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Carl Edward Tatterson

Fairmont Times

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

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Carl Edward Tatterson
1912-1944

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

Winston Churchill

Army Private First Class Carl E. Tatterson was born June 25, 1912, in Union, Marion County, West Virginia, to Clyde C. Tatterson and Rosa P. Tatterson. Clyde was born around 1888 or 1889 and worked as a farmer. Carl was the oldest member of his family, which included one brother, Wilbur, and eight sisters: Mildred, Emma, Pauline, Alma, Mary, Olive, Lucy, Sarah, and Helen (Information taken from 1920, 1930, and 1940 Federal Census records). At one point during World War II, the Tatterson family had two sons and four sons-in-law serving in the U.S. Army. They would suffer the loss of three: son Carl E. and son-in-law Pvt. Charles W. Reynolds. Their son-in-law, Private John E. West, was seriously wounded and later died of his wounds. (Source: “Three Casualties in Tatterson Family,” Fairmont Times, October 31, 1944: 5.)

Carl grew up in Marion County, West Virginia. House Concurrent Resolution Number 4, enacted 2011, which names a bridge after him, indicates he grew up in Walnut Grove, while another source states his family home was at 766 Owens Avenue in Union. (Source: “Tatterson Injured in French Assault,” Fairmont Times, 19 Aug. 1944.) U.S. Army World War II Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 indicate that Carl received a grammar school education.

Like his father, Carl worked as a farmer or farm hand for most of his youth; the Fairmont Times article indicates that he was employed at Domestic Coke prior to entering the service. Tatterson married Letha Shuck, who was one year younger than he, in 1936. Carl and Letha never had any children.

After enlisting in the military, Tatterson received his basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina, and his advanced training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was assigned to Company B of the 116th Infantry, which entered service with the rest of the 29th Infantry Division. Carl’s division participated in the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach. (Source: National World War II Memorial, “World War II Honoree Carl E. Tatterson,” accessed May 17, 2014, http://www.wwiimemorial.com.) Carl’s brother, Wilbur, served in the same infantry division, but he served inside the United States.

After the Normandy landings, Tatterson’s division mobilized to capture the city of St. Lo. (Source: “29th Division Living History,” accessed May 18, 2014, http://www.29thdivision.com/history.html.) According to articles in the Fairmont Times (October 31, 1944; November 17, 1944), several weeks later, on July 30, 1944, Carl was seriously wounded in action in France. He was then reported missing on September 30. Most sources, including his parents’ application for a headstone to be placed in Mt. Zion Cemetery, indicate a death date of October 20. However, a posting on the National World War II Memorial site [source of post unknown] states he was captured during the Normandy campaign and died as a prisoner on the Stalag 7A at Mooseburg, Germany, on November 20, 1944. (Source: National World War II Memorial, “World War II Honoree Carl E. Tatterson,” accessed May 17, 2014, http://www.wwiimemorial.com.) All accounts concur that he was wounded, captured, and died in a prison camp.

Pfc. Carl E. Tatterson’s body was brought back to his family, and in 1949 he was buried at the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Marion County, West Virginia.
headstone application

The Tatterson family’s application for a headstone at Mt. Zion Cemetery. Source: Ancestry.com, U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database online]; digital image of original document at National Archives and Records Administration.

Pfc. Carl E. Tatterson was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Prisoner of War Medal; in addition, in 2011, the West Virginia legislature named a bridge in Marion County, West Virginia, on County Route 310 in honor of his service along with that of Pfc. Joseph W. Sell Jr.

Article prepared by Ahmad Haffar and Matt Lord.

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Carl Tatterson

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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