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PFC WILLIAM T. MCKNIGHT


(courtesy of Rob Gawal)

Regimental Headquarters
50th Parachute Infantry
APO 230 New York, NY

20 July 44

Mrs. W. J. McKnight
6739 Chester Avenue
Philadelphia 42, Pa.

My Dear Mrs. McKnight,

Existing War Department regulations prevent the disclosure of any information relative to any casualties incurred in combat.

However, without violating any regulation and with your permission I would like to present my personal feelings and those of my company about your nephew William, or "Mac" as he was [known] to us.

He was a splendid soldier throughout and extremely capable but it as not through these capabilities alone that endeared him to his officers and buddies and gained their respect.  His sense of humor was boundless and I never remember ever being with him that he was not smiling or laughing and the center of an enthusiastic group of friends.  He was literally the "sparkplug" of the hear and life of his company and his place will never quite be filled.

It may be difficult for you to understand my next statement but please feel that y sorrow in some way measures with yours as I have had the glorious opportunity to be a sort of parent to 'Mac" and his buddies for 20 months and their trials and tribulations afforded me the chance to live their lives with them and appreciate their problems.

"Mac's" company and regiment conducted themselves in such a manner in combat as to be awarded a Presidential citation for "extraordinary heroism and achievements" and in the sacrifice of his life "Mac" endowed a heritage that shall endure forever ands be praised wherever people congregate.  I am enclosing the ribbon emblematic of the award that is "Mac's".

Our chaplain at the present is Capt. James L. Elder and I know he would appreciate being of any assistance.

- 2 -

I have an Aunt and Uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Brown who live at 1609 South 15th Street and should the opportunity present itself to you I feel certain that a visit with them will illuminate my words here and assure you of the sincerity with which I write  They both knew "Mac".

If I can be of further aid to you please do not hesitate to contact me.

Respectfully yours,

(signed) Robt. Abraham

ROBERT ABRAHAM
Captain Inf
Commanding


Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs Burial Record
for William T. McKnight


Application For Headstone Or Marker
for William T. McKnight contains two unfortunate discrepancies.

When his sister Myrtle (nee McKnight) Cook filled out the form she entered the month and day of his birth correctly but penned in the year as 1930 rather than 1921.  That error implied that William was only 14 at the time of his death. 

In addition, the date of death is shown as June 11th which was initially reported in a June Morning Report.  However, a September entry corrected it to be June 8th.

Both the date of birth and date of death were entered correctly on the burial record which presumably pre-dates the application.   Why they were not compared during the record processing is unknown.

Both dates were faithfully reproduced as shown on the application (see inset, below).


(courtesy of Ken Smith)

Grave marker for Pfc William T. McKnight in Section K, Range 7, Lot 3, Grave W. L of the Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia (Philadelphia county), Pennsylvania.

William enlisted in the Army at Philadelphia, PA on 10 March 1942. 

Pfc McKnight was a member of Hq Hq when he was killed in action on 8 June 1944.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge, both posthumously.

Note: We pointed these date discrepancies out to the President of Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery in an attempt to have the dates rectified. After some investigation, he reported that since the error was made by the relative, it would take a request by the family to correct the stone.

 

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