James Haskell Findley
Contributor: MargieW Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
DEATH: James Haskell Findley died at age 55 of Lung Cancer. He had a highly malignant tumor of the right lung which diffusely spread to the heart, lymph glands, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bone and abdomen surface. He developed a large amount of fluid accumulation in the chest and died as a result of his widely disseminated malignant tumor. (VA postmortem exam); Death record.
MILITARY: James Haskell Findley served in World War II. His army serial no. was
38 541 763. He attained the rank of Private First Class in the Infantry. He was inducted into the Army on 10 Aug 1943 and entered active service on 31 Aug 1943. He entered the service at the Induction Center at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty was Rifleman 745.
He served for four months in basic training and later in the war as an Assistant Squad Leader. As an ASL," he acted as an assistant to a squad leader over an Infantry Rifle Squad in combat. He assisted in moving squad into tactical formations. Loaded, aimed and fired the rifle to destroy the enemy and to aid in capturing and holding enemy positions. Took advantage of cover and concealment, and camouflage. Gave and followed arm and hand signals, used the following weapons: rifle, automatic rifle, rocket launcher, rifle grenade, hand grenade, bayonet, and trench knife. Knew methods of defense against enemy weapons. Knew techniques of hand to hand fighting." (U.S. Army Separation Qualification Record WD AGO Form 100) He had his Basic Training and his MOS training at Ft. McClellan from 6 Sep 1943 to 9 Feb 1944. He then was transferred to Ft. George G. Mead from 21 Feb to 18 March 1944. He served with the 85th Division of the Fifth Army from 27 March to 1 June 1945.
The war record of the 85th Infantry Division is as follows: It left the United States on 24 December 1943 and arrived in Casablanca, French Morocco, 2 January 1944. It received amphibious training at Port aux Poules near Arzew and Oran, Algeria, 1 February to 23 March, then embarked for Naples, Italy, arriving on 27 March. A selected advance detachment appeared on the Minturno-Castelforte front north of Naples, 28 March. The Division was committed to action as a unit, 10 April 1944, north of the Garigliano River, facing the Gustav Line, and held defensive positions for a month.
On 11 May, it launched its attack, taking Solacciano, Castellonorato, and Formia. Itri fell, 19 May, and the 85th continued to mop up the Gaeta Peninsula. Terracina was taken and the road to the Anzio beachhead was opened. The Division pursued the enemy to the hills near Sezze until pinched out by friendly forces from Anzio. The Gustav Line had been smashed and the 85th started for a rest area, 29 May, but was ordered to the Lariano sector which the Division cleared by the 31st. Driving on Rome, the 85th pushed through Monte Compatri and Frascati, entered Rome, 5 June 1944, and advanced to Viterbo before being relieved, 10 June.
After rehabilitation and training, the 85th took over the defense of the Arno River line, 15 to 26 August. The Division attacked the mountain defenses of the Gothic Line, 13 September, and broke through, taking Firenzuola on the 21st. The 85th advanced slowly through mud and rain against heavy resistance taking La Martina and gaining the Idice River Valley road, 2 October, and reaching Mount Mezzano on the 24th overlooking the Po River Valley. From 27 October to 22 November 1944, defense areas near Pizzano were held. On the 23d, the Division was relieved for rest and rehabilitation.
The 85th relieved the British 1st Infantry Division, 6 January 1945, and limited its activities to cautious patrols until 13 March. After a brief training period, the 85th thrust southwest of Bologna, 14 April, pushing through Lucca and Pistoia into the Po Valley as enemy resistance collapsed. The Panaro River was crossed on the 23rd and the Po the next day. The Division mopped up fleeing Germans until their mass surrender, 2 May 1945, in the Belluno-Agordo area.
Through the entire campaign, the Division suffered some 7,268 casualties with 1,717 Killed In Action. Three soldiers from this division earned the Medal of Honor.
His final unit was the 411 Ordinance from 1 June to his separation date 11 November 1945. According to another Military form (Enlisted Record and Report of Separation, Honorable Discharge WD AGO For 53-55), he fought in the battles of Rome-Arno, North Apennines, PO Valley.
Among his army decorations were the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star, the Meritorious Unit Award (HQ 85th Inf) and the Victory Ribbon. In total he served for one year 5 months and 20 days in the Continental U.S. and for 9 months 12 days in Foreign service. He was discharged as part of the demobilization of troops at the end of the war. According to army records, he completed the 8th grade and left school in 1941. He had listed as his civilian employerand occupation as Auto Mechanic Helper from 1941-43 with D.E. Findley (his father) in Houston, Texas. His duties included: "Assisted various mechanics in overhauling and rebuilding automobile engines of all makes of cars. Assisted in reboring, honing of cylinders, carburetors, rebuilding transmissions, and rear ends, and rewiring ignition systems." He was honorablely discharged from the 411th Ordinance Motor Maintenance Company on 11 November 1945 at the separation center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
BURIAL: Obiturary: JAMES HASKEL FINDLEY, died July 17, 1980, in a local hospital. Member of Assembly of God Church, Survivors: Son, Thomas Glenn Findley, Utah; daughters, Mrs. Ruby Hair, Houston; mother, Mrs. Loretta Findley, Houston; four-brothers, five sisters, four grandsons, one grand-daughter. Services Monday, 10:30 a.m. Earthman Pasadena Chapel, Interment Houston National Cemetery. Earthman Funerals, 1715 South Shaver, Pasadena, 472-5521.
