Thursday, August 4, 2016

PFC Gano Haines Jewell

PFC Gano Haines Jewell was born 21 Sep 1923 in Westville, New York to Harold Gano and Julia Martin (Parslow) Jewell.  Their only child, "Sonny" was the light of their life.  The family story is that Sonny was attending Cornell as a pre-med student when he was moved to enlist to "do his part" in the war. It was supposed that as a pre-med student he was deemed by the Army as a suitable candidate to be a medic. However the truth is at some variance from that. According to an article in the Otsego Farmer:
Mrs. Webbs Nephew Is Killed In Action Pfc. Gano H. Jewell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold G. Jewell of No. 13 Cromer Avenue, Schenectady, previously reported missing in action, was killed August 4th while serving as a field medical man in France the War department informed the parents. He was a nephew of Mrs. Kenneth Webb of Whig Corners, Mrs. Fred Ottaway of Westville, and Kenneth Jewell of Milford. A graduate; of Nott Terrace High school. Private Jewell enlisted in the army reserve in November, 1942, and was called in active duty in July, 1943, while a Sophomore at Union College. Following his basic training at Camp Grant, Illinois, he was graduated from Technician and advanced Technician courses at O'Reilly General hospital, Springfield, Mo. After serving a short time at Fitzsimmons General Hospital, Denver; Col., he was stationed at Camp Reynolds, Pa , before going overseas in May, 1944.
Assigned to the 104th Medical Battalion and then, on 11 Jul 1944, to Medical Detachment, 116th Infantry.  It was reported that on 3 Aug 1944, as the Regiment closed on Vire, Sonny was wounded by H&I fire from German artillery.  On 4 Aug 1944, that same artillery killed him. 

We do not have a military photo of Sonny, those photos were apparently lost when his mother died in 1981 and the estate was disposed of.  There is a photo of Sonny, taken near Vire, as he sits next to his foxhole.  The photo was taken by MSG Winston Morris, who was visiting the 2nd Battalion aid station where Sonny was working.  However, that photo was supposedly in Winston Morris' collection which was given to the Department of Military Affairs, Commonwealth of Virginia and has apparently gone missing.

A quick note about Winston Morris.  35-years of age at the beginning of the war, and a professional photographer, when he was ultimately assigned to the 116th Medical Detachment, he was one of a very few men allowed a camera.  He said that he was able to take photos of anything so long as he submitted the photos to the censors.  As NCOIC of the Medical Detachment, he moved all through the units checking on detachment operations and assisting in the evacuation of wounded soldiers and so had great opportunities to take important photographs.

Sonny's body was repatriated in 1949.  The family had to pick up the body from the train station. His cousin and aunt accompanied his mother, the cousin driving a truck to carry the casket and following the car driven by his mother.  The right rear tire had a sidewall blow out, his cousin said that he could see it balloon before exploding but couldn't warn his aunt in time.  There was nearly an accident.

PFC Jewell now rests forever in Westville Cemetery in Westville, New York along with his parents, his aunts and uncles and grandparents.

40-years after his death, his first cousin once removed, son of that cousin who had gone to retrieve his body from the train station, would begin active duty service with the 116th Infantry. 

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