Captain Mayo William Albert was born on May 14, 1914 in Galveston, Texas, to father, William Frederich Albert, and mother, Elizabeth Watson. The family was living in Galveston at the time while William worked as a pharmacist in a drug store. By 1920, the family had moved to Houston with the newest addition to the family, Mayo’s only sister, Virginia.
William Frederich Albert was born on April 26, 1881 in Oakland, Texas. He met Elizabeth, born on August 31, 1888, in Colorado County, Texas, and the two were married on July 21, 1913. William was trained in pharmaceuticals and by 1940 was the manager of his own drug store, employing pharmacists of his own. While William worked to improve his practice, Elizabeth remained home with the children.
Mayo led a very academic lifestyle, following in his father’s medical interests. He graduated San Jacinto High School in Houston and went on to Rice University, where he was a medical student. After graduation, he moved to Dayton, Ohio to work at the St. Elizabeth Hospital. It was here he registered for the World War II draft. No enlistment paperwork can be found for Mayo, however, the application for his headstone lists his enlistment date as June 26, 1941. He was assigned to the 147th Engineer Combat Battalion Medical Detachment.
The 147th was one of several battalions engaged in the Battle of Normandy, also called Operation Overlord, on June 6, 1944. The battalion was a part of the Omaha Beach invasion, specifically the Dog Green sector of the beach. It was the last regiment to be detached that morning as a part of the first wave and part of the second phase of engineer operations positioned on Omaha Beach.
As a part of an Engineer Combat Battalion, Captain Albert was a part of a smaller detachment in which he would have been the sole medical personnel. ECBs entered the battlefield in small groups with one, or sometimes zero, medical detachment personnel assigned to them. Medical detachments in this particular battle were engaged with providing emergency medical services and attempting to evacuate the injured as best they could. This was the task set before Captain Albert as he arrived on the beach that morning.
The Dog beach sectors of Omaha Beach were the most strongly fortified sectors of Omaha Beach and as a result, all battalions suffered severe casualties. One of the 147th landing vessels was hit with artillery off the beach, causing 45 casualties alone and the remaining engineers to abandon the vessel and wade through the water to the beach.
It is not clear if Captain Albert was one of these 45 casualties, however, it is known that he was one of many killed in action on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Mayo William Albert was survived by both parents, William and Elizabeth, and his sister, Virginia. He was returned home to Houston, Texas, where he was buried at the Forest Park Cemetery in 1948.
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). 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 smartphone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.