Question of the Week: Do you have ancestors who died fighting for their country?

+43 votes

James Garfield said "We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtue of men and citizens.  For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue."

Do you have ancestors who died fighting for their country?

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

Ewoyn, They are all great stories of military personnel paying the ultimate sacrifice. One no more heroic or braver than another. May I suggest that no star be given for the best answer because they all gave everything possible for their country.

“For those who fight to protect it, freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.”- Unknown




Amen to that!

It took me many years to find the courage to go and visit the Vietnam wall.  I felt like I cried a lifetime of tears.  Before entering the service, I wrote weekly letters to three or four men in Vietman.  All they wanted to hear was what it was like in every day life.  This was when I was a senior in high school.

It was very nice of you to write to 3 or 4 service men. Even as a teen in school, you were already doing something for your country. I used to have  relatives near DC and I went to visit the wall twice a year. I cried everytime I went there. It is the most somber, place that I ever seen. No children running. No one swearing or fighting or any disruption of any kind. You can actually feel the respect for the fallen  58,000+ and I remember a veteran in a wheelchair asking a family if they would allow him to trace their beloved's name from the wall onto a piece of paper and then thanked them. I thank you for serving also *salute*
All since the Revolutionary war to Vietnam
My Great Uncle Grady "Jack" Cooper was flying a P-38 Lightening on this day June 6th, 1944. He was lost over the English Channel. His headstone simply reads MIA. His brother Robert served in a parachute infantry regiment. Parachuted behind the lines on June 5.
Connie, I honor the sacrifice of your uncle Jack Cooper. Thanks for posting this.
I lost two great great great grandfathers who died in Union Prison Camps during the Civil War. Edward Thomas Ray in Bardstown, KY and Joseph A Howard in Elmira, NY
I have a 3rd Gr-Grandfather, Samuel Blue, who died at the 2nd Battle of Black Rock in the War of 1812 (in 1813). I have yet to find records for this - it is a notation in the family Bible at this point for me.
2 Uncles: Harley Raymond Warren died at the very end of WWII.  Maurice Dean Warren died in Korea making my grandmother a double gold star mother.

Yes. My great uncle “Bill” William Lionel Gibbs who was killed at the battle of the bulge January 4, 1945 in Mande-Saint-Etienne, Bertogne, Luxembourg, Belgium. Read The Sky Men: A Parachute Rifle Companys Story of the Battle of the Bulge and the Jump Across the Rhine by Kirk B. Ross (see chapter 5 regarding Gibbs). He died heroically and his profile is here

Never forgotten

68 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
Yes, my great great grandfather Alexandrs Dimitriev (or spelling Dimitrio ?) Nikiforov of Samara, Russia fought for the Tsar army and was killed in battle by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. I have no idea how to add a photo to my comment & if anyone would like to see his photo that I would have liked to add, visit profile page of Nikiforov-2.
by Brandy Lasmanis G2G2 (2.4k points)
edited by Brandy Lasmanis
+13 votes

Yes, the one that stands out most in my mind was my great grandmothers brother Carey Lavon Wooten.

He died during WWII aboard the SS James Sprunt

by Stephanie Stults G2G6 Mach 3 (38.8k points)
My Uncle, Jack Leonard Anders was killed when his ship, the USS Emmons, was sunk off the coast of Okinawa on April 6, 1945. He was 18 years old, and was from Comstock Park, Michigan.
+13 votes

My Uncle, William Elias Eshleman, killed 31 May, 1944 in Italy during WWII. Buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery, Find A Grave ID. 51979984.
by Rodney Long G2G6 Pilot (676k points)
+14 votes
My great uncle, Cpl. Stanley Ashton Ringer, 43rd Co, 5th Marines, 2nd Div.,  died 11 June 1918 in France. Battle of Belleau Woods. He had just turned 21. He received posthumous promotion and honors. He was interred in Aisne, the the family transferred his remains to Arlington National Cemetary in 1921. A neighborhood park in Allston, Massachusetts was given in his honor by his parents.
by Judith Sivonda G2G1 (1.4k points)
+16 votes

Every memorial day we remember Sgt Barry a distant cousin who died in the Vietnam War. Sgt Edward Francis Barry was killed in action during the Vietnam War February 15, 1969 in Long An, Vietnam. Sgt Barry was one of many heroes of battle for Saigon during Tet -68 and May offensive. He extended his tour 15 days, but was KIA 10 days before leaving Vietnam, during a ground attack on 2/47 base camp at Binh Phuoc.

