D-Day Memorial – June 6, 2019


More than 10 cousins in the extended Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor clan took part in the D-Day invasion of France on June 6, 1944 and in following days. One was a nurse in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps. Two were brothers. One was captured and held as a POW. One died of his wounds. One was shot down and killed 4 days later.

We seek on this page to identify their names and honor their memory on a permanent page on the Minerd.com website so they will not be forgotten and so that more names can be added in the future when additional research is done.

Lorraine (McKnight) Barrows – family of Frank Trevor McKnight of Fayette County, PA – joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps (WAAC) and shipped overseas to England. Her first assignment was in a telephone switchboard operation in six underground floors of the Selfridges department store in London, working with a team of operators for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s London headquarters. She was part of the D-Day invasion and among 36 women who landed on Utah Beach. After arriving in Normandy, France, she and her fellow WAACs slept in tents for three weeks.

George DeLong – family of Mary Jane (Pring) McCollough of Shawnee, OK – landed in France on D-day plus eight. Was one of the first Americans to enter Cherbourg where more than 6,000 Germans were held as prisoners of war.

Blair Eugene King – family of Bertha (Ream) Conn of Confluence, PA – served with the 325th Glider Infantry as part of the 82nd Airborne Division, and took part in the D-Day invasion.

Howard Philip Lepley – family of Elizabeth (Sturtz) Comp of Buffalo Mills, PA – crew member of the B-24 bomber “Little Sheppard,”of the 714th Bomber Squadron, 448th Bomber Group, shot down over Evreux, France on June 10, 1944, just four days after D-Day. Howard and four other crewmen were killed in the action. His body was recovered and buried in Europe.

Charles William McClain – family of Margaret (Hoye) McClain of Smithfield, PA – “was wounded shortly after the first outfit of paratroopers landed in Normandy,” said a newspaper. “Returning to England, young McClain recovered in a base hospital and returned to duty. Several weeks later he was fatally wounded in the leg.” He succumbed to his wounds on Oct. 6, 1944, in Holland. His remains were not returned home for five years.

Glenn Ellsworth McKnight – family of William Stewart McKnight of Dawson, PA – was part of the Army’s assault at Omaha Beach, and later saw action at the Battle of the Bulge. Was wounded and received the Purple Heart medal.

Thomas Minerd – family of Thomas Minerd of Smithfield, PA – was a member of the 79th Infantry Division of Patch’s Seventh Army, a unit commended “for making the fastest progress (1800 yards in 72 hours) of any infantry division in warfare,” said a newspaper. “Also awarded a citation for their skill near Strasbourg, the unit was the first to cross the Seine River and the Belgium border. First stationed in England, he participated in the D-Day invasion and fought in the battle for Cherbourg. Moving on across France, he fought in several battles under General Patton.”

William Byron Minerd – family of Thomas Minerd of Smithfield, PA – was shipped overseas in February 1942 and “spent seven months at secret bases,” said a newspaper. “He later spent 19 months in Belgium Congo, Africa, after which he was sent to England until D-Day, when he participated in the invasion.”

Donald Leroy Plants – family of Ollie Margaret (Miner) Plants of Ashtabula, OH – was an “amphibious engineer” involved in the landing at Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured as a prisoner of war. Guest speaker at our 1998 national family reunion.

Charles E. Shipley – family of Mary Todd (Jennings) Shipley of Ohiopyle, PA – was a member of the 4th Signal Company, 4th Infantry Division and took part in the invasion at Normandy and in liberating Paris, for which he earned a French Jubilee of Liberty Medal.

Minor Fay White – family of Charles Minor White of Wichita, KS – “served as engineer-pilot of the C-47 veteran, ‘Nina Mae,’ which was the lead plane on a number of important missions for paratroop-drops in the European theater,” including at Normandy, France on D-Day in June 1944, said the Wichita Eagle. He also took part part in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. Killed in a crash of a C-124 airplane during the Korean War.

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