Ernest W. Allen was my uncle. He grew up in rural Shelby County, Texas and his family farmed for a living. They grew up during the depression and were very poor. Ernest worked for a time in the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). In 1941 Ernest and my father were working construction in Shreveport Louisana and on Sunday December 7th 1941 they went to the movies and when they came out of the movie they learned about Pearl Harbor.
Ernest enlisted on Febuary 10, 1942. My father told me how the last time he saw his brother was when he was leaving to catch the bus to Camp Wolters where he trained before being assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 35th Regiment, 25th Division in Hawaii. Ernest was assigned to the Schofield Barracks.
After December 7, 1941 the 25th Infantry Division moved to beach positions for the defense of Honolulu and Ewa Point. Following intensive training, the 25th began moving to Guadalcanal on November 25,1942. The first troops landed near the Tenaru River, December 17, 1942, and entered combat on January 10, 1943. After the fall of Guadalcanal the 35th Infantry Regiment worked on maintaining the security of Guadalcanal. The 25th Division spent the spring and summer training and recuperating from the Battle of Guadalcanal.
On August 15, 1943 the 24th Division landed at Vella LaVella Island. They set up defense perimeters and were looking for pockets of enemy soldiers. On September 4, 1943 Ernest W. Allen was killed in action.
Below is an article in the Champion Newspaper of Center, Texas about Ernest being awarded the Silver Star and the circumstances of his death.
U.S. Army Headquarters In the South Pacific – By the direction of the President, the Silver Star was awarded posthumously, on January 11, 1944, by Lt. General Millard T. Harmon, Commanding United States Forces in the South Pacific area to Ernest Allen, United States Army, for gallantry in action at Vella LaVella, Solomon Islands, on September 4th 1943.
Pfc. Allen had been awarded on October 13, 1943, the decoration of the Purple Heart for Military Merit and for Wounds Received in Action resulting in his death on September 4, 1943. Both posthumous decorations were sent to his parents in Center.
While acting as a point for a patrol which had penetrated the Japanese outposts, Private Allen aggressively killed two of the enemy and assisted I killing a third with a quick and accurate fire. One of the casualties was an officer who carried a map completely revealing the hostile defense positions. Through its use our forces were enabled to expediciously reduce enemy resistance.
In subsequentaction Private Allen was killed instantly by Japanese machine gun fire. By his courage, devotion to duty and at the sacrifice of his life, this soldier contributed inestimably to the successful culmination of the operation.
Pfc. Allen, 27, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Allen, Center. He entered the service in February of 1942 and had, at the time of his death, been overseas for 19 month. He has 3 brothers in the service, one of who has just returned from overseas.
Thankfully his brothers returned home from the war safely and went on to have families.
I never met my Uncle Ernest but because of him my parents met and fell in love. In September 1943 my grandmother and my father went to town so they could purchase some hard candy for Ernest for Christmas. At the time they did not know he had been killed in action.The woman that sold them the candy was my mother. After my father took his mother home he came back to store any asked my mother for a date and she said yes. At them time my father was in the Army Air Corp and was stationed in Liberal, Kansas. He was on a three day leave and spent the whole time with my mother. He wrote her a letter every day. One day he wrote that he would have leave in June 1944 and wanted to get married and that is exactly what happened.