SMITH: Many in town gave much to WWII effort

Julia: I was touched by your commentary regarding Douglas Bransom’s Mother’s Day poem written during World War II. I hope that most mothers will never know the anguish felt and the number of prayers needed for loved ones during a time of war. Nora Bransom was a special mother. Were there other Burleson families that made a similar contribution to the war effort?

John: World War II was a defining moment in the life of our great country.  Chapter VII of the Burleson history book published in 1981 is dedicated to the military veterans from Burleson.

“With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the United States officially entered World War II. Every able bodied person in our community participated," the book reads. "Most men from 17 to 40 served in the military service, while others served by producing agricultural products or in other war support industries. During the war, women of our community, for the first time in our history, became active participants in all aspects of military service and support, except actual combat duty.”

On Oct. 27, 1944, the Fort Worth Press printed a front page article regarding the family of Pearl Clark of Burleson. Pearl was the granddaughter of Rev. Henry Renfro and raised her family in what we now refer to as the Renfro-Clark-Phillips home on North Clark Street. She had five sons, a grandson and her son-in-law serving in the military service.

Noble was Pearl's only son not in the military service. He did his part by serving as the chief waterworks engineer at the Fort Worth Army Air Field. Pearl kept on making a home for them to come back to “when the shooting was over." She was blessed as all seven returned home safely.

The Walter Mosley family suffered a tremendous loss. Both of their sons entered the Air Force. Walterine was stationed in England and was killed, as a tail gunner, in a B17 flying fortress on a mission to Berlin. He is buried near Liege, Belgium. Joe, their oldest son, was killed in a plane crash on Luzon two months after the war was over when his plane was shot down while dropping leaflets over the island, notifying the enemy that the war was over. He is buried in Manila, Philippine Islands.

One of the two Mosley daughters, Sybil, entered the Army Nurse Corps and was assigned to the 5th Army to serve alongside of fighting men in Africa, Sicily and Italy before returning home to serve in the Veterans Hospital in Dallas. Her sister, Wilmarine, served the people of Burleson as a nurse with Dr. James Heberle for 18 years. In January 1963, the Mosely Memorial VFW Post in Burleson was instituted to honor Walterine and Joe.

Every family in the Burleson area was affected by the war. Some made greater sacrifices than others. The Bransoms, Clarks and Mosleys are only three of the many Burleson families that served our country during the war. Today, we owe our freedom to this great generation of men and women. God bless America.

John Duke Smith is a Burleson history buff. Ask him a question you've always wondered about with the subject "Ask John" at johndukesmith@sbcglobal.net and what he finds out may be a future column.

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