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Conducting research - Edward W Lawson - Engineer

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Marion Chard,

 

I have been using your forum to obtain information about the Combat Engineers during

WWII. Thank you for your dedication.

 

I am in my late 60's, but did not serve in the military. My brother a pilot, was a Captain in

the Navy, and retired after 30 years of service. My father served in the Navy in WWII as a

Seabee, Carpenters Mate 3rd Class. He was a diver, both shallow and deep water. He was

in the Naval Construction Battalion Detachment #1009, on Banika Island, Russell, Islands,

South Pacific. The unit operated the Landing Craft Repair Base No. 2. My father never

discussed his service with me or my siblings. I have spend a lot of time rebuilding his training

times in Virginia and California and the trail to the LCRB No. 2. We now have a good picture

of his service, before he came back and finished his engineering degree.

 

My mother-in-law's first husband Edward Lawson, was in the Army Corp of Engineers. He

was KIA in March, 1945. They were divorced in mid 1942. We have attempted to research

his service but we received many letters back from various military records sites, that there is

no record. This month we did discover that the family has a half sister, Ed Lawson had

remarried in 1943 in Newport News, NJ. We contacted the half sister and have good

relations with her. She and her mom were not notified of Edward's death, but found out when

his letters stopped. The army denied benefits to them, because he was married to someone

else. This just made me dig further, but still not much luck.

 

2nd Lt. Edward William Lawson born 3 Mar 1916, died 27 Mar 1945. He is buried in

Arlington National Cemetery. On his Interment papers, he was returned with WWII Dead

Program from St. Avold-Metz France in 1949. the papers state that he was U.S. AGF - 345

Engrs. A colored pencil note on the record states " C o C, 10 Engr. Ba., WWII Corps of

Engrs. We do find mention of Edward in the Diary of Chick Bruns - 70 Years Ago. Edward is

listed on the Territory of Alaska WWII Army Casualties. His enlistment shows as Seattle,

Wa, but all Alaska enlistments show as Washington.

 

Our family and two living children of Edward's first marriage live in Alaska, so going to the

records is very difficult.

 

We can find no records related to 345 - Engrs.

 

Joining your forum hopefully with help in learning more about the WWII history of Corp of

Engineers.

 

Thank you,

 

Willet Bushnell

 

 

 

I am conducting research for Willet and will post anything I find within this topic. Just getting started this morning....

 

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This could be him, right here?

 

Family Tree Now

 

Found this military record on the Family Tree Now site too:

 

World War II Records
MILITARY RECORDS

View Details
NAME: Edward W Lawson BIRTH: 1916 ENLIST DATE: 3 Feb 1942 RACE: White MARITAL STATUS: Married EDUCATION: 4 Years Of High School SERIAL NUMBER: 19075031 ENLISTMENT TERM: Enlistment For The Duration Of The War Or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion Of The President Or Otherwise According To The Law BRANCH CODE: Bi 00 GRADE CODE: Pvt 8

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Cemetery Interment Document - another document shows he DID serve with the 10th Engineers, who were part of the 3rd Infantry Division.

 

Awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously) for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 10th Engineer Combat Battalion, 3d Infantry Division, on March 19, 1945 at Minschweiler, Germany From: History of the 3d Infantry Division in World War II (Donald G. Taggart- Editor) Pub 1947

 

 

Gallery, including the award of the Silver Star

 

Family Tree

Expanded Tree with detailed information

 

How's that for an half hour of work? I'm pretty proud of myself. :pdt12:

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Marion, Thank you for your assistance

.

We just found out last week that Edward W. Lawson was awarded the Silver Star. It does confirm that he was part of the 10th Engineer Combat Battalion.
Edward enlisted in Alaska, but the Army offices were in Seattle, so therefore is shows as a Washington enlistment. He enlisted as a private in February 1942, and reported for duty sometime later. He was in Newport News, VA when he was married, and was a 2nd Lieutenant on the marriage record. He was still in the states in Feb or Mar 1944.
We assume that he would have gone to boot camp, engineer training, and engineer OCS. But cannot locate if records of the Fort Belvoir classes are still around.
Willet Bushnell

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The attached photo is was sent to Edward's wife in 1944 from Europe. He is in the back row, second from the left side of the picture. The quality is poor, but it is the only version I have at this time.

 

Willet Bushnell

post-2572-0-68543300-1473443352_thumb.jpg

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Fantastic. Thanks for posting the photo. I am going to see what else I can find for you. :pdt12:

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A brief "life story" as portrayed on Ancestry.com

 

 

Found that link you mentioned too, that belongs to one of our forum members. Ya, his name is in that diary. Very cool!

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Eisenhower Archives

 

I also went to the 10th Engineer's FB page and asked if they could dig up a roster for me from WWII.

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Digitally reproduced full text of History of the 3rd Infantry Division in WWII

 

Just added this history to my main site.

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You can also contact (see my research section) NARA in Maryland for the unit history of the 10th Engineers.

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Marion,

The History of the Third Infantry Division in WWII does have the Silver Medal Award list and it also has the roster of the 10th Combat Engineers and many more.

 

The Ancestry tree you found is a tree kept by a historian preparing for our cities 100 aniv. in 2017. You can also find the Edward Lawson on the tree maintained by me : willet122.

 

We will follow up on the NARA.

 

Thanks

Willet Bushnell

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Happy to help. If you find anything new, will you please post to this ongoing topic? That way, we can all be kept up-to-date!

 

:pdt12::pdt12::pdt12:

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I spent some time this morning going through the above posts. The story of Edward Lawson shows what WW2 research is all about and it also shows the value of Marion's website to researchers like us.

