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Sgt Robert Hudson Whitley, Jr

Sgt Robert Hudson Whitley, Jr

Birth
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Death 5 Oct 1944 (aged 23)
Netherlands
Burial San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Plot SECTION Q, SITE 230
Memorial ID 3439024 · View Source
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Technical Sergeant (TEC5), US Army. He was killed in action at Overloon, Holland, when his unit, Company A, 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion, 7th Armored Division, was attacked by German mortars and artillery. An explosion hit his foxhole directly, and it was believed at the time that his body was destroyed. He was reported as missing in action, presumed dead, since his body could not be recovered and circumstances clearly suggested that he had been killed. A subsequent search of the area in 1950 by Army Graves Registration Teams failed to locate his body, and he was declared as non-recoverable on November 6, 1950.

Born in San Francisco, he was the son of Robert H. Whitley and Ruth Hazel Whitley. He had a younger brother, Robert D. Whitley. Prior to 1940, his family moved to Florida, where he enlisted on August 8, 1940, into the US Army at Jacksonville, Florida. He married a local Florida woman, Margarete, but had no children prior to shipping out to England in March 1944, where his unit trained for the invasion of France. He landed with his unit in France on July 15, 1944, and fought in France, Belgium and Holland. In October 1944, the unit was fighting as infantry (a secondary mission of Engineers) with Combat Command A near St. Anthonis, Holland. On October 5, 1944, they took up a defensive position about 5:30 pm and suffered four casualties during three counterattacks that the Germans launched during that night. Each attack was beaten off. The German attacks included mortar and artillery firing on the American positions. TEC5 Whitley was manning a machine gun when a German mortar shell landed on his foxhole, and death was instantaneous. Historical records indicate that during the period from September 17, 1944 to November 3, 1944, the 7th Armored Division and 104th Infantry Division suffered heavy losses in Holland, after which they were replaced with British and Canadian troops. At the time, the 7th Armored Division was protecting the right flank of the British-Canadian drive to clear the western approaches to the strategically important port of Antwerp, Belgium. At the time of the first German counterattack on October 5, Whitley's unit was clearing a minefield in preparation of an advance by the 7th Armored Division.

In June 1970, a Dutch farmer, P. J. Hendrix, discovered the body when digging the foundation for a new farm building. He reported the body to Dutch police and they, in turn, notified the Dutch Army, who relayed the report to US Army officials. Upon recovery, the remains were identified at the US Army Mortuary in Frankfurt, Germany, using a combination of an Identification Tag (Dog Tag) found on the body and comparison with his dental charts. Recovered with the body were American Army uniform items including an American helmet, and parts of an M-1 Rifle. His next of kin was his wife, Margarete H. Whitley; her last known address was in 1949, in Pittsburgh, PA. Unable to locate his wife, the Army notified his mother, Ruth H. Whitley, who was then living in San Diego, and she requested the body be interned at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. His body was flown to the Military Casualty Center at Dover Air Force Base, where identification was reconfirmed, and he was buried at Fort Rosecrans with full military honors. His decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle-East Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Marker Note: His grave marker shows his date of birth as January 14, 1919, yet his military records and the official California Birth Records show it to be January 14, 1921. It is believed that his mother, in 1970, made a mistake when she filled out the form for a grave marker.

His grave plot maybe C-1970

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


Family Members

Parents
Gravesite Details He is also listed among the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery

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  • Maintained by: Son of the 7th
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 4 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3439024
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Robert Hudson Whitley, Jr (14 Jan 1921–5 Oct 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3439024, citing Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA ; Maintained by Son of the 7th (contributor 47067117) .