Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Corporal John Whitten, US Army (1915 - 1945)

Corporal John ('Jack') Whitten (1915 - 1945)
Killed in action in N.W. Europe
Photograph: Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News' 

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Some biographical details

Corporal John ('Jack') Whitten, United States Army (1915 - 1945) was a naturalised American who was killed in action in N.W. Europe on 5 March 1945. Jack Whitten was born in the village of Arlecdon, Cumberland (now Cumbria). He was the son of Harry Whitten and Margaret Whitten (née Burns). The family emigrated to the United States in 1922.

Corporal John (Jack) Whitten (US Army) is commemorated on the St Joseph’s RC Parish War Memorial, Frizington. He is also commemorated in the Borough of Whitehaven WW2 ‘Book of Remembrance. Frizington and Whitehaven are all situated in West Cumberland, England (UK).

The reason that a US serviceman is commemorated in West Cumberland (now Cumbria) is because he was born at Arlecdon a relatively small village near Frizington and Whitehaven. Yet Corporal Whitten is not commemorated on the Arlecdon Parish War Memorial which is situated in the village churchyard. Presumably this is because firstly the memorial is situated in a Church of England churchyard and secondly because his family had left the area some years before WW2. Whatever the reason, Jack Whitten has been missed off the Arlecdon WW2 ‘Roll of Honour’.

Corporal Jack Whitten (Service No 39677197) was killed in action in Germany on 5 March 1945 and first buried near where he fell. At the time of his death he was 29 years old.

As with many American casualties of WW2 the body of Jack Whitten was repatriated to the USA and was reburied in his present grave at Fort Douglas, Utah on 26 October 1947 following a Requiem High Mass for the repose of his soul. Jack Whitten was the son of Harry and Margaret Whitten of Utah, USA.

The Whitten family had emigrated from Arlecdon to Bingham, Utah in 1922, sailing on 22 October of that year from Liverpool to New York aboard the SS Scythia. Jack Whitten became a naturalised American at Salt Lake City, Utah on 13 March 1940. At that time he was working as an assistant undertaker. Jack Whitten enlisted to the US Army on 4 August 1941 (before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbour precipitating America’s entry into the war).

In the Whitehaven WW2 ‘Book of Remembrance’ Jack Whitten is listed as living at Church Lane, Hensingham, Whitehaven. This was where his uncle, aunt and other relatives lived and one presumes where he may have spent some time with them while on leave in the UK. According to his obituary in 'The Whitehaven News' (April 1945) Jack Whitten had also spent some time time staying with relatives at Arlecdon in 1944, before going over to the Continent.

It is fitting that the sacrifice of Corporal Jack Whitten, and that of his family, should be commemorated in the country of his birth (the UK) as well as in his adopted homeland (the USA). After all, life and death, war and peace have no boundaries.

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Dedication and family tributes

This article is dedicated to Corporal John ('Jack') Whitten, 39677197, United States Army.

May he rest in peace.

In April 1945, when news of Jack Whitten's death was made public, the following 'Family Notices' were placed in 'The Whitehaven News' (a local West Cumbrian weekly newspaper) by some of his relatives:

(a) Thursday 19 April 1945


Whitten -
Treasured memories of our dear Jack, killed March 1945, in Germany.
So dearly loved.
Auntie Belle, Uncle Tom and cousins, Church Lane, Hensingham".
* * * * * *
(b) Thursday 26 April 1945


Whitten -
Loving memories of our dear Jackie, killed in Germany, March 1945.

A soldier's grave in an unknown land,
Holds one we love so dear,
A smiling face that won't come home,
When they sound the last all clear.

Always in the thoughts of Father and Mother Wood, 12 Parks Road, Arlecdon".


Cumbria County Archives & Local History Centre
(Whitehaven Records Office)

The Whitehaven News

Mr Stuart Nicholson,
Archivist for the Parish of Whitehaven (Church of England)
[For most of the details about Cpl Jack Whitten].

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012  

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