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World War II

The real stories about the sailors, soldiers and marines that everyone in the war movies called "Tex." Stories that all too often didn't have a happy ending. Stories of high school classes enlisting en mass - and of heroes returning one at a time.
WWII Topics:

  • Men and Women in World War II
  • World War II Camps | Prisoners of War
  • Home Front
  • WWII Installations | Relics | Memorials & Cemeteries
  • WWII Markers
  • WWII Texas Cartoons by Roger T. Moore
  • WWII Forum
  • Postwar

  • Texas and World War II

    Men and Women
    in World War II

    Higginbotham Brothers

  • The Brave Female Pilots of WWII by Murray Montgomery 1-6-23
  • Loel Dene "L.D." Cox, Seaman First Class - U.S.S. Indianapolis
    L.D. Cox's narrative of the sinking of the U.S.S.Indianapolis
    Reprinted with permission from The Lone Star Gazette, Dublin, Texas, Laura Kestner, Publisher/Editor
    The heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis, was torpedoed in the final few days of the war. It was on its return trip from delivering the first atomic bomb to the air base at Tinian Island for delivery to Hiroshima...... The sinking was compounded by the mistakes made by the U.S. Naval Command in the Philippines. No rescue was sent and many of the survivors drowned after their waterlogged life jackets pulled them under. Sharks ate hundreds while their helpless friends watched and it remains the most horrific incident of a war filled with horror. Seaman First Class Cox was one of only 317 survivors from the ship's crew of 1,197.

  • USS Indianapolis Survivor Lindsey Wilcox by Wanda Orton

  • USS Indianapolis sank 70 years ago by Wanda Orton

  • Lt. Clyde Cosper WWII pilot
  • Lt. Clyde "Sparky" Cosper by John Troesser
    B-17 Pilot, 367th Bomber Group, Hometown: Dodd City, Texas
    "A B-17 crashed near the town of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England on November 13, 1943. The only thing that prevented the plane from landing directly on the town, was the Herculean effort of the man at the controls....."

  • Surviving
    George Olsson Short
    Chapter Three
    Surviving WWII, and Arriving Home
    How his soldier brother became his savior and how he managed to get home to a post-war Texas life
    World War II
    Chapter Two
    From Hitting Homers to Hitting the Hun
    and a Face-off with Gen. Patton
    A Personal Account of the Battle at Remagen Bridge

  • The Higginbotham Brothers of East Texas: Introduction
    Maurice Higginbotham had four older brothers who were in uniform during WWII. He inherited the role of family biographer, collected their wartime correspondence and had nearly 500 letters plus photographs published in book form. Here are the stories of Marvin, Merrion, Murphy and Milton by Maurice.

  • Merrion Higginbotham, Thunderbolt and Mustang Pilot

  • Murphy Higginbotham, Ranger at Normandy

  • A German Soldier's Last Letter

  • The Home Front: anecdotal stories, sample letters and photos

  • Pearl Harbour survivor
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor Texan Vic Lively by Sandy Fiedler
    "On December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Victor H. Lively, stationed on the battleship USS Nevada, went ashore to Honolulu to buy Christmas gifts for his family. The last thing on anyone's mind was war... "

  • Till Death Do Us Part by David Knape

  • Macario García, Veteran of D-Day by Murray Montgomery

  • D-DAY by Archie P. McDonald
    Sixty years ago in June the forces of Allied Supreme Commander Dwight David Eisenhower hit the beaches of Normandy in northwestern France.

  • Nagasaki Bombardier by Wanda Orton

  • A Sailor's Story: Kamikaze Attacks on the U.S.S. Sandoval by Lois Wauson
    "Then all of a sudden one of the planes veers toward us in a straight line and before we knew what happened, it hit us."

  • Small Texas newspaper reports: U.S. declares war on Japan by Murray Montgomery
    President Roosevelt’s message to a joint session of Congress, asking for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan
    From the front page of The Gonzales Inquirer, December 8, 1941 issue

  • Panhandle Sailors,Flatland Cousins Who Went to Sea
    The siren call of the sea seems to reach deep inland. Historically, it’s typical to find large numbers of naval personnel originating from land-locked regions.

