Sgt. Edward Theodore French
Sgt. Edward Theodore French was the
son of Clifton French & Mary Alice Smith-French. He was born in Boyle
County, Kentucky on August 16, 1917. Like his father, Edward was a farmer outside
Harrodsburg before the war. He was the brother of Sgt.
Edward joined the Kentucky National Guard in Harrodsburg and was called to Federal duty on November 25, 1940. After 10 months of training at Fort Knox, KY, he was sent home due to a pre-existing medical condition. In fact, the Army doctors tried to get Edward to take a medical discharge and he refused. As a result of his medical condition, he did not participate in the 1941 Louisiana maneuvers with the rest of D Company.
the men of D Company traveled back to Kentucky for a 14-day leave prior
to shipping out to California, Edward traveled to Camp Polk, Louisiana,
and waited for his brother and the other men in D Company to return.
When Morgan and the others returned to Louisiana to supervise the
loading of their equipment onto railroad cars, Edward was there and
traveled to San Francisco with Morgan and the others.
Edward and the
other men of D Company sailed for the Philippine Islands, landing at
Manila on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. He survived the initial Japanese
attack on December 8, 1941. During early-1942, Edward was assigned to
the 192nd Battalion Headquarter Company's Maintenance
unit. Edward and Morgan saw each other for the last time in
early-April 1942, only a few days before the surrender of Bataan. Morgan
recalled that Edward had been injured by shrapnel from Japanese bombing.
Edward was in a field hospital on Bataan recovering from his injuries.
In an attempt to prevent the American guns on Corregidor and Ft. Drum
from firing on their artillery, the Japanese placed their guns among the
buildings of the 2nd General Hospital on Bataan. When a shell
fired from Ft. Drum fell short and hit the hospital, Edward, along with
24 other soldiers, was killed. His date of death was listed as April 22, 1942, as a result of “friendly fire." He was 24 years
old at the time of his death.
Pvt. Edward T. French is buried at the American Military Cemetery in Manila. Edward was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries received during combat. Since his company was attached to the 194th Tank Battalion, his cross indicates he was a member of the battalion. In reality, D Company was under the command of the 192nd Tank Battalion.