, but his wife died from asthma in 1942.

by Pam Cormac Smith G2G6 Mach 6 (63.6k points)
edited by Pam Cormac Smith
+13 votes

My grandmother lost 2 brothers during WW1.  Ernest Roy Compton (1897-1917) was killed in Mesopotamia and is commemorated on the Basra memorial. His brother Sidney Herbert Compton (1893 - 1917) died of his wounds later that same year and his grave is at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (271k points)
+10 votes
My uncle received the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts in Korea. In Vietnam, he received two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He was in the Army during this time.

He had enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1940 and got out in 1946 without being in combat.
by John Griscom G2G6 Mach 1 (16.7k points)
My only cousin to have served during Vietnam did 2 tours with the 101st, receiving a Purple Heart and Bronze Star
+10 votes

Yes, it would be my grandfather's brother John Leroy Anderson was in the US Army. He was awarded the Bronze Star during WWII, while assigned to the 66th Infantry Regiment, 71st Infantry Division. It was for something he did while they where in either France, Germany, or Austria. I'm still trying to find out the details pertaining to him being awarded the medal.

Also, I'm related to Gen George S. Patton Jr. - 7th Cousins Twice Remove, Descendants of Colonel Robert S. Slaughter Sr and 17 Degrees of Separation.

by Dean Anderson G2G6 Pilot (665k points)
+6 votes

Not sure if he's really heroic, but 4G Grandfather Walter Bell served in the Revolutionary War.  He enlisted at age 18 on April 4, 1776 as a private in Capt. Robert Cochran's Company and served 9 months before he re-enlisted Oct. 1, 1777 as a private in Capt. Hugh McClellan's Company. He  recalled marching from Colrain, MA to Albany, NY. He marched on to Fort George and Ticonderoga, there becoming quite ill. His father came and took him home. He recovered and was called back, however, his father allegedly hired a man to finish his term of service. He enlisted again and was present at the surrender of General Bourgoynes' British Army. Walter was described as five foot four inches tall, round faced, and blue eyes; a great reader, with a nervous temperament. 

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 7 (78.8k points)
+7 votes

My second cousin Col Robert Donald Taplett commanded the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine and was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. His career and actions are described here

From Wikipedia:

During the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, Taplett distinguished himself. From November 27 to December 10, 1950, he supported the strategic fallback of American forces, who were outnumbered by the Chinese nearly 5 to 1. Despite the severe cold and harsh weather, he and his men fought desperately to clear the road which allowed for escape from the reservoir. Of the roughly 1,300 men in his unit who began the fight, only 326 able-bodied Marines were left. For his leadership during the battle, Taplett was awarded the Navy Cross.

My first cousin and I have connected with his children and grandchildren, found via DNA matches.

by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (509k points)
+7 votes
My mom's uncle Ovide Maurice Bastien
Died on the beach in Normandy.
Grandfather was always talking about him.
by Gilles Caron G2G5 (6.0k points)
+7 votes
My Father: James Thomas Cape was a Private in the 2nd Armored Division, Under General Patton, during WW2. He served in several different actions in: Africa, France, Belgium, Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Unit Badge, the Belgium Fourragere Lanyard, along with the Presidential Unit Emblem as well as many other awards for his service in WW2.  At his death in 1966, my mother received a Certificate from then President Johnson, in recognition of his service during WW2.
by Lewis Cape G2G1 (1.6k points)
+7 votes
My uncle, TSgt Fred E. Fagan Jr, shot down over Ploesti in Aug 43, was assisting other crew in climbing out of burning wreck and had lungs burnt by the fire and fell back in. Had 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medal and Purple Heart. He was just a month shy of his 22nd birthday.  Other family members in wars (thou not heroes specifically) were  uncles Lou & Sylvan Tarasi WW2 in Europe, my brother Kenneth G. Fagan in Nam.  (I had 2 tours in Nam but like the rest I just did my job.)
by Fred Fagan G2G Crew (410 points)
+6 votes
My father was a Medical Doctor. He volunteered at the age of 39 and was sent to Burma where he served with Merrill's Marauders behind Japanese lines. He was awarded a Bronze Star.

My brother served in Vietnam. He was awarded a Soldiers Medal.
by John Jacobs G2G Crew (380 points)
Of the one male sibling and 6 first cousins in my generation, all but one served in the military.  I served 21 years in the Army.  My father served in WWII in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and the Philippines.  His brother William E. and his first cousin Charles R. McManus were Marines who were killed on Iwo Jima.  My grandfather Thomas J. was in the Army in WWI.  His brother Michael was in the Army from 1913 until 1945.  I have two "3rd great grand uncles" who attended military academies.  One attended West Point and served for 14 years, spending part of that time exploring parts of the west and was instrumental in the founding of Fort Laramie.  His brother attended the Naval Academy and retired in the 1870s as a Rear Admiral.

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