Henry Vincent Boner Sr.
PVT in 406th Engineer Combat Co
Military occupational specialty: 189 (rigger)
Born 1923 in PA, Died 1989
County of residence at enlistment: Camden County, NJ
Other residence(s): Philadelphia, PA; Gloucester City, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Hank Boner was born on October 27, 1923 in Philadelphia, PA, the middle of three sons. By 1930 he and his mother and brothers were living in Gloucester City, NJ with his mother's parents; his mother was working as a packer in a Christmas tree facility. Hank completed one year of high school and in the 1940 census was listed as a "new worker." His mother died in November, 1942, leaving him and his two brothers orphans.
Hank 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.
That July, as the men of the 406th headed across England on their way to the war, the train stopped in the city of Gloucester. Here the local NAAFI (the organization that runs recreation, canteens, and PXs for British servicemen) served them tea, which was quaffed amid cheers from the soldiers from Gloucester City, New Jersey.
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. Hank was discharged on October 27, 1945 and returned to Gloucester City where he would live for the rest of his life.
Hank married Sophia Weishaar on April 6, 1954 in Hertford, NC. They would have five children together: Henry Jr., John, Margaret, Eleanor, and Sophia.
Nothing else is known of Hank's life or work. He died on July 12, 1989 and is buried at New St. Mary's Cemetery, Bellmawr, NJ.
1942 mother's obituary in the Morning Post (Camden, NJ)
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
1954 marriage record
1989 VA death record
1989 obituary in the Courier-Post (Camden, NJ)
1989 Social Security applications and claims index
1989 Social Security death index
1989 Find a Grave record
406th Unit History Compiled