Pottawattamie County

Cpl. Jack Warford



Home again with his family, after 18 months overseas service, Cpl. Jack Warford is a veteran of the African invasion and the Tunisian campaign. He hadn’t seen his daughter, Sharon Ann, left, since she was 18 months old. “I’m thankful he is out of it, “ was the only comment of Mrs. Warford, right.


But He Saw Plenty While It Lasted

The war is over for Cpl. Jack M. Warford, 23, 1901 Avenue E, but he has probably seen more of it than thousands of others.

Jack was torpedoed on a troop ship 20 miles from the African coast; bombed shelled, and machine gunned through the Tunisian campaign; was captured and escaped; then became one of the crew of a half track and the only survivor, he spent the months from February to October in various hospitals in North Africa and the United States.

And the irony of it is that Jack went overseas as a clarinet player in the 168th infantry band, played for the King and Queen of England at Dundrum bay, Ireland, and thought, with the rest of the band they would spend most of the war in Algiers providing music for the allied headquarters and the army radio station there.

Played on Machine Gun

“They didn’t need us there that bad, though,” he commented ruefully. “Instead of playing music, we played machine guns and B. A. R. (Brown automatic rifles)” They played those guns through the toughest battle at the Tunisian campaign, including the struggle for Kasserine pass and the battle at Faid.

Many of the band members were Abraham Lincoln high school boys, as was Jack. “The last fellow I saw that I knew,” he recalled, “was Dick Anderson. We saw a line of American tanks. Dick said, ‘Let’s get some clean underwear and socks.’ We hadn’t had any for weeks, so we headed for them. That was the last I saw of Dick. He is a prisoner now.”

Jack was captured by the Germans along with most of the band and headquarters company of the 168th, but he and two companions escaped. He didn’t even know their names and he doesn’t know what finally happened to them. As for the actual escape, he won’t talk about that. But when he was free, he headed by compass for Sbeitla, which had been allied headquarters, only to discover neither the Germans nor Americans held it, and both were shelling it.

“The Germans saw me, and evidently thought I was an American patrol. They set up machine gun crossfire directly at me. I ran about 300 yards and dropped into a tank trap. Then a shell landed near me and the concussion knocked me out. The next thing I knew, I was alongside an American convoy, asking a driver for a cigaret (sic). Then a couple of military intelligence fellows came along and started asking me a bunch of questions about where I had been and what I had seen. Two days later, they had me in the First Armored Division, in a half-track.”

The armored truck didn’t last long – it was hit by a heavy shell. All crew members were killed except Jack. He suffered [a] concussion, internal injuries and a piece of shrapnel in his leg, which landed him in hospitals in North Africa, and finally, since June 25, in Halloran general hospital, Staten island, and the army hospital in Topeka.

Jack has ribbons of the American theater, European theater, the good conduct medal, pre-Pearl Harbor medal (American defense medal), and the Purple Heart. He has not as yet received the latter, although the orders have been approved. Besides the ribbons on his blouse, he wears the three gold hashmarks for eighteen months overseas service.

He is employed by the Morgan Optical company of Omaha.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Wednesday, November 03, 1943