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William Vernon Gordon (1912 1944) & Rayola Smith (1913 2006)


  • 1. William Vernon Gordon (19121944) & Rayola Smith (19132006) William Vernon Gordon Born: 10 Jul 1912 Lincoln, Bingham, Idaho Died: 23 Feb 1944 WWII Bougainville, North Solomons, Papua New Guinea Burial: 12 Mar 1944 Draper, Salt Lake, Utah Married: 3 May 1933 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Rayola Smith Born: 15 Feb 1913 Draper, Salt Lake,, Utah Died: 3 April 2006, Draper Cemetery, Draper, Utah William Vernon Gordon: fourth son and 6th of 10 children of Samuel Arthur Gordon and Harriet Louisa Meikle. He was Born July, 10, 1912 at Lincoln, Bonneville Co. Idaho Vern, as known to his family and friends At the time of his birth, 10 Jul 1912, the family was living in Taylor Creek, Bonneville, Idaho. Lincoln, Bingham, Idaho being the nearby town in which he was born. PHOTO JAN 1912 A FEW MONTHS BEFORE VERN WAS BORN MAY 1912

2. At an early age he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his nose. As a result it was slightly deformed and he had a degree of congestion in it. He loved his brothers and sisters, family ties were very close. His family moved from one community to another a number of times. His early life was spent in Lincoln, Idaho; Smithfield, Utah; Salt Lake City, Utah; Other places in Idaho. Cornish, Utah, South Jordan, Utah; Milford, Utah; Beaver, Utah. He attended High School in Beaver, Utah. He enjoyed sports and he played basketball in High School. he was interested in mechanics and delighted in remodeling old cars. He always said he should have one car to drive and one to fix. On May 3, 1933 he married Rayola Smith in the Salt Lake Temple. The first two years of our married life was spent in South Draper, Utah. We lived in an old house in which we had to replace windows. Fixing it up was a challenge, but we were proud of the results. It was while we lived here that our infant son was born; 13 June 1934. He only lived twenty four hours. He had a heart condition. This was a great disappointment to us. But, even more so as years went by. We were not permitted to have any babies. However, we found a great deal of happiness in each other, and our families, which were numerous on both sides. About 1933 Our next home was in Salt Lake City, Utah; about one half block from Liberty Park. Vern was employed at Arden Dairy. About six months later we moved to Superior, Wyoming. Vern was employed at the Union Pacific Coal Mines. We acquired many friends and enjoyed the close companionship we had with Vern's brother Roy and his wife Loe, and their three lovely girls. Together we enjoyed picnics, we often fixed our lunch and rode out through the sagebrush until we found a shady spot to eat our lunch. We enjoyed shopping together in Rock Springs, Wyo. 3. Then the annual celebration at Rock Springs was called "Old Timers Day". Vern and Roy both participated in first aid contest which were the main activity of the day. Vern & Roy, First Aid Team In the winter, we enjoyed dancing parties, evenings playing games and then getting ready for Santa. We were active in church functions, Roy was Bishop of the Superior Ward. Vern was the Ward Clerk, he served as a councelor in the YMMIA. The two years we spent in Superior were outstandingly happy years. Except for a sad event that entered our lives. Vern's Father passed away. We really missed him, as he was so kind to us and was always concerned over our welfare. 4. As our aim in life was to own our own home and go into the chicken business. We moved back to Draper. We found a great deal of happiness in building a home of our own. Even though it only contained two rooms. Vern took a great deal of pride in helping to make our home beautiful with lawn and flowers. We always had a good garden and we planted a small fruit orchard and berry patch. We built chicken coups and filled them with chickens. Verns' mother and his youngest brother Arvel visited us often. It was nice living so close to our folks. We enjoyed the companionship of Vern's brother James and his wife Jane. They were very kind to us. We appreciated what they did for us, as a family group we had many wonderful times together. In Dec. of 1942, Vern was drafted into the Army. He left for Fort Douglas the day after Christmas. This all was very difficult for us. He was first stationed at Camp Roberts Calif. The following month I joined him. I lived at Paso Robles and obtained employment there doing housework. We spent happy week-ends together and evenings at the camp. During this time we received word of the death of his Mother. This was another test to us. Mother Gordon was very dear to us. She had been confined to a wheel chair for many years. In her affliction she exhibited a great deal of courage and fortitude. She never complained and did her best to encourage her family in worthwhile undertakings. 