June 6, 1944, the first day of the invasion of Normandy, was by far the bloodiest day of the war for the state. 12 Delawareans are known to have been killed or mortally wounded that day. Here are their stories.
Articles about Delaware’s D-Day Fallen
Private 1st Class Lawrence J. Anderson, U.S. Army: Company “K,” 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (1919–1944)
Private 1st Class George C. Beebe, U.S. Army: Company “E,” 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (1919–1944)
Private 1st Class Walter S. Brinton, U.S. Army: Company “A,” 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (1917–1944)
2nd Lieutenant John M. Butler, U.S. Army Air Forces: 434th Troop Carrier Group (1918–1944)
Private 1st Class George S. Dill, U.S. Army: Company “C,” 146th Engineer Combat Battalion (1923–1944)
Private Walter J. Dobek, U.S. Army: Company “C,” 146th Engineer Combat Battalion (1922–1944)
Sergeant Charles N. Donoghue, U.S. Army: Company “B,” 745th Tank Battalion (1916–1944)
Technician 5th Grade Julian A. Long, U.S. Army: Company “C,” 237th Engineer Combat Battalion (1911–1944)
Captain Stephen McGregor, U.S. Army: 461st Amphibian Truck Company (1908–1944)
Private 1st Class James M. Padley, U.S. Army: Company “A,” 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (1917–1944)
Private Franklin J. Polster, U.S. Army: Company “F,” 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (1919–1944)
Private William Verderamo, U.S. Army: Medical Detachment, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (1914–1944)
Previously published lists have included Private William Morris (1922–1944, service number 6892312) of Company “B,” 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Morris’s name appears on the official Maryland casualty list and several military records (morning report, application for headstone) give his date of death as June 7, 1944.
Some previously published lists also omit Private 1st Class Lawrence J. Anderson, who lived in Pennsylvania for most of his life. However, he moved to Wilmington before volunteering for the U.S. Army and subsequently married there before going overseas, and he is listed on Delaware’s official casualty list.
After completing this series of articles, I learned of Private 1st Class Anthony Salemi (1923–1944, service number 13143375), who was killed in action on D-Day while serving with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Salemi was born in Wilmington, Delaware, but it appears he lived most of his life in Washington, D.C. I may profile Private 1st Class Salemi at a future date.
On April 28, 1944, two Delawareans were killed during the Exercise Tiger disaster off the coast of Slapton Sands during rehearsals for the invasion: Staff Sergeant Clarence O. Deakyne, Jr. (1917–1944, service number 32076630) of the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company and Staff Sergeant Winford J. Poore (1921–1944, service number 32367390) of the 35th Signal Construction Battalion. Deakyne appears on the Maryland casualty list.
And, although he grew up in Delaware, Captain Stephen McGregor did not enter the service there; his name appears on Indiana’s casualty list.
Of course, Anderson, McGregor, Deakyne, and Salemi raise difficult questions about who should be considered a Delawarean for the purposes of this project. The working definition, for now, is whether the servicemember in question ever called Delaware home.
Lastly, it’s also important to note that although June 6, 1944, continues to captivate popular memory, nearly a year of hard fighting in the European Theater followed D-Day, costing untold numbers of lives.
Last updated April 10, 2022
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