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Charles Augustus Gorman

PFC in 406th Engineer Combat Co

Military occupational specialty: 533 (demolition specialist)


Born 1923 in NJ, Died 1987

County of residence at enlistment: Camden County, NJ
Other residence(s): Collingswood, NJ; Gloucester City, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education after the war: Josephite College Seminary
Notes: Rank changed rom PVT to PFC per Travel Orders, 23d HQ, 29 August 1945 and an Army press release in July 1945; Certificate of Merit; CG SP TRS, 12th A Gp, 15 Dec 44. Meritorious Service: Demolition Specialist, France, 14 Jun-11 Jul 44
Source: Special Order 19, 23d HQ, Camp Forrest, 7 April 1944; Awards and Decorations;

Charles Gorman was born on August 1, 1923 in Collingswood, NJ, the second of seven children. His father was the manager of a lumber company, and later a purchasing agent. The family was living in Gloucester City, NJ in 1930, and Charles graduated with honors from Gloucester Catholic High School in 1941. When he registered for the draft, on June 30, 1942, he was working for the Radio Condenser Company in Camden, NJ and also appears to have been a student.

Charles was one of 15 young men from Gloucester City who enlisted in the Army between March 15-22, 1943; all but three of them were 18 or 19 years old. On March 25, they found themselves on a train headed to Camp Gordon, Georgia. There they would join the newly activated 293rd Engineer Combat Battalion, and be assigned to Company A. That spring and summer they trained in Georgia and Tennessee, and that fall boarded a train for Camp Pilot Knob, aka the Desert Training Center, five miles from Yuma, Arizona (just inside the California border). In mid-January 1944, the commander of the 293rd received an order to detach his best company for a secret mission. He selected Company A, and by January 30, 1944 the men were back in Tennessee. On April 7, 1944, Company A of the 293rd was officially reassigned and renamed as the 406th Engineer Combat Company, and the unit boarded a ship to England in early May.

Charles was one of four "demolition men" (along with fellow Gloucester city resident Tom Haney) selected to accompany Lt. Bernie Mason into France on June 14, 1944. The job of the demolition men was to operate an improvised flash device which was intended to simulate the flash of a “Long Tom.” Their mission lasted 28 days. They were among the first Ghost Army men to arrive in Normandy, and PFC Gorman received a Certificate of Merit for his participation in the operation.

After their service in the Ghost Army all 15 men returned to the states. They were feted on July 14, 1945 by the Third Ward Regular Democratic Club while back in Gloucester City on 30-day furloughs. Charles was discharged from the Army on November 23, 1945.

In a 1947 letter to the men of the 406th, Charles' CO, George Rebh, reported that Charles was a pre-dental student. But by 1948 he was studying for the priesthood at Josephite College Seminary in Newburgh, NY. His brother, William, also a World War II veteran, was also studying for the priesthood—with the Oblates in Ipswich, MA.

At some point, both Charles and William left off their seminary studies. Charles married Sally Hutchinson in February, 1953, and was the best man at William's wedding in 1956.

Charles and Sally would go to have nine children. It is not known what Charles did for work, but, according to his Ancestry family tree, he was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church, and served for the rest of his life at St. Mary's Church in Gloucester City. He was also a member of the Gloucester City School Board, re-elected in 1975 with the most votes of any candidate.

Charles died on July 12, 1987.


1930 census

1941 article in The Morning Post (Camden, NJ) about his high school graduation

1942 draft card

1943 article in the Morning Post (Camden, NJ) about him and 14 other Gloucester veterans of the 406th Engineers--all of them (plus others from the area) were being sent to Fort Dix for training

1945 article in the Morning Post (Camden, NJ) about him and 15 other Gloucester veterans of the 406th Engineers

1947 (March 6) letter from George Rebh to the men of the 406th

1948 article in the Courier-Post (Camden, NJ); he is studying for priesthood

1950 census

1953 marriage record

1956 article in the Courier-Post (Camden NJ) about his brother's wedding

1975 article in the Courier-Post (Camden NJ); he is elected to school board

1987 VA death record

1987 Social Security death index

406th Unit History Compiled

Ancestry® family record

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