About 13 years ago this website started me off on a long journey which continues to this day. It has also resulted in me arriving in PA on the 5th of October 2016 to attend my 6th, 36th Engineer Combat Regiment reunion. Those miles across the Atlantic from my home near Bristol, England, have been more than worthwhile!

 

Colin.

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Thank you so much for your very kind words. I truly enjoy doing this and when things fall in line, it's so exciting!

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This week we learned a little more about Edward W Lawson. We received 112 pages of information about the disposition of his remains. First the facts.

My Mother in law was married to Edward W Lawson in the 1930's and had three children by him. They were getting a divorce when he enlisted in the Army in Feb. 1942 and the divorce was final in July 1942.

Edward W Lawson married Mary L sometime in 1942.. and then married Doris A. in 1943. whoops!!

 

Mary L. was notified of his death, but no one else, because Mary L. did not know Edwards Mother was living or that he had been married before.

 

When Edward's mother wrote the Army and found out her son was killed in action, she requested his belongings. The mother also notified my mother-in-law, who did not know he had died, but was aware he had been wounded several times. He had 3 purple hearts.

 

Mary L, Doris A. and Edward's mother wrote letters requesting Edward's personal belongings and to have his body brought back to the states. It took a "court marshall" hearing to resolve the belongings issue in the favor of Mary L. in late 1945. In his belongings were letters and personal items. Maybe including letters and gifts from his third wife.

 

By 1948, Mary L had remarried, so she let Edward's mother determine where Edward W Lawson would be buried. Arlington National Cemetery.

 

All these letters from the Army and the Mother and wife's were in the burial documentation.

 

Among his personal belongings were: 1 Engr. insignia; a 2nd Lt. bar; 5 Overseas bars; 3 Purple Heart Ribbons; 1 Silver Star Ribbon; 1 Soldier's Medal ribbon; and 1 Unit Citation ribbon .

 

The information also shows he was with the 345th Engineers and at the time of his death he was with Co. C 10th

Engineer Combat Battalion. His mothers letters state that he entered the Army in March 1942 and trained at Camp Roberts, California until 20 Sep 1942, then he went to Fort Belvoir, Va. for Corp of Engineer training. His Death certificate states that his active service started 11 Nov 1942, so we are assuming that is when he became a 2nd Lt.

 

We are hoping to get more information through a freedom on information request. Will keep you posted.

 

Why would he have 5 Overseas bars?

 

Willet Bushnell

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We are hoping to get more information through a freedom on information request. Will keep you posted.

Why would he have 5 Overseas bars?

Willet Bushnell

 

Each overseas bars represent 6 months of service. Hope that helps.

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Since my last posting, we have found additional information. First, I did confirm that Edward W Lawson had married three times and had children from each marriage. He divorced his first wife (my mother in law) and then married again in January 1943 and again in June 1943 (this time without a divorce.)

 

Edward W. Lawson's military records and some additional letters furnished by his children gave us this history.

 

February 3, 1942, Edward W. Lawson enlisted in the U.S. Army in Seattle, Washington. He enlisted as a private and he was sent to Camp Roberts near Paso Robles, California for training from March through August 1942. He earned his Qualification in arms: Marksman, rifle, March 25, 1942. He was promoted to Corporal, August 17, 1942.

 

On August 20, 1942, Edward W. Lawson started Engineer Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Va. On November 10, 1942, he received an Honorable Discharge as a Corporal, Company F, 2nd Engineer School Regiment. The discharge was to accept his commission and immediate active duty in the Army as a 2nd Lt. His graduation from EOCS was November 11, 1942.

 

In January 1943 Edward was stationed a Camp Edwards in Massachusetts. In June 1943 he was back near or at Fort Belvoir, Va.

 

We do not know when he went to Europe, but he was part of the 7th Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 10th Engineer Combat Battalion, Company C.

 

He was wounded November 20, 1944. On January 10th, 1945 a casualty list released by the war department listed Lieutenant Edward W. Lawson as losing his life in the battles of Normandy. On January 11, 1945 the newspaper headline read " Lt. Lawson Back on Duty in France." The article corrects its story from the day before with corrections from his wife (2nd wife) in San Mateo, Ca. Edward Lawson had been wounded November 20, 1944 and hospitalized. He had received a purple heart, and at the time of the article he had recovered sufficiently to return to duty.

 

2nd Lt Edward W Lawson was awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously). The citation read as follows:

"SILVER STAR"

For gallantry in action. During the early morning hours of 19 March 1945, near Minschweiler, Germany, when it became necessary to provide a tank route over two anti-tank barriers well on the enemy side of the "Dragons Teeth" of the Siegfried Line, Second Lieutenant Lawson, displaying superb leadership, inspired his men who completed the job in record time. Disdaining the bullets that swept the area and nebelwerfer shells dropping all around him, Second Lieutenant Lawson remained in the open, setting the example for his men who breached the barriers and provided an important route for our armor."

 

"Death of 2nd Lt. Edward W. Lawson"

On March 27, 1945, 2nd Lt. Edward W. Lawson was killed in action in Germany. Mary Lawson, his second wife received the following information in a letter dated April 26, 1945 from a Army Chaplain.

 

"According to a fellow officer, Lieutenant Lawson had gone on a reconnaissance mission. He approached an enemy position and a machine gun opened fire. He was instantly killed by a bullet which struck him in the chest. Your husband was a good officer and leader of men. His excellent character and devotion to duty had won the esteem of all who knew him."

 

We are still researching and hopefully will find more details about his life.

 

Willet Bushnell

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This is excellent news, Willet! It's wonderful to see things fall together, albeit, slowly. Thanks for posting the latest info on our forum. Sounds like we can all be proud of his actions during the war.

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