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William Alfred Flanagan

S/SGT in 23rd Headquarters Co

Military occupational specialty: 824 (mess sergeant)


Born 1909 in NC, Died 1970

County of residence at enlistment: New Kent County, VA
Other residence(s): Farmville, NC; Greenville, NC; Norfolk, VA; Bremerton, WA; Loomis, WA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: waiters and waitresses, except private family
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-A, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; ; photo from Ancestry® and Robert Bluhm

William Flanagan was born on February 13, 1909 in Farmville, NC. He was the fourth of four children, with three older sisters; his father was a farmer.

William finished three years of high school and by 1930 was living in a boarding house in Greenville, a more populous city about 15 miles from his Farmville home, and working as a waiter in a café.

When he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he was living in Norfolk, VA and working as a waiter at Harry M. Parks seafood restaurant there.

He enlisted on February 12, 1942 and was assigned to the 23rd Headquarters Company as a Mess Sergeant. Five months after he enlisted, on July 11, he married Elsie Mae Bluhm in Lexington, SC.

William went overseas with the unit and returned to the states on July 2, 1945, landing in Newport News, VA. He was discharged with the rank of S/SGT.

By 1950, William was managing a restaurant, and Elsie was working as an office clerk.  But at some point after 1950, there was a major shift in their lives. They moved cross-country and, by 1954, William was working as a pipe fitter at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and the couple was living in Bremerton, WA. Elsie had been born in Washington, so this may have contributed to their decision to relocate.

On January 23, 1964 William married Elsie again. It is not clear if they got divorced prior to that, or if there had been some kind of problem with the first marriage. On the second marriage document he is listed as single, and she as divorced.

Nothing else is known of his life or work. He died on September 3, 1970 of lung disease and heart failure; he'd been living in Loomis, WA at the time. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Bremerton, WA.


1910 census

1920 census

1930 census

1940 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1942 marriage record

1945 article in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot re his return from Europe

1950 census

1955 Bremerton (WA) city directory

1964 marriage record

1970 Find a Grave record*gszzus*_gcl_au*MTY5NDk3NDIxLjE2OTI0NjcwMjg.*_ga*MzE3NDkzMTk2LjE2OTI0NjcwMjk.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTQ1NDY1NmMtZmYxYi00MWZkLTg0ZDYtZGYyNmQ5MDQ3NTQwLjguMS4xNjkyNjU0NzAwLjcuMC4w

1970 headstone application for military veterans

1970 Washington death index

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