  • Rev. Marcus Valenta achieves longest active-duty record in U.S. history by Murray Montgomery
    Of all the chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces, one has seen longer continuous combat-theatre duty than any other...

  • Kid Mendoza' and the Battle of the Bulge by Murray Montgomery
    Medal of Honor recipient Jose Mendoza Lopez.

  • Lt. Braly of Brady, A Remembrance
    Lt. Braly died on August the second, 1944, less than a month before the liberation of Paris.

  • The Three Wars of Lt. Col. Kerns by Noel Kerns
    Raymond Clyde Kerns - Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army - April 26th, 1921 - February 6th, 2008

  • J. Frank Dobie and Colonel Jack Jenkins by Mel Brown
    Two Texans become friends in War-torn England

  • The King's Texan and USS Texas by C. F. Eckhardt
    Archie Ludlow was in elementary school when, in 1910 to 1912, the two newest battleships for the US Navy—the Texas Class, USS Texas and USS New York—were under construction. Money was tight for building battleships...

  • The Fighting 201st by Maggie Van Ostrand
    Mexico organized the 201st Fighter Squadron, a select group of Mexican pilots. Thirty-five officers and 300 enlisted men were trained in Mexico, then given additional flight training as P-47 fighter squadron at Pocatello Army Air Base in Idaho, and were then attached to the 58th Fighter Group in the Philippines where they began combat operations. They wiped out machine gun nests, dropped 181 tons of bombs and fired 153,000 rounds of ammunition, acquitting themselves well and bravely. Seven of their pilots were killed in action.

  • The All-Chinese American 555th Air Service Squadron
    From "Chinese Heart of Texas" by Mel Brown

  • Rockport Ships by Mike Cox
    "All but forgotten today, in the early months of World War II a Rockport shipyard sent two dozen wooden-hulled subchasers down the ways to face iron-plated German U-Boats in the North Atlantic..."

  • High Over Houston, Captain A. J. High: A Positive Altitude by John Troesser

  • How the Texas Rangers Helped Win WWII by C. F. Eckhardt
    "To understand what happened, you have to be aware of a man known as 'The German Zane Grey.' His name was Karl May (pronounce it 'my'). He was a German writer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and he wrote Westerns..."

  • I Remember "The Lucky Stiffs" by W. T. Block
    "...Suddenly I recalled the days I spent with the 'lucky stiffs,' days during which every evil thought nibbled at my conscious, and days I could never forget. The day before, the 309th Infantry had jumped across the Roer River, making a lightning advance into the weakly-defended Rhineland, but several of our 78th Division soldiers had died during the onslaught..."

  • Flying Tigers by Archie P. McDonald
    Claire Lee Chennault

  • Doris Miller: Hero by Archie P. McDonald
    African American hero of WWII

  • The Air Ace by Bob Bowman
    Lance C. Wade, Royal Air Force of Britain, World War II

  • Where are you Benny Goodenberger? by Perry Peary
    In May of 1942, I had an Uncle by the name of Mark Davis. Mark was in the Merchant Marine and was assigned to serving on oil and gasoline tankers coming up the east coast from New Jersey to Texas. In May of 1942, he was on the SS Virginia coming out of New Orleans when a German submarine, the U-507 torpedoed the ship.

  • The Horrors of Bataan by Murray Montgomery
    The story of one survivor...

  • Sixtieth Anniversary of D-Day by Archie P. McDonald

  • Texas War Casualties by John Troesser
    Stone markers and chapels quietly reveal where America gets its soldiers.

