Pulling together…

The congregation would lay the cornerstone of the Memorial Hall on May 2, 1948. The building was dedicated on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the church, November 20, 1949. (Reference Buckeye Valley News, November 24, 1949)

The dedication plaque inside the Memorial Hall simply lists the names of the young men from the church who served and died during WWII. We have been working to learn more, let us share their stories with you:

Photo credit R. Shearer, 2022

Wyman Richard Van Liere, AMM1c, US Navy

Wyman, known as “Mutt“, was born March 5, 1913 in Liberty, AZ to Peter and Carrie Etta (Beloat) Van Liere. He was the fourth of eight children.

Wyman enlisted in the US Navy on May 19, 1937. The records from the Veterans Administration show March 6th as his birth date, however that date is incorrect. His Arizona birth certificate confirms his March 5th, 1913 date. The Veterans Administration record indicates he was assigned to the US Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL as an Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class.

Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class Van Liere, age 28, was logged lost on July 3, 1941, along with 6 shipmates during a flight from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, bound for Iceland to provide cover for U.S. Marine Corps occupation forces stationed in Iceland. The plane, flying under instrument flight rules due to zero visibility, was lost with all hands and the official cause of the accident is listed as “Unknown”. (Source: New England Aviation History).

Wyman married Marjorie Hamilton Sanders on June 24, 1938, in Fallbrook, California, near San Diego and they would have a daughter – Carol Irene, born February 1940 in the Canal Zone, Panama.

In 1958 Marjorie was living in Sacramento, California with Carol, who was listed as a student in the Sacramento Directory Co. record. Marjorie had not remarried. Marjorie Hamilton (Sanders) Van Liere died February 13, 1979 in Mountain View, Santa Clara Co., California. Carol Irene (Van Liere) Craft died March 12, 2010 in Spring Haill, Johnson Co., Kansas

Arthur Godwyn King, Jr., Lt (jg), US Navy Reserve

Arthur Godwyn King, Jr. was born on November 24, 1921 in Virginia. By 1930 the family had relocated to Los Angeles, California where Arthur Sr. was working as an executive in a construction company. During the mid-1930’s the family relocated once again to Maricopa County, Arizona.

Arthur, as an Ensign is pictured here, last row, 4th from the right.

Arthur’s final mission, flown from the USS Bunker Hill, off the island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands.

Arthur Godwyn King, Jr., age 22, died November 13/14, 1944, lost at sea. Arthur is listed on the Wall of the Missing, Manila American Cemetary and also has a memorial marker in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk City, Virginia (PLOTCG EXT-B38-L3 Memorial Source: Find a Grave, Memorial ID101534287).

Harrison Heiffel, US Army, Pacific

Harrison is listed in the Liberty Methodist Church Roll of Honor, the complied list of all veterans from the congregation, their branch of service and theatre of operation / assignment. Harrison is listed on page # 6, “Harrison Heiffel, Army, Pacific” ~ View the Liberty Church Roll of Honor.

The National Archives maintains lists of casualties from WWII for each state. The WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualties: Arizona is compiled by county, with an additional category ‘State at Large’. Harrison is not listed among the Arizona dead. Perhaps his nearest living relative did not reside in Arizona, causing his name to be listed in the state records where notification was made, as was the procedure of all branches of the US Armed Forces following the conflict.

The World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing is maintained by the National Archive (World War II Records | National Archives) in two separate lists, US Army / Army Air Corps and Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Our search for additional information on Harrison is ongoing, we commend his soul to our Lord.

J. W. Hatfield, Pvt. US Army

J. W., age 20, and his father John were farm hands at King’s Ranch, R#1, Buckeye, when J. W. was called up for service on March 18, 1944.

He served as a Private in the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, US Army and was awarded the Purple Heart. J.W. died on November 24, 1944 and rests in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Hombourg, Belgium (Overview here). The cemetery is part of the American Battle Memorial Commission (ABMC), which honors the service of U.S. Armed Forces lost in overseas conflicts by maintaining and promoting America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials.

Kenneth L. Lewis, PFC, US Marine Corps

Kenneth L. Lewis, Private1st Class, age 24, died July 10, 1943 in action on the Solomon Islands. Kenneth enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1939, trained as an Automotive Mechanic, Mortar Crewman and Rifleman. He served in 1942 with Company F, 2nd Raider Battalion, FMF, In the Field, Espritu Santo; with Company F, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Pacific Fleet, FMF, In the Field, Guadalcanal; in 1943, Company F, 2nd Raider Battalion, 1st Marine Raider Regiment, FMF, In the Field, Noumea; and Company B, 1st Raider Battalion, 1st Marine Raider Regiment, FMF, In the Field, New Georgia.

Last known activity “Killed in Action, 10 Jul 1943, during operations against Imperial Japanese Forces in the vicinity of Enogai Point on New Georgia Island, British Solomon Islands.”

(Source Together We Served)

Kenneth rests in the Golden Gate National Cemetary, San Bruno, California (Plot N 0 710, Memorial ID 73983832, Find a Grave)