Gilles C Wood-Thomas
T/5 in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C; HQ & Service Co
Born 1921 in IL, Died 1999
County of residence at enlistment: New York County, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: draftsmen
College education before the war: 2 years
Gilles Wood-Thomas was born on September 10, 1921 in Chicago, IL; he and his twin sister Eveline were the third and fourth of five children. His father, Cyrus Wood-Thomas, was an illustrator, architect, and city planner, and his mother, Victoria Marie Ange Dauriac, was a French sculptor (and the youngest woman to be admitted to study sculpture at Les Beaux-Arts de Paris).
Gilles and his family spent time in both Paris and the states—his older brother had been born in Paris in 1920. Gilles had stayed with his family in Bordeaux, France when Alan moved to New York; he and his mother and three sisters escaped war on a ship headed to New York from Lisbon in July 1940.
Gilles registered for the draft on February 15, 1942; at the time he was living in New York City and working for Leonard Schurtze Associates. He enlisted on August 25, 1942, about seven months after his brother, and requested his brother's unit, the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. At that time, he stated that he had two years of college and was working as an architectural draftsman. According to a 1943 article in the Fort Meade newspaper, Alan became Gilles' platoon sergeant. Fellow soldier Howard Holt said of Gilles that he always had a pipe in his mouth, and the photograph that accompanies the article bears that out.
Gilles and Alan both went to Europe with the Ghost Army. Their fluency in French was a plus! Their sister Eveline also served in the war; she was stationed in Africa as a lieutenant in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
Gilles was discharged from the Army on October 26, 1945 with the rank of T/5. He married Dorothea Austin on May 17, 1947. He and Dorothea would go on to have five children: Craig, Bryan, Sandra, Patricia, and Suzanne. They eventually settled in Watertown, NY and Gilles worked as an architectural designer for Bernier, Carr & Associates in Watertown.
In about 1995, Gilles and Dorothea moved to York, PA where all three of their daughters lived. They were parishioners at St. Patrick Catholic Church there. Gilles died on June 26, 1999 in York, and is buried at Brookside Cemetery in Watertown, NY.
1921 birth certificate index
1940 shipboard manifest Lisbon to NY
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1943 article in The Baltimore Sun (MD) re his presence with his brother in the 603rd
1943 article in the Fort Meade newspaper about him and his life before the war (taken from Seymour Nussenbaum scrapbook)
1947 NY state marriage index
1997 article in the York Daily Record (PA) re his 50th wedding anniversary (with photo)
1999 VA death record
1999 US Veterans burial card
1999 obituary in the York Daily Record (PA)
2020 wife's obituary