  • Texas Women in World War II by Cindy Weigand
    NURSES, WACS, WAVES, and SPARS, Uniformed Women of "The Greatest Generation"

  • Tragedy Over Weatherford - The 1945 night-time collision of two B-29 Superfortress Bombers by Bob Hopkins

  • 1st Lt. Loye James Lauraine, Jr. by Murray Montgomery
    "He was young, only 26 years old..... 1st Lt. Loye James Lauraine, Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. He was a hero and was posthumously awarded this nation's second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross. ....." (1 photo)

  • Ira Eaker: From Covered Wagon to Jet-Age Air Power, Four Stars by Bill Bradfield
    "During dark days of World War II when the bitter war was far from won, it was a Texas tenant farmer's son who took command of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England, playing a key role in making the Normandy invasion possible. ..... "

  • Two Pilots, Three Air Forces, One Hometown by John Troesser
    Lt. Col. Alvin Mueller & Lieutenant Dick Campbell

  • From Cost, Texas to Normandy Beach - A World War II hero. By Murray Montgomery

  • Harlon Block - One of the men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

  • Cornelia Clark Fort

  • Robert "Bobby" Stephens, WWII P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot, Gilmer, Texas

  • Navy Ensign Jack Hill Camp, 1916-1942, Port Arthur, Texas

  • Three Young Men in Post-WWII America by Sandy Fiedler

  • The Sanchez Brothers from Hunter, Texas

  • The Tucker Brothers of Andice: 3 Soldiers, 3 Sailors, an Airman and a Marine Howard A Tucker, CWO US Navy

  • The Three Wars of CWO Howard Tucker, and Measuring Fallout around Bikini Island Howard A Tucker, CWO US Navy

  • Aviation cadets take a break in front of the T & P Depot at Baird in January of 1943 Photo courtesy David Schoeck, Dana Point, CA

  • List of Dead in WWII by Murray Montgomery
    Back on June 27, 1946, the War Department released a booklet with a list of the war dead and those considered missing in action. According to authorities this was the first consolidated listing of Army dead and missing in World War II...

  • Somerville - Soldier & Sailors
  • Sheriff Fenton of Coleman County
  • Hunter Texas in the 20s and 30s, A Memoir by Pablo Sanchez

  • World War II Camps •
    Prisoners of War

  • Camp Swift - 1943
    Nazis of the Purple Sage.
    By John Troesser
  • POW camp chapel
  • POW Camp Chapel Restored by Barclay Gibson
    Italian POW Camp Chapel

  • Camp Alto Historical Marker
    One of seven German prisoner-of-war camps in East Texas during World War II
  • St Mary's Catholic Church in Umbarger by Barclay Gibson
    Paintings by Italian POWs
  • Camp Fannin by Archie P. McDonald
    World War II infrantry training camp and prisoner of war camp
  • Camp Howze
    WWII POW Camp and Infantry Training near Gainesville Texas
  • Camp Barkeley
  • Camp Barkeley
    Named for WWI Private David Bennes Barkley from Laredo

  • Camp Wallace
  • Camp Hearne
    One of the largest Prisoner of War Camps in Texas during WWII.

  • Not so great escapes by Clay Coppedge 1-8-22
  • Midget sub commander tells of his role in the attack on Pearl Harbor by Murray Montgomery ("Times Past" column)
    Glad to be first Japanese prisoner of war!
  • The McLean Prisoner of War Camp by Delbert Trew
  • Camp Maxey - WWII training camp a few miles north of Paris
  • Liberty treated POWs well in 1830s and 1940s by Wanda Orton
  • POWs in East Texas by Bob Bowman
    During World War II, the U.S. government established seven camps in East Texas to house German prisoners-of-war...
  • Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War by Mel Brown
  • POW camp stirs memories by Delbert Trew
    Since placing a page on the Internet several years ago about the McLean Prisoner Of War Camp located north of McLean in Gray County during WWII, seldom a week goes by that we don't receive a request of more information about the installation.
  • Lanky and the POWs by Clay Coppedge
    Mildred "Lanky" Lancaster
    "Accolades have abounded for her athletic prowess and her contributions to getting girls and women's sports off the ground locally but music was her ticket into another world... In a lifetime crammed with unique life experiences, playing accordion for German POWs ranks near the top."
  • Gulf U-boats by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" Column)
    "By February 1942, Fort Clark had been guarding the Texas border for nearly 90 years. But the world was changing. Since Germany’s Sept. 1, 1939 blitzkrieg in Poland, even most die-hard cavalrymen had begun to understand that men on horses were no match for machine guns or tanks..."
  • Bombsite by Mike Cox
    The story of the Manhattan Project and its product, the atomic bombs against Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945, has been well told. But buried in all the official documents is another story, far less known.
  • Nazis in East Texas by Bob Bowman
    "The POW camps, along with 65 army airfields, 35 army posts, nine naval installations and some 136 auxiliary army airfields, will be a part of a Texas tribute to the 750,000 Texans who served in uniform during the war. Of that number, 22,500 lost their lives while in service."
  • Nazis in the Pineywoods, German Prisoner-of-War in East Texas by Archie P. McDonald, from "All Things Historical" column
  • The Reluctant Warrior, Former German POW Finds Peace in Texas by Heino R. Erichsen Reviewed by John Troesser
  • Camp Bowie, Brownwood, Texas
  • Camp Hood, Killeen, Texas
  • Country Campus, Texas - Walker County WWII German POW camp
  • Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa, Texas
  • First Officers Training Camp, Leon Springs
  • Pampa Army Air Field
  • Pyote, Texas - Home of the WWII Bomber Base
  • Princeton, Texas - Home of a WWII POW Camp

