Private Melvin Dewey Cross

Pvt Melvin Cross

World War II

US Army
Company A, 81st Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division
Service Number: 37337948
Born: August 30, 1922 in Yuma County
Inducted: November 25, 1942
Killed in action September 1, 1944 at Noyon, France.
Buried: Cope Cemetery

Purple Heart

Son of Edward W. and Margaret Wasson Cross of Cope.


Cope Cemetery
Cope Cemetery


Thursday September 28, 1944 The Akron News-Reporter

County Boy Is Killed in Action in France

Notification of their son, Melvin D. Cross, was killed in action in France was received by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Cross on Sunday, September 24.

The following is the text of the telegram received from the war department:

"The secretary of war desires me to express his deepest sorrow that your son, Melvin D. Cross was killed in action on Sept. 1, in France. Letter will follow.

(Signed) Adj. Gen. J.A. Ulio"

Melvin was 22 years old and entered the service on November 11, 1942.

His parents reside southeast of Akron and a brother, Harold is a mail carrier out of Akron.


Thursday March 31, 1949 The Akron News-Reporter

The remains of Pvt. Melvin D. Cross, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Cross of the High Prairie community, arrived in Akron Sunday, March 27, 1949. Melvin lived with his parents in the High Prairie community where he graduated from high school with the class of 1941. Military services will be held in Cope, Sunday afternoon, April 3, with military burial in the Cope Cemetery.

Pvt. Melvin Dewey Cross. son of Margaret A. and Edward Willis Cross, was born in Yuma County, Colorado, August 30, 1922, and was killed in action at Noyon, France, September 1, 1944 at the age of 22 years and 1 day.

He spent his entire Life in Washington County, where he attended school and grew to manhood, until he was called to serve his country November 25, 1942. He was assigned to Company A, 81st Tank Battalion, immediately after entering service and took his basic training at Camp Cooke, California. He later went on the Tennessee maneuvers for advanced training. He also took advanced training at Pine Camp, New York, and Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania, and departed for overseas duty from New York in February, 1944.

He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, European Theatre of Operation Ribbon, Submachine Gun Sharpshooter Badge and Pistol Marksman Badge.

He leaves to mourn his passing, his mother, Margaret; father, Edward; three brothers, Kenneth, Harold and Raymond, all of Akron; one sister, Evelyn Jones of Rago. A sister, Nellie, preceded him in death at the age of three months. He also leaves a host of friends and relatives.


Thursday March 31, 1949 The Otis Independent

The remains of Pvt. Melvin D. Cross, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Cross of the High Prairie community, arrived in Akron Sunday, February 27, 1949. Melvin was killed in action at Noyon, France, on September 1, 1944. He lived with his parents in the High Prairie community until he was called to the service in November, 1942. He graduated from the High Prairie High School with the class of 1941. He left for overseas duty in February, 1944 and served as a machine gunner with Co. A., 81st Tank Battalion. He landed in England and later departed for action in France. Military services will be held in Cope Sunday, April 3, 1949.

Pvt. Melvin Dewey Cross, son of Margaret A. and Edward Willis Cross, was born in Yuma County, Colorado, August 30, 1922, and was killed in action at Noyon, France, September 1, 1944 at the age of 22 years and 1 day.

He spent his entire life in Washington County, where he attended school and grew to manhood, until he was called to serve his country November 25, 1942. He was assigned to Company A., 81st Tank Battalion immediately after entering service and took his basic training at Camp Cook, California. He later went on the Tennessee Maneuvers for advanced training. He also took advanced training at Pine Camp, New York, and Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania and departed for overseas duty from New York in February, 1944.

He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, European Theater of Operation Ribbon, Submachine Gun Sharpshooter Badge, and Pistol Marksman Badge.


August 28, 2003 Akron News-Reporter

The French Do Remember.
Noyon Marks 59th Anniversary of Liberation on 1 September.

By: Lee Zion

        Over the past year we have seen a lot of articles published bashing the French for failing to support our global political positions. The common thread has always been, "Why don't they remember what we did for them in 1918 and 1944?"

        In fact the French remember quite well. Monday, while we are celebrating Labor Day, the small French city of Noyon will mark the 59th anniversary of the day they were freed, after 1547 days of Nazi occupation, by elements of the U.S. First Army. Repeating a ceremony held every year on the first day of September, the city fathers will lay a wreath at the base of a crossroads monument erected in 1947.

        Noyon is located about 67 miles north of Paris on the Oise River and is just a bit bigger than Sterling with a population of 15,000. Noyon was founded in 51 B.C. when Julius Caesar's Roman Legions were tromping around Gaul. Noyon's main claim to modern fame is the town's 12th century "Gothic Cross" cathedral and the fact that John Calvin was born there in 1509. The U.S. 1st Infantry Division spent quite a bit of time in the area in 1918.

        In the early days of World War II, Noyon was overrun by the German army on June 7, 1940, three days after the fall of Dunkirk and three days before the Nazi occupation of Paris. That marked the start of a four year occupation lasting into the late summer of 1944.

        The spring and summer of 1944 was probably hard to endure for the citizens of Noyon. June 6th brought news of the Allied D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches and then little happened until August 1st when the breakout from Normandy started. By August 16th the Allied armies had reached the Seine River and were less than 75 miles away from Noyon. Then came another pause interrupted by the fall of Paris on the 25th.

        On August 31st, the 147th German Infantry Division retreated into the Noyon area to reorganize. The next day, townsfolk who lived along the road leading from Compiegne watched and cheered as the lead elements of the U.S. First Army entered the town in the face of light German resistance.

        In the point position of the U.S. column that first day of September was an armored vehicle that belonged to Company A, 81st Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division. When the lead platoon reached the crossroads marking the center of Noyon, a German infantry squad, fighting a delaying action, fired a Panzer Faust anti-tank rocket, disabling the point vehicle and killing three of its crew.

        At this point you may be asking, "Why should I care what happened in Noyon in 1944?" I will answer that by pointing out that the machine gunner assigned to the armored vehicle crew was one of our boys, Private Melvin Dewey Cross, a 1941 graduate of High Prairie high school, the son of Edward W. and Margaret (Wasson) Cross, and the brother of Mrs. Evelyn Jones. Melvin joined the army in November 1942 and was killed in action at that Noyon crossroad just one day after his 22nd birthday.

        The other members of the crew killed in the same action were Privates Alan Reed and Everett Bee, hometowns unknown to me. A Free French Army officer, Captain Jean Torris, who was riding in the point vehicle to guide the column, was also killed.

        The simple monument the city of Noyon erected at the crossroads in 1947 provides the date and lists the names of the four soldiers who gave their lives to free the town. I learned the details about the Noyon monument from a French historian, Eloi Delbecque, who contacted me seeking information on the American soldiers for an article he was writing for publication in the September issue of a Noyon historical society newsletter.

        The Noyon ceremony is but one of the many which have occurred this summer starting on the Normandy beaches and spreading across France as each city, town and crossroads village marks the anniversary of the day 59 years ago when the Allied army came into their town.


Credits

Melvin Cross photograph donated by Evelyn M. Jones.
Cope Cemetery headstone photograph by Arlene Glenn.


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