BIOGRAPHY: My dad played the guitar and my favorite song he used to sing was called "The Lightning Express". This country song was sung by either Ernest Tubb or Sam Lightning Hopkins or Jimmy Rodgers. This was, I believe, his favorite song to sing and was kind of like his trademark. The words are:
"Lightning express from the depot so grand had started out on its way. Everybody on board seemed to be happy and gay. Except a little boy in a seat by himself reading a letter he had seemed to be seen with the tears in his eyes. The letter seemed to make him sad. The colonial conductor came trhough to take the tickets from everyone there approaching the side of the little boy promptly demanded his fare. I have no maoney the boy replied, Oh Please, don't put me off of your train, for the best friend I have in this whole wide world is waiting for me in pain expecting to die any moment and may not live through the day. I want to meet mother goodbye sir, before God takes her away. A little girl sitting in a seat close by said don't put him off,its a shame, taking a hat of collections she soon paid his way on the train, I'm obliged to you Miss, for your kindness to me. Everytime the conductor came through the car these words seem to ring in his ear...I want to meet mother goodbye sir before God takes her away. (thoughts from Tom Findley, son)
GeneralSources: Personal knolwedge of James Haskell Findley and Hazel Florence Brooks. Family bible.
BIOGRAPHY: Autobiography: I, James Haskell Findley, was born on May 27, 1925 at Hubbard, Texas in a house. I started school at Franklin Elementary in Houston, Texas at the age of five. I also attended Edison Junior High School.
I served in the United States Army in World War II being awarded the Bronze Star for combat in Italy. I was inducted at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and also was stationed at Fort McClellan in Alabama, Ft. Mead in Maryland and then in Italy. I served as an assistant squad leader. I married Hazel Florence Brooks on November 24, 1945 in Houston, Texas. We were married by the Rev. E.M. Yeats. Our children included Thomas Glenn, born September 23, 1946; Joyce Dale, born October 9, 1948 at 4:55 a.m. and died October 11, 1948 at 9:45 p.m.; and Ruby Marie, born September 19, 1950. My religious background was Assembly of God.
~IGI: Source Call No. 1260970, Film, Batch # 8125801, Sheet 10.
Texas death record.
BIOGRAPHY: Summary of taped interview on 17 Jun 1980, (one month before death): "I was born in Hubbard, Texas on May 27, 1925. I don't know why I was born in Hubbard, I guess they were visiting there cause we had our house in Houston I think. In Houston I grew up in the old house at 7521 Avenue E. Daddy almost built a stucco house behind the old house and there was a concrete foundation there for years. He stopped because City Hall wouldn't let him have it, no iron or nothin. One Christmas present I remember was a little red wagon that M.J. bought me before he ever got married. I had bicycle and things like that. I went to Franklin Elementary and Edison Jr. High. I quit in the eighth or ninth grade, about a year before I joined the army in 1943. I was drafted in the army. Eddie is the one who joined. He joined about the same time I was drafted. He went to Ft. Ord, California and I went to Alabama. When we went across the sea, he went to Belguim and I went to Italy. The only time we got together was in Ft. Lee, Maryland. We went over together across the sea by ship. I didn't get seasick. He went by convoy and took about 70 days to get to England. It took me about 9 days to get to Casablanca. I fought in Italy. We were replacements. I was released on November 11, 1945. Received a Bronze Star for some kind of bravery. I was shooting a BAR or something like that and I accidently killed somebody or something like that. I met Hazel over the phone before I went off to war. I used to play the guitar. I grew up my whole life on Avenue E and used to run around with Eddie and a bunch of others that moved off. We used to run around and have gang fights with the Mexicans. Got cut once in a gang fight with Mexicans over by Edison on Canal street. It was a pretty rough neighborhood at that time. We didn't have TV's or nothin. I enjoyed school, everything by English. Hazel and I got married at 410 Latham. We first lived there on Latham with Mrs. Brooks. We later lived on Texas and later on Harrisburg. When Joyce Dale was born, we lived on about the 1700 block of Harrisburg near Western Auto. She is buried in Forest Park. When Marie was born we lived on Baty on the North side. Years ago I worked for the Jacinto City Water Dept., for about 4 or 5 years. Marie was three years old when we divorced. We lived on Norwick in Jacinto City, that is where you cut Marie's hair, over by the show house. That's before we lived on Garber, behind Jack's house. I remember Grandma Sara Emma but I didn't stay around them too much. They lived down about a block and a half from us, on about 7700 Avenue E. She was a Christian and went to Church, the Assembly of God. Grandpa (Marshall) used to work down at the docks. They lived there at 7701 Avenue E for a long time. Grandma moved away after grandpa died. I think she moved north of the city where Uncle Berry, Aunt Marie and Daddy lived. Grandpa Joe Robert Baker was a good ol boy, his wife, Manisa was bedridden a lot. I never remarried cause I had enough of that. Right now I have 4 grandsons and one grand-daughter. Marie has Glenn, age 9, and Jaime, 7, and then Tommy's boys, Scotty who is five and Mikey who is almost four, and Angie. Marie is pregnant right now. If I had something to say to my grandchildren and their children, it would be to not get into dope or meaness."
Funeral Memorial Book, Earthman Funeral Home: In Memory of James Haskell Findley; birthdate May 27, 1925, Hubbard, Texas; Entered into Rest July 17, 1980, Houston, Texas; Services Earthman's Pasadena Chapel, 10:30 a.m., July 21, 1980; Officiating Rev. Don McDuff; Interment Houston National Cemetery, July 21, 1980, Houston, Texas; Music, James Curtis King played guitar and sang: "Lightning Express" by Jimmy Rogers, "The Old Rugged Cross" and "He's Coming Back". Approximately 100 friends and family in attendance.
~LDS Record Number: 000-6785-561A