  • Home Front
    Interment Camps

  • Alien Camp by Mike Cox, from "Texas Tales" column
    Japanese Interment Camp in Crystal City
  • Crystal City Family Internment Camp, World War II
  • Seagoville Enemy Alien Detention Station by Clint Skinner
    Throughout its operation, the facility hosted between 500 and 700 people. The residents were mainly Japanese and German, but some Italians found their way into the camp.

  • 1943
  • 1943 Secret Storm by Wanda Orton
    In the summer of ’43, German U-boats prowled the Gulf of Mexico, too close for comfort for Texas coastlanders...
  • Bombing of Desdemona by Clay Coppedge
  • The Makers by Mike Cox
    R.C. and L.C. Maker, brothers who helped win the war without ever firing a turret gun, dropping a bomb or evading anti-aircraft fire.
  • Rationing during WWII - How sweet it wasn't by Wanda Orton 7-20-12
    Growing up in World War II wasn't all bad. There were some good days...
  • The Power We Longed For by Robert G. Cowser
    "...Once the United States entered World War II, we knew there was no hope of getting electricity until the Axis forces were defeated. Waiting for electrical power was one of our sacrifices for the war effort..."
  • World War II Musings by Robert G. Cowser
    By 1942, almost all of the young men in the United States were in uniform. Most of these men were in hastily expanded training camps, three of which were located near Saltillo, the town nearest our farm...
  • Preserving garden seed important by Delbert Trew
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture started the first relief (welfare) program on May 16, 1939, in Rochester, N.Y... The original program ended in 1943 after serving about 20 million people. The surplus was needed for the World War II effort.
  • Problems for farmers multiplied during war by Delbert Trew
  • Pearl Harbor attack teaches a valuable lesson by Murray Montgomery ("Lone Star Dairy")
    Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008, marked the 67th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor ...
  • Stage Coach by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" Column)
    What with gas rationing and other shortages due to the war effort, coming up with reliable public transportation presented a considerable challenge. People who lived in Lake Jackson...
  • Rationing reminds of sacrifices for war effort by Delbert Trew
    While shopping the mega-malls of today, reading the reams of media ad materials and watching hours on hours of screened commercials, it's hard to believe that at one time in the past, most the these products were rationed...
  • 'Greatest Generation' kept America together by Delbert Trew
    "With all due respect to the WWII veterans and those who died in the war, the efforts of those remaining on the home front should never be forgotten."
  • Gulf U-boats by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" Column)
    "By February 1942, Fort Clark had been guarding the Texas border for nearly 90 years. But the world was changing. Since Germany’s Sept. 1, 1939 blitzkrieg in Poland, even most die-hard cavalrymen had begun to understand that men on horses were no match for machine guns or tanks..."
  • A Midnight Gasoline Credit Card by N. Ray Maxie
    "... Gasoline was a rationed item during World War ll, along with other things like coal oil, tires, sugar, flour, and corn meal, to name a few... if you did as some people did, you would steal it from the oil leases...."
  • Sign Painters of WWII Vintage photo courtesy James A. Wilson Jr
  • World War II Home Front by Archie P. McDonald
  • WACs by Archie P. McDonald
    Women's Army Corps
  • The Home Front: anecdotal stories, sample letters and photos
  • Singing Bedsprings and German Spies in Beeville
  • Sabine Pass
  • An Unsolved Mystery from The World War II Years by Robert G. Cowser
    While walking across our pasture near Saltillo one rainy afternoon in 1944, my father noticed a steel bar standing askew in the damp soil...
  • 1943 Freedom envelope

