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Alison Wright Adkins
1923-1945

"Wherever there is a grain of loyalty there is a glimpse of freedom."

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Army Private First Class Alison Wright Adkins was born in Cabell County, West Virginia, on August 3, 1923, the son of Homer and Zona Childers Adkins of Branchland, Lincoln County. The West Virginia Marriages Index, 1785-1971, shows that eighteen-year-old Zona married twenty-five-year-old Homer in Huntington on July 7, 1921. What happened to Zona between the birth of Alison and 1930 is unclear; the 1930 Federal Census does not show her in Homer’s household, nor is she mentioned in the Wayne County News death notice of Alison on March 30, 1945.

Pfc. Adkins enlisted in the Army at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky, on March 16, 1943. At that time he stated he had two years of high school, was a farm hand, and was single, but with dependents. (During World War II, enlistees often claimed a parent or other children in the family as their dependents.) Records in the National Archives indicate that he may have been an automobile serviceman. Alison was assigned to the 253rd Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division.

Pfc. Alison Adkins was reported killed in action in Germany on January 3, 1945. A day-by-day account of the war includes the following synopsis of the action in Europe on the date of Pfc. Adkins’ death:

On the Western Front... In the Ardennes there are German attacks on the narrow corridor leading to Bastogne which succeed in disrupting the timetable of the planned American attacks but fail to achieve any advance. Forces of the US 3rd Army and US 1st Army are attacking toward Houffalize from the south and the north, respectively. In Alsace, the German attacks and the American retreat continue. The US 6th Corps (part of US 7th Army) is being pressed particularly hard in the area around Bitche. Farther south, there is also fighting near Strasbourg.

“British land on Akyab. . . On the Western Front,” Chronology of World War II
(http://www.onwar.com/chrono/1945/jan45/f03jan45.htm, retrieved Oct 19, 2011)

Alison W. Adkins was buried in Plot B, Row 44, Grave 12 in the Epinal American Cemetery in Epinal, France. For his service, Pfc. Adkins was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
Epinal American Cemetery
Tablets of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery, France.
Courtesy American Battle Monuments Commission

Article contributed by Patricia Richards McClure.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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