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The story of PFC Harold Leonard Burton, through news stories

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The following newspaper clips and other information are from an as-of-yet unpublished volume about the Adair Countians who died in World War II. The dates preceding each entry indicates the edition of the Adair County News in which the news item appeared.

(The July 1st enlistment date and July 22nd induction date are correct. Beginning fairly early in World War II, enlistees were given three weeks from the enlistment date to get their affairs in order and to say their goodbyes prior to formal induction into military service.)

Burton, Harold Leonard, PFC, 35705647, KIA Enlisted 1 July 1943, Louisville KY.

July 7, 1943
Five Adair Boys Pass Physical Exams
Out of the group of seventeen Adair registrants examined in Louisville last Thursday, five passed. They [included] ... Harold L. Burton... The five, who were accepted, will report at Fort Benjamin Harrison for active duty on July 22.

September 1, 1943
Sent To Camp Haan
Pvt. Harold L. Burton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alec W. Burton, of Christine, has been sent to Camp Haan, Calif., for his basic training.

August 29, 1944
Visits Parents At Christine
Pfc. Harold L. Burton has returned to Camp Carson, Colo., after spending a furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alec W. Burton, of Christine. He has been in the armed forces 13 months.

February 28, 1945
Awarded Combat Infantryman Badge
With the 100th Infantry Division of the Seventh Army in France--Private First Class Harold L. Burton, son of Mrs. Rosie Burton, of Christine, Ky., was recently awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge for satisfactory performance of duty in ground combat against the enemy. He is with a company of the 398th Infantry Regiment.

April 25, 1945
Pvt. Harold Burton Missing In Action
Mr. and Mrs. Elic Burton received a telegram from the War Department on Wednesday of last week stating that their son is missing in action in Germany. Pvt. Burton entered the service two years ago and had been overseas since November.

April 25, 1945, Purdy community newsletter
Mr. and Mrs. Elic Burton received a telegram Wednesday afternoon that their son, Pvt. Harold Burton, was missing in action.

June 13, 1945, Purdy community newsletter
We are very sorry to say that Mr. and Mrs. Elic Burton have not had a report from their son, Pfc. Harold Burton, who was missing in action.

November 7, 1945
Pfc. Harold Burton Killed in France
Mr. and Mrs. Alec W. Burton, of Christine, received a message from the War Department on Wednesday of last week notifying them that their son, Pfc. Harold Burton, was killed in action in Germany on April 5, 1945.

The War Department had notified them April 18, that Pfc. Burton was reported missing in action and no further news was received until last Wednesday.

Pfc. Burton was a sophomore at the Columbia High School when he was inducted July 22, 1943. He first served with an anti-aircraft outfit but was sent overseas six months prior to his death with an Infantry unit. He had received the Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge and a Presidential Unit Citation. He had been a member of the Baptist Church since he was 12 years old.*

Pfc. Burton is survived by his parents, one sister, Miss Evah Burton, and two brothers, Rollin and Pvt. Edwin E. Burton, of Camp Hood, Texas.

November 14, 1945, Knifley community newsletter
Sorry to hear of Pvt. Harold Burton getting killed. I extend my sympathies to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elec Burton.

April 3, 1946
Memorial Service For Pfc. H.L. Burton
Memorial services for Pfc. Harold L. Burton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alec W. Burton, of Christine, Ky., will be held about 1:30 p.m., Sunday, April 7, at the Separate Baptist Church at Purdy.

Pfc. Burton was reported killed in action near Heilbronn, Germany, on April 5, 1945. He had previously been reported missing in action on the same date. Born on April 5, 1925, Pfc. Burton attended grade school at Purdy. He also attended high school at Glensfork and was a student of Columbia High School at the time he registered for the draft.

After entering the service on July 22, 1943, he was stationed at Camp Haan, Calif., where he received approximately nine months of AAA [Army Antiaircraft Artillery] training but was later placed in the Infantry and sent to Fort Bragg, N.C. In October, 1944, he sailed for Marseilles, France, and was in combat within a short time with the 100th Division of the Seventh Army.

Pfc. Burton received the Good Conduct Medal and several other decorations including the Infantry Combat Badge. He was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Pfc. Burton had been a member of the Separate Baptist Church since the age of 12. He leaves his parents; two brothers, Pvt. Edwin E. Burton and Rollin D. Burton; a sister, Evah Burton.

November 24, 1948
Remains Of Christine Boy En Route Home
Mr. Alec W. Burton, of Christine, Ky., received a telegram November 11, stating that the remains of his son, Pfc. Harold L. Burton, is en route to the United States. Funeral services and burial will be held in the county upon the arrival of the body here.

January 5, 1949
Military Burial Given Pfc. Harold Burton
Funeral services for Pfc. Harold L. Burton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alec W. Burton, of Christine, Ky., were held at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, January 2, at the Separate Baptist Church at Purdy, conducted by the Rev. Willie Patton and the Rev. Arvil Overstreet. Pfc. Burton was born April 5, 1925, and was reported killed in action near Heilbronn, Germany, on April 5, 1945, his twentieth birthday. He entered the service on July 22, 1943, and was sent overseas in October, 1944.

Besides his parents he is survived by two brothers, Edwin E. Burton, Cincinnati, and Rollin D. Burton, of Christine; a sister, Mrs. Calvin I. Burton, Columbus, Ind., two nieces, Sharon Elaine Burton, Columbus, and Donna Jean Burton, Cincinnati; three uncles, T.L. Black, W.A. Black, and R.A. Black, all of Springfield, Ill.; and an aunt, Mrs. Mary E. Burton, Greenwood, Ind.

Pfc. Burton was a member of the Separate Baptist Church.

Relatives attending the funeral from out-of-town were: Mrs. Mary E. Burton, Mr. and Mrs. Elby Wheat and family, all of Greenwood, T.L. Black, Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Black, all of Springfield, Ill.; Mrs. and Mrs. Calvin I. Burton and daughter, Columbus, Ind., Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Burton and daughter, Cincinnati.

Burial was in the Bearwallow cemetery with military honors. The following members of the VFW Post 6097 acted as pallbearers: Mason Judd, Ivan Shivley, Hershel Baker Jones, Marshall Rowe, Earl Myers, Ray Bault, Remus Howard, Russell Murphy, Edgar Troutman and W.J. Morris.

February 2, 1949
Card Of Thanks
We wish to express our sincere appreciation to everyone for the many kind deeds, words and all sympathy extended us when the remains of our dear beloved son and brother, Pfc. Harold L. Burton, were brought home from France for burial. Also thanks to each and everyone who gave the beautiful flowers. Mr.and Mrs. Alec W. Burton and Family.

This web site gives a brief description of the battle in which Pfc. Burton died:

"[The 100th Infantry Division f]ought one of the last major battles of World War II in Europe with the assault river crossing of the Neckar River at Heilbronn, 3 - 12 April 1945.

"In the teeth of fanatical resistance, fueled by an errant RAF bombing raid which had mistakenly hit the city center and turned the enraged populace into enthusiastic helpers of the city's defenders, the 100th launched an amphibious assault across the narrow but swiftly-flowing Neckar. While under constant observation and direct fire of dozens of guns emplaced on the hills surrounding Heilbronn to the east, the men of the 100th clawed their way into the city center and destroyed the German garrison by 12 April."

Harold Leonard Burton was born April 5, 1925 in Adair County to Alec W. Burton & Rosie Black Burton. A photograph of his grave marker in Bearwallow Cemetery appears here.

This story was posted on 2013-01-30 11:50:53
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