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William Francis Harris

T/5 in 406th Engineer Combat Co

Military occupational specialty: 345 (truck driver, light)


Born 1923 in NJ, Died 1981

Other residence(s): Vineland, NJ; Millville, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Notes: Rank changed from PFC in GA Roster to T/5 per newspaper engagement announcement, August 1945
Source: Special Order 19, 23d HQ, Camp Forrest, 7 April 1944;

William Harris was born on April 29, 1923 in Buena Vista Township, NJ. He was the younger of two children and also had five older half-siblings from his mother's first marriage. His father was an odd job laborer.

By 1940 he was living with his mother and sister in Vineland, NJ (formerly Landis Township); his father had died sometime in the 1930s. William had completed an eighth-grade education and was working as a farm laborer; his mother was working as a seamstress in a WPA sewing factory, and his sister as a box maker.

William's draft and enlistment dates are unknown, but he ended up in the Army as a member of the 406th Engineer Combat Company, and saw service in Europe with the unit during the war. After coming back to the states in the summer of 1945, he became engaged to Justine Flitcraft, also of Vineland. Their wedding date is not known, but it was probably in 1945 or 1946. They would go on to have two sons born in the late 1940s: Larry and Terry.

The family moved to Millville, NJ in 1948 and by 1950 Larry was working as a factory foreman. Over the subsequent years he worked for Wheaton Glass Company, Jersey Package Company of Vineland, and as a sheriff's officer in the Cumberland County Jail.

William died on September 26, 1981 after a brief illness, and was buried at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Elmer, NJ. His wife eventually remarried and also outlived a second husband; she passed away in 2019, 38 years after William's death.


1930 census

1940 census

1945 engagement announcement in The Daily Journal (Vineland, NJ)

1950 census

1981 obituary in The Millville Daily (NJ)

1981 Social Security death index

1981 Find a Grave record

2019 wife's obituary

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