  • WWII Installations • Relics •
    Memorials & Cemeteries
  • The USS Lexington is a true historic treasure 8-28-18
    Visiting The Blue Ghost
  • Avenger Field
    AKA Sweetwater Army Airfield
    Training facility for the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)
    Photos courtesy Mike Price
  • Pyote Air Force Station, AKA "Rattlesnake Bomber Base"
    Photos courtesy Lexie Nichols and Jordan Gibson
  • The Hitchcock Naval Air Station
    Photos and Photographer's Note by William Holmes
  • Corinth Baptist Church Cemetery - WWII Veterans
    by John Troesser
    Black church and cemetery
    For a tiny cemetery - a disporportionate number of veterans graves.
  • Padre Island Considered Atomic Test Site by Mike Cox
  • U.S.S. Orleck - First naval destroyer to be built in Texas
  • Flagpole by Mike Cox
    This story is about a mystery involving the flag staff that once stood at Camp Howze, a sprawling World War II Army base at Gainesville...
  • Still Boring Holes in the Sky by Ken Rudine
    B-17 and B-24 bombers
  • Memorial Day by Archie P. McDonald
    When Americans pause at the ceremonial beginning of summer to honor those who gave their lives in military service they are participating in our national version of ancient rites...
  • Bats in War and Peace by Clay Coppedge
    Bat bombs
  • Military editions are book rarities by Delbert Trew
    Reading "Armed Services Editions" was a favorite pastime for lonely young men thousands of miles from home... When the victory bells tolled in 1945, the fate of the ASEs was drawn...
  • War surplus was godsend to folks at home by Delbert Trew
    "Everyone wanted a jeep. This heroic vehicle had appeared in every war movie, newsreel and photo sent home from the war."
  • Battleship Texas by Archie P. McDonald ( From "All Things Historical")
  • Blue Star Memorial Highways by Bob Bowman (From "All Things Historical")
  • Small Fish in a Big Spring - War bond tour brings Japanese submarine to West Texas by John Troesser
  • U.S. Air Force T33 Display in Plainview Photo
  • USS Rockwall Photo
  • Mixon Cemetery

  • Harlingen TX - Iwo Jima Memorial Statue
    The Iwo Jima Memorial Statue
    near the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, June 2014

    WWII Markers
  • Friona
  • Pampa Army Air Force Base
  • Plains
  • Seven POW Camps in East Texas by Bob Bowman
    Historical markers are being placed at the sites of each camp at Lufkin, Alto, Center, Tyler, Chireno, Tyler and San Augustine...


  • Rogers Cemetery, Austin

  • WWII Texas Cartoons by Roger T. Moore

  • Rationing
  • Bat Bombs
  • July 30, 1941 - US Army Practice Bombing Range
  • WWII Aggies
  • WWII Balloon Bombs

  • WWII - Once Upon a Line by D. Knape

  • In Graves They Lay 7-12-21
  • Pearl Harbor 12-7-20
  • En Memorium

  • Postwar

  • Bell County Postwar Secrets - Part 2: Attack on Camp Hood by Mike Cox
  • Bell County Postwar Secrets - Part 1 by Mike Cox

  • World War II Forum
  • Subject: PFC Cruz Gamboa FOD Jan 18, 1945
    I adopted the grave of PFC Cruz Gamboa at the Ardennes American Cemetery here in Belgium. I also build a tribute to Cruz. See http://users.skynet.be/2ltmalrait_gilbert/gamboastoryE.htm, now is my question:
    Cruz was from Barstow, TX, and I hope to find maybe new information on this man. Have you any tip where to search? Thanks in advance. - Philippe Vanderdonckt, vanderdonckt.ph@skynet.be April 14, 2012

