Merlyn L. Thompson

NAME
Merlyn Lyle Thompson
NICKNAME
MCSN
328785
HOME OF RECORD
Dexter, IA
NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Dora L. “Zella” Thompson
DATE OF BIRTH
January 20, 1922
DATE OF ENLISTMENT
December 15, 1941
DATE OF LOSS
August 8, 1942
REGION
Solomons
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Gavutu / Hill 148
CASUALTY TYPE
MIA / Declared Dead
August 9, 1942
UNIT
M/3/2nd Marines
DUTY
Machine Gunner
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Private Thompson’s 4th Platoon of M/3/2 landed on Gavutu, British Solomon Islands, at 1025 on 8 August, 1942. This platoon, attached to K/3/2, participated in mopping up operations in the vicinity of Hill 148.
At 1330, as 3/2 relieved a unit of Paramarines atop the hill, they were mistakenly attacked by an American SBD pilot. The bomb struck K Company positions on the northwest nose of the hill, wounding nine and obliterating Privates Thompson, William James, and William Pollock.
The three privates were listed as Missing In Action, and declared dead on 9 August 1943.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
Private
STATUS OF REMAINS
“Missing as result of aerial bomb his position.
Body not recovered.”
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

Biography:
Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.


Articles and Records:

Composite of excerpts from the August, 1942 muster roll of M/3/2nd Marines.

Merlyn Thompson left behind an infant daughter, Donna, whom he never met. Nearly a decade after his death, the Iowa WWII Service Compensation commission faced the knotty question of whether Donna or Dora was Merlyn’s beneficiary.

Photo Gallery:
Coming soon.

2 thoughts on “Merlyn L. Thompson

    1. Thanks very much for sharing, John. I recently got a copy of “The Leathernecks Come Through” by Lt. W. Wyeth Willard of the 2nd Marines. Chaplain Willard was tasked with creating the Gavutu cemetery with a team of volunteers, some of whom “fainted because of the heat or the sight of the bloody and stiffened bodies of their friends.” Considering the size of the task at hand – and that he had no trained help, or previous experience in creating a military cemetery – he did quite a remarkable job. (He was also involved in recording burials at Tarawa; the “Willard List” in his diary is at times more accurate than the official records.)

      He also has some very vivid descriptions of the battle itself, and of daily life during the long Guadalcanal campaign. Highly recommended read if you can find a copy.

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