On This Day 17-MAR 1945, We Honor a Fallen Hero
Thomas Lewis was born 23-SEP 1913. His mother was Mary Amelia Hash (1891-1962) in St Charles, MO. His father was Albert Edward Lewis (1884-1959) in Decatur, Illinois. Albert had 14 siblings. Siblings included sisters Violet, Dorine, Alice, Marjorie, Jean and Helen. Brothers included Floyd, James, Daniel and Ronald. We do not know the other names of his siblings. His parents had 14 children in 24 years. Albert was the oldest brother. He never married.
He lived in St. Charles and was employed by Patton and Tully Construction Company. Albert registered for the draft 10-16-1940 and later enlisted on 6-JUL-1943. He was a private first class serving in the 6th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Regiment.
Albert fought in the Philippine Islands. From the Japanese perspective, control of the islands was vital. Loss of the Philippines would threaten Japan’s overseas access to foodstuffs and critical raw materials, especially oil, from the East Indies and Southeast Asia. Four U.S. Army divisions and MacArthur landed on Luzon 9-JAN 1945 and began their push toward Manila. Ultimately, 10 U.S. divisions and five independent regiments fought on Luzon, making it the largest campaign of the Pacific war.
During the Battle of Luzon, U.S. troops liberated thousands of Allied prisoners of war who had been in captivity since the 1942 Japanese invasion and the infamous Bataan Death March.
By mid-March, Manila officially returned to Allied control.
From information we have gathered, Albert was awarded a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster (Oak Leaf indicates a second Purple Heart). Our research concludes he was wounded in late February and returned to action. He was also awarded a Silver Star (the third highest military award) posthumously after he voluntarily manned a machine gun in an exposed position during an attack in which he was later killed.
It was during the Battle for Manila, 17-MAR 1945, Albert T. Lewis was killed in action. He was 31. Albert T Lewis is buried at Plot L Row 5 Grave 29, Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.
Albert T. Lewis is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum on the Wall of Honor.
If you have additional information or pictures of Albert T. Lewis please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.