  • WW II Japanese balloon bombs in Desdemona, Texas

  • Subject: Merlin Mitchell from Putnam, Texas
    I am a WWII Veteran and served with a man from Putnam, Texas. He was a very special person to me and would like to find out, if possible, his last known whereabouts. His name is/ was Merlin P. Mitchell and her was a fighter pilot - flying Spitfires with the 307th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group. He was shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans. I had heard that he had attended one of our reunions. Unfortunately it was one that I didn't attend and I haven't been able to hear any more about him. If anyone in Putnam (or anywhere else) has any information on Merlin Mitchell, I would greatly appreciate it. - Bill Dickerson, billdickerson1@cox.net, Owasso, Oklahoma, November 04, 2006

  • Subject: Jesse Dean Mills
    I'm hoping someone can offer some information about a family connection that we have with Lovelady, Texas, specifically Jesse Dean Mills who was born approx 1917. Please see the attached photo. Jesse lived in Lovelady up until about 1941 or 1942, at which time he enlisted, or was called up, for service in the US Army. Jesse was a Motor Mechanic by trade and worked for his sister Ola May's husband. Jesse served in the Medical Corps as a medic and was posted to the Pacific theatre where he spent some time in Melbourne and at the US Army Hospital in Brisbane Australia until approximately November 1944. The CO of the unit was a Major Coulson. Even though this is such a long time ago we would be very pleased to hear from anyone that can pass on any information. Regards and Thanks, Tony Mills, Wynne Melbourne, Australia, July 30, 2006

  • Port Lavaca, Texas
    During World War II my mother was a volunteer air plane watcher. She worked out of a tower overlooking Lavaca Bay. Most everyone I mention this to think I am crazy. I was about eight years old then and I remember the tower and the chart on the wall. If a plane flew over you had to find it on the chart and call it in. She was given a pin for service that is a small set of wings that has US Army Air Force Observer around the edge and in the center is AWS. Have you [or any of your readers] ever heard of this volunteer service or know where I can find out about it? - Doris Hinds, February 25, 2006

  • My grandfather, James (Bud) I. Page was also on the USS NEVADA, and was also a gunner. He has passed now, but I would like to know if Mr Livley knew him. - Suzie Breedlove Georgia, July 11, 2002

  • I thought you might be interested in an old guy from Denton, for your world war II pages. He is still alive, and practicing law in Denton. He was a fighter pilot in the Jolly Rogers, a highly decorated squadron. His name is Hal Jackson, .lt.j.g. ret. He was highly decorated during the war, along with the rest of his squadron. His law firm is Jackson/Hagen llc. in Denton. ... I was in his office and was overwhelmed by all of his war decorations and memorabilia from his squadron. Also, you have a great web site, I will be back to it often. Thanks - Pierce Gawne, Denton, Texas, June 25, 2002

  • My kids are writing a report on WWII; they have to have 3 sources. ... I used your website for "Merrion Higginbotham - Fighter Pilot - WWII" on the texasescapes website. They seem to be very interested. There's some really good stuff that you provided. Thanks! - Vivian, 10th grade school teacher in Elkhart High School, March 14, 2002

  • I was doing little surfing and looked for images of Princes Risborough (actually to find out if I could track down one of my sites www.cprra.co.uk) and came across the story of Lt Clyde "Sparky" Cosper. Fascinating. Thanks for the memories. Eric Samuel Web Master Chinnor and Princes Risborough railway

  • Thanks for your reply. I had another browse around your site. It brought back more memories for me. I have been fortunate enough to have visited your great state of Texas many times over the years, mostly on business, but now retirement beckons I hope to return and spend some time just looking around. Best Regards. Eric

  • My grandfather was in the war and he got shot down and was in the sea untill Germans rescued him and took him to the prisner of war camp untill he was better. He helped plan the Great Escape with his friends but never got to escape because he was not well enough. I was wondering if you could help me find any information on this. His name was Robert Haddock and he was a pilot in both World War I and World War II. Many regards - Claire Langton, December, 2001

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