Black Hawk County

Pvt. Robert Leo Downs




Waterloo families whose boys have been killed or reported missing in action are considering food rationing only a small gesture of patriotism. Gold Stars are numerous now and their number is steadily mounting. And these gold star families are feeling far greater emptiness in their homes than the partial emptiness in their cupboards or their refrigerators.

Mrs. Broell’s son, Pvt. Robert Leo Downs, died Feb. 20 of wounds suffered in the fighting in north Africa. Private Down’s father, Riley Downs wounded in the first world war, died several years later as a result of that wound.

“We Talk Awhile”

“We have a grocery store,” said Mrs. Broell, “and whenever someone comes in complaining about the food shortage, we just talk awhile with them. And they always come to the conclusion that everybody’s willing to do without if the boys can have it.”

Relinquishing a steak or two a week, giving up an extra helping of one’s favorite vegetable or fruit, going without a second teaspoonful of sugar in the coffee, and the extra cookies and cakes, are small forfeits for freedom. They become even smaller by comparison when one considers the lives which are being exchanged for the safety of our heritage.

Source: Waterloo Sunday Courier, March 28, 1943

Iowa Honor Roll

These Iowans have given their lives for their country. Each man pictured here has been killed in combat or has died in a prison camp. This group includes the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, who went down with the Juneau. The fourth line under each picture indicates the area in which the man last served. Further Honor Roll photographs will be carried here later.

Source: The Des Moines Register, Sunday, February 27, 1944 (photos included)

Robert Leo Downs was born June 18, 1920 to Charles E. and Gladys Downs. He died Feb. 20, 1943 and is buried in North Africa American Cemetery, Tunis, Tunisia.

Pvt. Downs served in World War II with the U.S. Army 133rd Infantry, 334th Infantry Division and was KIA and awarded the Purple Heart.