|Staff Sergeant Raymond Thornton survived only one week in combat with the 35th Infantry Division in Normandy.|
Raymond Thornton never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on February 15, 1918 in Kansas. His parents William and Carrie were also both born in Kansas. His father worked as an oil field machinist and later as a street laborer and then as a custodian. Raymond had an older sister, four younger brothers (at least one served in the war), and a younger sister. By 1940 Raymond had completed four years of high school. He was living at home, working as a butter maker.
He was drafted into the army on February 22, 1941. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. The 35th ID arrived in England in May 1944 and was sent to Normandy on July 8, 1944. It was on the attack in the Battle of St. Lo on July 11.
On July 14, 1944 Sgt. Thornton's unit continued it's attack against the enemy at La Pte Ferme and La Marel. The Germans had laid numerous minefields and fought from stone buildings supported by 88mm artillery. Regimental casualties that day totaled 127, including 17 killed. Sgt. Thornton was one of them.
His grave is at Highland Cemetery in Winfield, Kansas. In 1973 younger brother James was a Kansas State Highway trooper who was killed in the line of duty by a suspected murder on the run.
Last year on this date I profiled Fred Gutknecht, 87th Infantry Division. You can read about Fred here.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
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