Service Number: 379240
Birth and Early Life:
William James was born around the year 1913. He was the oldest son of farm laborers Willie and Isis James of Denison, Texas.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
James enlisted in March, 1942, and attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego where he qualified as a sharpshooter. He was assigned to Company M, Third Battalion, 2nd Marines.
Private James and his company trained for combat in tropical conditions, and left the United States in mid-1942 for the invasion of the Solomon Islands. Their transport came to a stop off the tiny island of Gavutu, where they were held in reserve during the initial landings on August 7, 1942.
Date Of Loss:
The day after the first landings on Gavutu, 3/2 was told to stand by – they would be going in to mop up Gavutu, and then on to assault Tanambogo, a nearby islet that was home to an enemy seaplane base.
Private James was killed on one of these small islands; he and Privates William H. Pollock and Merlyn L. Thompson may have been the victims of an errant American dive-bomber who caused several casualties before air support could be called off. (1)
Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Willie James
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1). “Company K moved up the hill to relieve parachute battalion elements in positions there. At 1330 Company K had just accomplished its mission when as SBD pilot dropped a bomb within company positions on the northwest nose of the hill. Three men were killed and nine wounded. Eight of the casualties were men of the supporting platoon of Company M.” Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal: History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, Volume I