My older brother Frankie, Francis Edward Barry had told me a story about a visit to the "Vietnam Veterans National Memorial" in Washington, DC years ago when he spotted Edward Francis Barry's name on the wall. He took a double take and his face was in shock and a bit confused... You see, he read the name wrong, Frankie thought it said "Francis Edward" Barry on the Wall. 


He did some research and found the name again, this time with a birth date the same as his, in August 1946. Again, another shock. To think this man took a spot on "the wall", after serving his country for my brother and all of us Barry's from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. In honor of Sgt Barry I did a profile on him that can be found here:

Thank you Sgt Edward Francis Barry for your ultimate sacrifice for our nation. 


by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
+12 votes
My Uncle, John William Henry (Henry-3787) killed in the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945. He left behind a wife and small daughter, his parents, and my Mom who mourned his loss for the rest of her life. He died before I was born, but Momʻs tears are mine now. I miss you Uncle Jack and honor your sacrifice.
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
+12 votes

I have two great great grand uncles I'm very proud of who died fighting for the Confederacy. They were in their early twenties and brothers.  They both died in a prison camp from disease. They were in the Company A, Regiment: 13, Kentucky Calvary. The two brothers died within sixteen days of each other at Camp Chase Confederate Prison in Columbus, Ohio, in 1865.

Benedict J. Whitfill

James M. Whitfill


Also:  My 6th great grandfather, Capt. William Knox was killed accidently by his own men in the Revolutionary War. He died on July 19, 1776.


by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 8 (89.0k points)
edited by James Stratman
+11 votes
My 3rd great grandfather, Isaac Newton McClurg, enlisted in Company G, 22th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry (USA) on 10 Jan 1862. He died on 24 May 1863, during the Siege of Vicksburg, MS, and is buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery (Sec G, #778)
by Eric Reeves G2G Crew (960 points)
+11 votes

My father, C.A. “Chick” Lovelace who was killed in WWII on May 29, 1945. He was the flight engineer on the B-29 “Slick Chick” that was shot down, and he was lost at sea off the coast of Japan. My mother was pregnant with me at the time, and she had no idea if he was alive when she had me. Also my great uncle, Kyle McCleery who was killed in WWI on Oct 10, 1918 in France and is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Neither were retuned to their families. I now am the closest living descendent of both of these men that gave their lives for our country, and this is very humbling. 

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (658k points)
edited by Alexis Nelson
I'm sorry to read of your loss.  I volunteer for an organization that has brought home many marines from Tarawa, all of whom were listed MIA until only a short time ago.  I am familiar with the heartbreak associated with having an MIA as my husband's uncle is listed Missing in Action, last seen crossing the Sauer River into Germany.  Please know that you have my condolences.
Thank you Barbara, it was very hard on my mother, and she never married and died young. It was also very hard on my grandfather losing his only child; he had a stroke and died three years after losing his son. My grandmother was a strong women, and after losing her little brother that she raised in WWI; she devoted a great deal of her time to the Gold Star Mothers. She was a cup of strength to many suffering families. You are like my grandmother, and bless your heart for your volunteer work!
+9 votes

My GGGG grandfather. Joseph Jacobs.  Born 1820, Cayuga County, New York, Died, 6/10/1864, Alexandria, Virginia.

Served in the US Civil war in the 8th New York Heavy Artillery, Company B. 

Died June 10th, 1864, of wounds sustained one week before at the Battle of Cold Harbor.   

When he died he had a pregnant wife and four children. 

Sadly the family would be delivered 2 more blows as within 2 years both his wife and youngest child would die of natural causes.

I want to more about him but he remains a very stubborn brick wall.  Not only that, 2 of his children, pretty much vanish into thin air after 1870. 

by Craig Albrechtson G2G6 Mach 8 (88.0k points)
If you know the first names of the surviving children, I suggest you use "cluster research" to seek them out.  They were probably taken by relatives or even close neighbors of their parents and thus might show up in censuses with someone else's surname.  It's tedious to follow all the siblings of both parents but might result in a find. Also check to see who neighbors were in 1870 Census and follow those families into 1880 Census.
+9 votes
My grandfather's brother, George Frederick Throup, died at Gallipoli in 1915. My father's brother, who was also called George Frederick Throup, was lost on HMS Glorious in 1940. As far as I know the two George Fredericks were the only members of my immediate family killed in the two world wars.
+10 votes
What a wonderful question of the week Eowyn! I think for many of us those we lost prompt our research. World War 1 is the focus of my current research. Between 1916 and 1918 my family sacrificed many of their children (my uncles).