5. We returned to California, and in August Vern was transferred to Camp Lewis, Washington; where he received his over seas training. I joined hem there and obtained employment at an Army Hospital. The scenery is beautiful there. We lived in a trailer house. Vern could only come home weekends, but we felt it worth it for me to stay, to be together as long as we could. One evening Vern called me from camp that he had received his shipping orders. I drove out to camp to tell him good-bye. This was not easy for either of us. After his departure, I returned home to Draper and he was into the South Pacific. His letters to me were of encouragement at all times. His thoughts and dreams was to do his duty to his country and return home to his loved ones, so that we could take up our lives where we left off. He wrote concerning his family and friends. He was interested in our home and appreciated information I gave him regarding it. On February 23, 1944, Vern was killed while in active duty for his country on Bougainville Island in the South Pacific. This was indeed a tragedy to those of us who loved him. Memorial Services were held in his honor in Draper 2nd Ward. Many tributes were rendered that day in his behalf. Vern's personality was one of generosity and kindness. He never turned down a chance to be of service to anyone. He was cheerful and he enjoyed life to the fullest. He lived well and died so we could go on enjoying the blessing that comes with living in a free country. We owe him a debt of deep gratitude. As our Savior said "I go to prepare a place for you, That where I am yea may be also." 6. Rayola Smith Gordon 7. WILLIAM VERNON GORDON Service History U.S. Army, 37th Infantry Division, 148th Infantry Regiment 1942, Dec 19 - Inducted and sworn into the Army. 1942, Dec 26 - Leave Salt Lake city for Camp Roberts, California 1943, Jan 2 - Arrive at Camp Roberts, California for 13 weeks training. 1943, March 8 - Verns mother passes away 1943, March 19 - 7 Day furlough to attend Rayolas Fathers funeral 1943, March 26 - Returned to Camp Roberts, Calif 1943, July 20 - Arrived at Fort Lewis, Washington for Advanced Training. Assigned to: 37th Infantry Division, 148th Infantry Regiment 1943, Aug 19 - Moved to Pittsbury Depot, Calif. Near San Francisco 1943, Nov. 9 - 37th Landed on Bougainville 1944, Feb. 23 - Vern killed on Bougainville Island 1944, March 12 - Burial at Draper, Utah Operation Cherryblossom - the invasion of Bougainville (November 1943-March 1944) http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/operation_cherryblossom_bougainville.html Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation, Co. F, 148th Infantry Regiment, for its heroism in Bougainville. http://www.frankel-y.com/append.htm 8. Christmas Day on Bougainville (Author unknown) The booming artillery is deafening-so is the roar of the planes. Men are dying a thousand deaths-men are going insane. The blood runs freely as the trickling of a brook. The war goes on triumphantly and without a backward look. To Kill; To Kill-the urge within one is strong. "Peace on earth-Good will toward men"-where did I hear that song? Oh! of course-how stupid-today is Christmas Day. A day of hearty cheer-the world is deaf-it does not hear-it can not hear 9. http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/npswapa/extcontent/usmc/pcn-190-003141-00/sec12.htm Bougainville Finale Then, in late February and early March 1944, patrols began making "almost continuous" contact with the enemy. It appeared that the Japanese were concentrating for a serious counterattack. William Vernon Gordon Died on Bougainville February 23, 1944 10. 37th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Divisions of World War II Name: 37th, Type: Infantry, Nickname: Buckeyes, Source: National Guard Theater: Pacific WWII Casualties: 5,960, Days of Combat: 592, Activation Date: 16 Oct 40 Date Sent Overseas: 11 Jun 42 (Fiji) Date Entered Combat: 5 Jul 43 (New Georgia) 11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/37th_Infantry_Division_(United_States) Combat chronicle The 37th Infantry Division arrived in the Fiji Islands in June 1942 to fortify the islands against possible invasion. The division continued its training on the islands. With the end of ground fighting on Guadalcanal, the division moved to that island in April 1943, continued training, and staged for the Munda campaign. Two battalions joined the Marine Raiders on New Georgia, 5 July 1943, while the remainder of the division landed, 22 July, and assisted the 43d Infantry Division in taking Munda airfield in heavy fighting. After mopping up on New Georgia, the division returned to Guadalcanal, 9 September 1943, for rest and rehabilitation. The division's next assignment was Bougainville as part of the I Marine Amphibious Corps. Landing between 8 and 19 November 1943, the 37th Division expanded the western beachhead sector, constructed roads and bridges, and engaged in extensive patrol activity. On 15 December 1943, IMAC was relieved by the XIV Corps, to which the 37th Division was then assigned. In March 1944, two Japanese divisions made eight major attacks, but division lines held. In April patrols cleared the Laruma Valley ar