Shirley C. Godsey was born June 4, 1921 in Carlisle, Fayette County, West Virginia to Joseph C. Godsey and Alice O'Boyle. Shirley's life was not easy or care-free from the very beginning. When Shirley was less than one year old, Joseph Godsey deserted his wife and child. Shirley lived in the care of his mother until she married Mr. Emerson Coulter in 1926. After that Shirley lived with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Coulter until his grandmother died when Shirley was just thirteen. He then returned and lived again with his mother until he enlisted in the armed forces.
Shirley was inducted into the United States Army on September 8, 1942 at Huntington, West Virginia. He began active duty on September 22, 1942. On October 21, 1943 Shirley was shipped overseas to Europe to serve with the 557th Quartermaster Railhead Company, where he held the rank of Technician Fifth Grade.
Shirley was killed in action in the English Channel while participating in Exercise Tiger on April 28, 1944. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Shirley C. Godsey's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England, and Shirley's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veteran's Memorial.
West Virginians in Exercise Tiger
Remembering Exercise Tiger
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History