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Lt. Walter Downs

“The many friends and relatives of 1st Lt. Walter E. Downs of Stillwater, Oklahoma, will be interested to know that he is recovering from serious wounds received while in action in Africa.


Lt- Walter Downs is the son of Col W.E. Downs of 656 Jefferson St. Stillwater, Oklahoma, Col. Downs is the son of the late J.H. Downs of Bodcaw, Arkansas who was one of the pioneers of the Bodcaw community and one of the founders of the Bodcaw High School. He also reared a very large family at Bodcaw which has gone out to different sections and have all made good.


Lt. Downs has returned to his regiment in the capacity of Battalion Adjutant, after spending more than a month in a hospital following wounds received in action in the African theatre of war. Lt Downs has been awarded the Purple Heart, and the Oak Leaf Cluster. He previously was given the Silver Star Award for action in Africa. The Oak Leaf Cluster was given for gallantry in action in leading his company in battle, as acting company commander, several hours after he had received severe burns.


According to the letter written by Lt. Downs, the serious burns received on his face and hands will not leave scars. It was necessary for shrapnel to be removed from his back while in the hospital, but he now has recovered and is gaining weight.


Col W.E. Downs saw much service during World War No. 1 and was overseas for a long time; during this time, he was engaged in many of the major conflicts and was recognized as being outstanding and has been referred to many times by the ex-service men who knew him. He is a graduate of Ouachita College, and was for many years heed of Oklahoma Military Academy. It seems that this fighting spirit has been prevalent for generations. The great-grandfather of 1st Lt. Downs was "Old Parson Joe Downs", a Baptist minister, who played a very important part in the Civil War, which is still referred to my many of the older set. The many friends of Lt. Downs rejoice to know of his recovery and hope and pray that he may have a speedy return and be reunited with his family.”


(From "Nevada News", Prescott, Nevada County, Sept. 2, 1943)


The above Lt. Downs was killed in action in Italy, July 1944. He was a member of the 13th Armored Regiment and was a Captain at the time of his death though he had not learned of his promotion. He had been wounded 4 times.

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