Martha E. Thurmond never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, she sacrificed her life for our freedom.
She was born on March 25, 1918 in West Virginia. Her mother Mary had two daughters from a prior marriage that ended when her husband died in 1897. She remarried Martha's father Henry in 1915. Both of Martha's parents were also born in West Virginia. Mother Mary was 44 years old when Martha was born. She died when Martha was 10 months old. After that she was raised by her oldest half-sister who was 25 years older than Martha. Martha grew up with twin nieces who were three years younger than she was. Her father, who never remarried, worked as a bookkeeper and later as an assistant postmaster. By 1940 Martha was a student nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia.
Martha accepted an appointment as a 2nd lieutenant in the army nurses corps and reported for duty on September 1, 1942. She served in the 3rd General Hospital, which was based in Tunisia by August 1943. It treated more than 5,000 wounded soldiers there.
Lt. Thurmond was killed in a vehicle crash in Tunis, Tunisia on August 10, 1943.
Her grave is at Sunset Memorial Park in Beckley, West Virginia.
Lt. Thurmond is only the second woman I have discovered during my research so far. The other one was Marian Gillis. Her story was told in Mitchell Zuckoff's best selling book Lost in Shangri-La. You can read about Marian here.
Last year on this date I profiled William Pallesen, 2nd Marine Raiders and POW. As of this writing, his story is the fourth most popular of the nearly 450 written so far. You can read about William 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.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100