John A. Marshall

John A. Marshall served during World War II in the European Theater.

He served in the U.S. Army.

Source: Duluth newspaper (Duluth Herald or Duluth News Tribune), March 8, 1944 (incomplete, quoted below).

"Duluthian Spills Blood to Get ‘War Trophies’”

"Jagged pieces of shrapnel, a pierced metal dog tag and the torn metal covers of a prayer book-these are the war trophies of a Duluth lad who, last August, lay bleeding on a Sicilian battlefield.

"Awarded the Order of the Purple Heart and wearing pre-Pearl Harbor and Mediterranean war theater bars with stars for participation in African and Sicilian campaigns, Pfc. John A. Marshall is home on a 30-day furlough from Billings hospital, Indianapolis, Ind., to visit his mother, Mrs. Anna Marshall, 318 North Forty-third avenue west.

"Describing the landing at Oran in Africa with the First army early last year, and the battle which followed the Duluthian said 'bombing raids were so fierce that in one attack all our baggage burned. We had only the clothes on our backs, and we wore them to shreds before new supplies came through.'

"With a communications unit in the old 125th Field Artillery, Private Marshall’s job was to keep telephone lines open between front line troops, gun batteries and headquarters.

"Until the end of the African campaign in June, the Duluthian said there was no rest for fighting men. Twenty-four hours a day in heat and clammy rain, with little mail and no other reading material or entertainment-just fighting, mopping up, moving on, on, and on.

"Finally at Tunis—the battle of Africa won—tired, worn men were sent in alternate groups to rest camps where they just sat or lay still, read newspapers, answered mail and attended movies.

"Then came July 10, the day of the Sicilian invasion. With another artillery division, Marshall continued communications work. On Aug. 1 he and a crew were working in a battle area. Just before taking cover during a shelling, the corporal he was with stepped on a 'bouncing baby.' This type of mine, Marshall explained, explodes twice, once in the ground and then in the air, spouting shrapnel in all directions.

"The corporal was hit in the leg and knocked unconscious on the first explosion. Marshall was hit in the chest on the second. Shrapnel fragments, which tore through the private’s dog tag and prayer book, were taken from his chest and stomach at the field first aid station just two hours after he was hit.

"Awarded the Purple Heart two days later, the Duluthian was taken to a larger Sicilian hospital, where he stayed six weeks and then was flown to a hospital at Bizerte.

"'Homesickness hits hospitalized soldiers quickly,' said Marshall, 'and I was no exception. However, the Red Cross nurses and attendants did everything they could to combat this. They brought us books, cigarettes, and presented movies in the wards.'

"After four months in African hospitals, Marshall was sent to the United States. 'The landing at Staten Island was a gala affair,' he continued, 'bands playing, navy men and soldiers greeting us, Red Cross workers distributing chocolate, cokes, doughnuts and milk—real fluid milk, which we hadn’t tasted…'"

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