Hamilton County

Pfc. David LeRoy Darnell




W. C. Soldier Had Been in Action in Europe Since D-Day.

Pfc. David LeRoy Darnell, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Darnell of this city, was killed in action Nov. 29, in Germany, his parents have been notified by a war department message.

No other details were given by the telegram from the secretary of war, but a letter is expected to follow.

With Hodges Troops

The Webster City soldier, who went into service in March, 1943, had been engaged in fighting in Europe since D-Day. He was attached to a mortar squad with General Hodges’ First army—the unit which has seen some of the toughest fighting in the entire European campaign and is even now battling to stem a great nazi counter blow.

Last direct word received from the soldier was a letter written Nov. 15, to his uncle, Lacey Darnell, of this city. He was fighting in Germany at that time.

Before entering the army, Private Darnell was employed at the L. Mills plumbing shop in this city. Upon completion of training in this country he was transferred to England in November, 1943.

Brother in Service

Besides his parents, he is survived by one brother and one sister: Harold O. Darnell, shipfitter third class, who is serving in the south Pacific aboard a repair ship, and Mrs. John Haase, now living in Burbank, Cal.

A graduate of the Webster City schools in 1940, Private Darnell was prominent in musical activities in both school and church organizations.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Dec. 18, 1944 (photo included)

Memorial for Pvt. Darnell to Be at Church of Christ.

Memorial services for Pfc. David LeRoy Darnell, 21, who was killed in Germany, Nov. 29, will be held at the Church of Christ in this city Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, with the Rev. W. Dow Crewdson officiating.

Mr. and Mrs. John Darnell, parents of the Webster City soldier have received word that the purple heart medal has been awarded their son. A letter from Henry L. Stimson, secretary of war, notified them of the posthumous award.

Instantly Killed

Further word from the war department has revealed that Private Darnell was instantly killed by shell fragments and concussion while fighting on the field of battle against the Germans. According to a letter from his commanding officer, First Lt. Donald Lister, the Webster City soldier was given a military funeral and buried in Belgium.

David LeRoy Darnell was born April 2, 1923 at Reedsburg, Wis., and when three years old came with his parents to Webster City. Shortly afterward the family again moved to Wright county but returned later to a farm just north of this city where he grew to young manhood.

He received his high school education at Lincoln high, graduating with the class of 1941. He was active in both vocal and instrumental groups, taking part in several sectional and state music contests. Until his call to service in March 1943, he was employed at the Mills plumbing shop in this city.

After receiving training at several army bases in this country, he was transferred overseas in November, 1943, and was located in England, being assigned to an infantry unit with the First army which went into France on D-Day, June 6. He remained in the lines until his death.

Member of Church

The Webster City soldier was a member of the Church of Christ in this city and took part in many activities of the church. Besides his parents, he is survived by one brother, Harold who is serving with the navy in the Philippines, a sister, Mrs. John Haase of this city, his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Kinser of Reedsburg, Wis., several aunts, uncles and cousins.

An energetic worker at whatever task he was assigned to, his presence will be missed greatly,not only in the home but in the church and other organizations to which he contributed his time and musical talents.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Feb. 15, 1945

David LeRoy Darnell was born Apr. 2, 1923 to John David and Irene E. Cooter Darnell. He died Nov. 29, 1944 in Germany and is buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium  Plot: B  Row: 5  Grave: 35. He has a cenotaph at the Graceland Cemetery in Webster City, IA.

Sources: ancestry.com; WWII Memorial