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Robert Gray Clatworthy Jr.

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Robert Gray Clatworthy Jr.
1930-1952

Robert Gray Clatworthy was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on August 27, 1930, the eldest child of Robert and Sarah Nugent Clatworthy, Sr.

His brother, Ed, recalls that “Bobby” grew up during the Depression years at a time when no one had any medical insurance. He had to have glasses while in primary school and also underwent surgery to correct a kidney problem. In 1939 an incident occurred that became a family story. When Bobby received a new bicycle for his 9th birthday, his grandfather, who was in his sixties at the time, wanted to show that he could ride, but he crashed Bobby’s new bike because he didn’t know how to apply the coaster brake.

Bobby joined the Boy Scouts when he was 11 and continued scouting until age 15, achieving the rank of Life Scout. During World War II, he worked on such projects as gathering waste paper and scrap aluminum, and he also bought war stamps. He bought his first car, a ’37 Ford at age 16. Bobby completely disassembled the engine and transmission, then reassembled them. His brother notes that Bobby had two reverses the first time.
Clatworthy Boy Scout card
Robert Clatworthy Boy Scout card

High School picture
Robert Clatworthy Senior Class picture
In 1947, at age 17, he got a part time job at an airfield, where he gassed the planes and helped start them by propping the engines. Bobby became a pilot and flew solo, getting his private license. In 1948 he graduated from St. Joseph High School and then attended Marshall College for two semesters.

In 1949 jobs were difficult to find and Bobby worked at odd jobs. He was a mechanic’s helper at a neighborhood garage, and he worked at a bicycle shop repairing small engines on motor bikes and power lawnmowers. In 1950, Bobby and two of his friends built a stock race car intended for racing on a dirt track. He did the mechanic work and reworked the engine after each race. The group won enough money to keep the car racing. Bobby’s first big break occurred when he went to work for the C&O Railroad as a Mechanic Trainee.
Clatworthy group
L-R: Boyd Dunn, Barbara Barbour, Robert Clatworthy, Betty White, Jim Barbour, Easter 1947

In 1951 the Korean War was raging and all young men had to serve, notes his brother. The 6’3’’ Bobby was turned down for flight because of the 6’ height limit. Prior to receiving his draft notice in the late summer of 1951, he enlisted in the United States Army in order to apply for OCS but was prevented due to poor eyesight. That qualified him for “limited service,” which meant he would not have to go to the front lines. Because he felt he should do his part, Bobby did not apply for this.

Robert Gray Clatworthy entered the army in October of 1951 and received his basic training at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. He sailed for Korea in June of 1952 and served as a member of the Ninth Infantry, Company M. On August 20, he was in Chosen area where he received wounds which resulted in his death. The body of Private Robert G. Clatworthy was returned to the United States and interred in Woodmere Cemetery.

Source: Ed Clatworthy, brother

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