I just got back from Ypres and The Somme. It broke my heart.

Over 80,000 men lost forever in the muds of France and Flanders. I cannot explain to you how it feels to be there.

I am honoured to have found the names of my uncles Walter Haworth and Ernest Norman on the Menin Gate, Ypres. Also to have found the graves of my uncles John William Cotton and Ellis Hardwood in the Dantzig Alley and Sucerrie military cemeteries respectively.

May we never forget.

by Lizzie Griffiths G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
So glad you got to make this trip. I have always felt that I should go to the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France.
+9 votes

Off the top of my head, I have a 1st cousin who died during the Battle of Tarawa during World War II. His name is Donald DeLoye Stoddard. Donald was a SGT in the 6th Marines, 2nd Division, Co B. His name is among those listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii. Donald was 21 years old when he died. Here is a link to his profile -​

by Marissa Dodd G2G Crew (830 points)
+8 votes
My several times removed great-uncle Sebron Golding held one of his brothers in his arms as he died, according to family legend. This was during the US Civil War.
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
+11 votes
My 1st Cousin 1x removed, Harry Edward Flinner USMC, was killed in a training accident at Guantanamo, Cuba in 1943.  He was returned in 1948 and buried in New Castle, PA.  My aunts always spoke of their brother Junie.

I also have a cousin who served in the Union Army and died at Andersonville, GA.  But I have not added his record to WikiTree as of yet.
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (196k points)
+10 votes

My second cousin once removed, Able Seaman Joseph Neil Johnston, Service Number V-44249, RCNVR. He served aboard HMCS Skeena, which was lost in a gale off Iceland October 25, 1944. Joseph is buried in Reykjavik, Iceland. Thank you for your service, Cousin. Ready, aye ready.


by Linda Hockley G2G6 Mach 1 (12.9k points)
+10 votes

My uncle was killed in Germany in WWII on November 22, 1944.

2 LT Harold Ronald Anderson

Birth 1920.09.01 in Plevna, Kansas

Graduated Rolla High School, Rolla, Morton County, Kansas 1939

Married 1944.01.30 – Dallas, Texas

Killed in action 1944.11.22 – Immendorf, Germany, WWII

Buried – Memorial Park Cemetery, Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas

by David Stout G2G Crew (690 points)
+10 votes
My 2nd great grandfather, Corporal Michael Dunn, lost both legs in the Battle Of New Hope Church. He died 13 years later from the wounds that refused to heal.

Michael, born 1 April 1833, died 13 October 1877. He enlisted into Co. H 45th Regiment, PA September 1st, 1861 took part in the Battle of Antietam and later in the Battle of Gettysburg. He reenlisted November 30th 1863. While stationed in Tennessee, he married a woman named Sarah Ellison December 15th 1863. Five months later he received the wounds that would later end his life.
by Larry Herbstritt G2G3 (3.9k points)
+9 votes
Bert Furniss was killed in action in 1918 in France
by Bill Higgins G2G Crew (860 points)
+11 votes
My mother's only sibling, her older brother, was SSgt Harry F. Sherman.  He was a tailgunner on a B-17 stationed at Parham Airbase near Framlingham in Suffolk, England.
The bureaucracies of a bombing mission necessitated his flying with a crew other than his own on 7 July 1944.  Approaching the coastline of Holland, a collision occurred between two planes and they crashed at Hoorn, Holland.  Of the twenty men making up the two crews, thirteen were killed, seven taken POW, and one, aided by the Dutch Resistance, was sheltered and returned to England.
Harry is buried at the American Military Cemetery at Margraten.  The land, donated by the Dutch, contains the remains of 8,301 Americans.
by Brian McCullough G2G1 (1.9k points)
My Dads uncle Bob Tisdale was only 18 when he died during the war. It was a great loss for my grandmother Ruby Bowden (Tisdale) who lost her older and only brother while he was still a teenager.  My dad has a picture of him in his uniform and friends of our family got a rubbing from his tombstone when they were visiting in Europe.

I don’t have details with me right now as all I had saved on Family Tree disappeared ☹️

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