Six Neshoba County boys "suffered and sweated out the war" from their stay in Aruba in the Netherlands West Indies during May of 1943, seventy-one years ago: Privates Ross R. Tingle, John Winfield Dunn, Alford Dewitt Hardy, Rush Leo Lewis, Lacy Atlas Murphy and Hubert L. Warren.

The six young men dubbed themselves a group of lads from "Jungle Paradise," when they wrote to The Neshoba Democrat during that period. A part of their joint letter read: "It is Saturday night in the tropics. We are enjoying the rainy season at present... The Neshoba Democrat [is the] greatest of all news to us, and the greatest morale builder in any army camp.

Twelve days after leaving our homes we found ourselves on a Southern Cruise bound for the tropics. Brave lads with a single thought in mind, 'let's go over and get it over with as soon as possible and return home.'

We arrived at a great harbor in a land with tropical vegetables, palm trees, coconuts, bananas, and curious-eyed natives rallying to see us. It was really a brass band welcome, a pompous ceremony as we slid down along the green shore. We are near the equator.

The population is mostly Hindu and is well seasoned with Chinese, Japs, and Syrians. The streets of the villages are lined with sleeping Hindus, who only fold up, lower their heads and close their eyes when the day is done. We have seen a rainbow daily for over a month.

There is no twilight, the orange disk simply goes down into the sea and suddenly it becomes dark. As we read of the boys back home getting furloughs and going to see their families, we hope they are enjoying these privileges to the utmost.

As for us, we simply said upon leaving out homes, 'So long, we will be back as soon as the war is over.'"

The six boys in their Jungle Paradise eventually went their separate ways, but that was not the case of six others young men from Neshoba County, who all joined the Army on May 14, 1943, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

After leaving Mississippi, the War Department assigned the men to the 483rd Ordnance Evacuation Company. From induction to training to fighting, these soldiers became a family that shared life, war and many difficult experiences in the European Theatre of Operations.

In a letter to the local newspaper in March 1945, the six Neshoba patriots even shared a pen as they told their story. The group, consisting of Samuel Rudolph "Sammy" Bates, Jones Carlisle "Sonny" Brantley, Alcie Odell Fulton, James Dolphin "Jim" Land, Jr., Madison Cook May and Carl Henderson Nowell wrote: "Here's a few words from six Neshoba boys saying we appreciate the Neshoba Democrat beaucoup, which is how the French would say very much. We have been lucky for the six of us to stay in the same company for such a long time.

We have been together since we were inducted [and we] took our training in California and Arizona. We have been overseas since February 1944. We hit France [June 13, 1944] a very few days after D-Day when things were somewhat exciting.

We followed up through Normandy, and while we were still on the beach, Odell was sent to the hospital due to slight wounds resulting in an explosion caused by an enemy mine which exploded when the vehicle in which he was driving ran over the mine.

But he was back with us after a few months in England. He received the Purple Heart for his wounds. We have seen lots of France, Belgium, Holland, and now we are seeing the land of Der Feurher. In France, the people were nice to us - Paris is a nice city, but the war has spoiled much of its glamour.

In Belgium was where we found a home. While we were stationed at a certain town, we found families who took us into their homes and treated us as one of them. Now, whenever we get the chance we always go back there."

When the young men returned to Neshoba County in the last months of 1945, all wore the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign (with three bronze service stars), and the World War II Victory Medal. One of the six, Odell Fulton, also proudly displayed the Purple Heart.

VETERAN MEMORIES

Civil War Veterans

Ross, George W. - Private; enlisted March 1, 1862, at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Company D, 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment; age eighteen; farmer; Muster Roll, March-April 1862: "Sick at Richmond;" admitted with rubeola to Chimborazo Hospital #3 at Richmond, Virginia, May 3, 1862; transferred with erysipelas to the Camp Winder General Hospital at Richmond, May 10, 1862; returned to duty, July 12, 1862.

Admitted with typhoid fever to the Mississippi Soldier's Hospital at Richmond, June 17 to July 3, 1863; hospitalized there again, with chronic diarrhea, July 9 to August 4, 1863; hospitalized at Howard's Grove Hospital at Richmond, June 15 to September 9, 1864; furloughed thereafter for forty days; captured at Hatcher's Run, April 2, 1865; imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland; released at Point Lookout, June 17, 1865; described as five feet five and one-half inches tall, light complexion, brown hair and grey eyes.



World War II Veterans

Brantley, Jones Carlisle - Private to Sergeant; enlisted May 14, 1943, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, in the United States Army; age nineteen; sales clerk; nicknamed "Sonny" or "Bird;" served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Camp Cooke, California, and Yuma, Arizona, to January 1944.

Served also in the European Theatre of Operations as a squad leader with the 483rd Ordnance Evacuation Company, 199th Ordnance Battalion, and the 544th Ordnance (Heavy Maintenance) Company (Field Artillery), March 1944 to November 1945.

Sailed aboard the U.S.S. Empire Arquebus (troop transport), arriving in Greenoch, Scotland, March 9, 1944; participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Omaha Beach, June 13, 1944) and campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. Awarded the Good Conduct Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with three bronze service stars) and the World War II Victory Medal; discharged at Camp Shelby, December 18, 1945; described as five feet eight inches tall, weighing 132 pounds, with brown hair and grey eyes.

Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum

Steven H. Stubbs, Curator

303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;

Tuesday thru Friday