Donation to historical society collection honors soldier killed in WWII
Of the many thousands of U.S. citizens killed in the Second World War, the names that resonate around Jamestown are those of Howard Arnold, the first Jamestown resident to be killed in action during WWII and Francis Zweir, who also died in defense of his country.
The names are easily recognized by Jamestown's veterans, as the local Arnold-Zweir American Legion Post 22 is named after Howard and Francis.
"Howard and my brother were both big healthy guys. My brother died in the Battle of the Bulge," Stephen Zweir, brother of Francis, said, adding that the Battle of Ardennes paved the way for an allied victory in the war. "Both were big guys, which is what the Army needed at the time," Zweir said.
Howard Arnold's great nephew, Paul Robertson of Jamestown, is hoping to keep his family's selfless service record alive by his donations to the Jamestown Historical Society, which includes various medals, letters of service, and a flag that was flown on Memorial Day, to honor his great uncle as well as all veterans.
Howard Arnold was born in Jamestown on May 27, 1917. He graduated from the town schools and then attended Rogers High School. Before his service in the Army in February of 1942, he was employed with the Callan Construction Company. Arnold's family included brothers Leon, George, and Earl, who also served in the army. All the Arnold brothers were volunteers and, after his service in the Army, Earl Arnold also served in the U.S. Navy. Although all served throughout the war, Howard Arnold was the only brother killed in combat.
Robertson said, "They're not exactly sure what had occurred, all we know for sure is what these (military family documents) say." The documents which Robertson has donated to the Historical Society state that Howard was killed in action on Oct. 8, 1944 and his medical card was tagged at the U.S. Military Cemetery in Andilly, France, where his body was interred.
Among the donations Robertson is giving the historical society, is a heart-wrenching letter home a little over a week later. W.S. Paul, Major General, U.S. Army writes:
My dear Mr. Arnold,
I know only too well that words cannot bring comfort to your heart in these hours of loss. However, as your boy's division commander, I want to tell you that all of us who remain in this division grieve with you in the loss of our comrade.
Your son was killed in action during our advance near Arrocourt. He did his duty splendidly and was loved and admired by all who knew him. We will not forget.
He gave his life in battle in the services of his county- these single words cannot lighten our sorrow, but they bring great pride and inspiration to us all. Sincerely, W.S Paul Major General, U.S. Army Commanding
As well as this letter, Robertson has donated his great uncle's medals which include, the Purple Heart, which is awarded in the name of the President for those wounded or killed while serving their county, the European/African/Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, awarded to personnel for service in this theatre between Dec. 7, 1941 and Nov. 8, 1945, and the WWII Victory Medal, for those who served Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946.
These documents and medals can be seen by visiting the Jamestown Historical Society.