john j. verret

john j. verret

World War II · US Army · Captain

Captain John Joseph Verret [Rev. Chaplain SSE] 507th PIR

    Captain Verret was born on 7 Jul 1912 in Burlington, Vermont and was one of 6 children of Alexander J Verret 1881 from Lorette, PQ, CAN. - 1954 Burlington, VT] a grocery store proprietor and the son of Anna Matilde Gravel [1874 Beauport, PQ, CAN. - 1949 Burlington, VT]. His parents were married on 30 Jun 1903 at St Joseph Church, Burlington, VT by Rev. Jerome Marie Cloarec. John’s parents were faithful parishioners of St Joseph church and all of their children were baptized there.

    The 1920/1930 US Census for Burlington shows John residing at 324 St Paul St with his parents and brothers Cyril, Omer and Albert and sisters Elizabeth and Vivian.

    On 8 Sep 1926 John Verret joined the Society of St Edmund [SSE] at Swanton, VT where he then graduated from St Anne’s Academy in 1930. Entering St Michael’s College, Colchester VT in September of 1930 he entered the novitiate of the society two years later and then following a year of study as a novice returned to St Michael’s which awarded him a degree in 1935. After attending the seminary in Putney, VT for 3 years and after completing his theology studies at Swanton, VT in 1939, he was ordained.

    On 18 Jun 1939 he was ordained to the priesthood at the Burlington Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and he said his 1st High Mass at St Joseph church about the 26th of June.

    The 1940 US Census for Swanton, Vermont shows John residing in a home with fellow seminary students. John is a graduate student and is teaching at a Catholic high-school.

    The 1940 directory for Burlington, VT shows John as a professor at St Michael's College.

    On Sunday 22 Sep 1940 Rev. John J. Verret left St Michael’s College to do graduate work in preaching at the Catholic University, Washington, DC.

    Capt Verret enlisted on 16 Oct 1940 or (17 Jun 1942 on the headstone application) at Baltimore, MD. The record states John was 5'8' and 195lbs with brown hair and blue eyes and was single and a Reverend at the Society of St. Edmund studying at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

    He entered the armed services in June of 1942, 6 months after Pearl Harbor was attacked, as a chaplain and reported for duty at Fort Adams, RI at a Coast Artillery Unit.

    In the 20 Jan 1943 Burlington Free Press, LT. John J. Verret SSE, chaplain in the 507th Infantry is on leave in Burlington, VT.

    In the 10 Mar 1943 Burlington Free Press, Rev. John J. Verret promoted to Captain on the 1st of March at Fort Benning, GA.

    In the 21 May 1943 Burlington Free Press, Captain John J. Verret now on leave in Burlington, VT.

    He was a chaplain at Fort Benning where he received his wings as a full-fledged paratrooper.

    During Operation Neptune (D-Day), June 6th, 1944 Capt Verret parachuted from his C-47 Troop Transport plane with Tail#43-15158, Chalk#1, #11 drop order. [information courtesy of Sandra Smith 507th PIR in WWII Memorial page]

    Captain John J. Verret, age 32, was killed in action 7 months later on January 8th, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 507th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) 82nd Airborne & 17th Airborne . The action took place at CAKE HILL ( Hill 450) in Chisogne, Belgium, just 9 miles west of Bastogne.

    Capt Verret was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Silver Star, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, WW2 Victory Medal, WW2 Honorable Service Lapel Button, Parachute Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge/Bronze Star [sans V], Presidential Distinguished Unit Emblem. [information courtesy of Sandra Smith 507th PIR in WWII Memorial page]

    On 15 Jul 1949 his body was returned to Burlington, VT. A solemn High Military Mass was celebrated at 9am on Saturday at the St Michael's College Chapel.

    Capt Verret is interred in the St Edmunds plot at St Mary's Nativity Cemetery Swanton, Vermont

    23 Dec 2019 ceremony - Verret dog tags found - Photos "Chappie" article


    This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.