14 Mar 1924 1
12 Aug 2007 1

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Full Name:
Paul K Shannon 1
14 Mar 1924 1
12 Aug 2007 1
Last Residence: New Albany, MS 1
Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (PE) 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-5582 1

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Dr. Paul K. Shannon NEW ALBANY - Dr. Paul K. Shannon, 83, died Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007, at Baptist Memorial Hospital- Union County. He was born March 14,1924, in Mathiston to the late Robert L.Shannon and Jennie King Shannon. He was a long time resident of New Albany having served the community as an optometrist for 40 years. He served his Lord, his country, his state and his county in many capacities. He gave his service to the Lord at Cleveland Street Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for over 50 years as a deacon, elder and clerk of session. He was also president of the ARP Foundation, a member of the Board of Erskine College and the Dunlap Orphanage Board in Rosemark, Tenn., as well as serving as a Presbytery Delegate. He was instrumental in founding the Union County Airport and North Haven Water System, was a longtime member of the New Albany City School Board and served as president and as a member of the Mississippi School Board Association, now known as the State Board of Education. He was also a 60 year member of the Lions Club, Joseph Warren Lodge No. 71, New Albany; 32nd Degree Scottish Rite, York Rite Mason, Shriner and member of the Eastern Star. An active member of the Republican Party, he was honored in Nov. 2006, by the Union County Republican Club with a ceremony recognizing his years of service. He was also honored with the placement of a brick at the Republican Party Headquarters in Jackson. A member of the "Greatest Generation", he served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II as a Technician with the 563rd Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (Tanks) in the European Theater. He continued to attend reunions with his service buddies until declining health no longer allowed him to go. When the Korean War began in 1951, he was asked to help organize a National Guard Unit in New Albany. Later he continued to serve with the Guard at Battalion Headquarters until his retirement in 1970, with the rank of Major. Services will be at 1 p.m.Tuesday at the Cleveland Street ARP Church with Bro.Tom Sumrall and Elder Roger Browning officiating. The eulogy will be given by Bob Craig. Burial will be in the New Albany City Cemetery. United Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements. Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Martha Thurmond Shannon, whom he married Aug. 14, 1944; two sons, Paul Hampton Shannon of Flowood and John T. Shannon and wife, Christy, of New Albany; four grandchildren, Dr. Paul Jason Shannon of Brandon, Amy Emerson and husband, Aaron, of Maitland, Fla., Ben Shannon and Leah Shannon, both of New Albany. He was preceded in death by four sisters, Ruby Lucas, Hermie Pierce, Ophella Arnold and Mary Gruner; and four brothers, Franklin, Robert, John and William Shannon. Pallbearers will be J.L. Ledbetter, David Coleman, Vance Witt, Tony M. Brooks, Dr. James R. Bryson, Rickey Henry and Roger McMillin Jr. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. David Ellis, Dr. James Thornton, Dr. Thomas Barkley, Dr. Thomas Shands, Kenneth Morton and members of theAmerican Legion. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a church or organization of the donor's choice.

A life saving minute

Esneux, Belgian

Paul Shannon was a member of this unit. He was about to board the truck fro Christmas Dinner, but the truck was filled. He was told to catch the next truck. He would have been on the truck and died as did the others, except for being a muinute too slow.

He was my uncle.


Tragic Christmas for the 563rd Ordnance Maintenance Company        

Written by Jean NINANE     

Sunday, 07 January 2001  

Tragic Christmas for the 563rd Ordnance Maintenance CompanyAfter its liberation on 7 September 1944, the Belgian village of Esneux, situated on the Ourthe River south of Liege, was home to numerous soldiers. In the village, the Raze factory, specializing in agricultural equipment, was requisitioned by the 563rd Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company. On 14 September 1944, they opened a tank repair and maintenance facility. 


Their headquarters and mess were setup on a hill overlooking the river in the village school. Every morning, the American technicians (as well as the Esneux civilians whom they had hired) went down about two kilometers to the Raze factory, which was situated, on a strand between the Ourthe River and a disaffected canal. There were two access routes to the factory, one road following the river for heavy vehicles, and a path (formerly used by horses to draw barges) following the canal. 


The Americans had been there for several months when on 16 December 1944, the Battle of the Bulge broke out. The Americans and their Belgian hosts lived in a double fear: the return of the nazi troops and the fall of V-1 bombs. Winter had also arrived and the canal was frozen over. 


On 24 December, Midnight Mass was sung by the American troops; the hymns alternating with the sinister noise of the V-1 bombs.


The next morning, while the other GI's were still celebrating Christmas with the local residents, the American technicians of the 563rd went down to work, as heavy equipment at the nearby front was severely lacking. 


After work, sixteen Americans boarded a canvas-covered truck for the return trip to their barracks. The driver, instead of taking the road along the river, started down the path bordering the canal. 


The crowd on the other side of the canal, mesmerized, watched the truck slowly advance. A few more yards and it would make it to the bridge across the sluice. But catastrophe struck… the path gave way and the truck overturned into a icy water, trapping it's occupants under the truck. Other GI's in the crowd, despite the cold, dove in to try to save their comrades, but in vain. The cold and the water has done it work quickly, and soon, a dozen corpses were laid out in a nearby cafe. (The Kursaal) 


Fifty-six years have passed, and the people of Esneux have erected a small memorial to the memory of these twelve Americans who died tragically on a Christmas day so that others could enjoy liberty.

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