Home History How We Reunited a WWII ID Bracelet With Its Owner’s Family

How We Reunited a WWII ID Bracelet With Its Owner’s Family

by Enochadmin

Because of some sleuthing by a person who’s a funeral director and a World Warfare II subscriber, a wartime-era bracelet has discovered its method house. 

The journey started when Henry Kliman of Plano, Texas, determined to filter some keepsakes, together with a couple of that had belonged to his late father-in-law, Paul Balkin, an infantryman in Europe throughout the warfare. Amongst them was a bracelet inscribed with the title “Benedict G. W.” and a Freemason image.

Kliman turned to World Warfare II journal for assist, and Josh Schick, a curator on the Nationwide WWII Museum in New Orleans and a contributor to the journal’s “From the Footlocker” column, took it from there. Finding out a roster within the museum’s assortment and a genealogical web site, Schick discovered {that a} man named Paul Balkin served in Firm M, 141st Infantry Regiment, thirty sixth Infantry Division, energetic in France and Germany beginning in August 1944. 

Subsequent Schick began on the lookout for “Benedict G. W.” The search was made simpler as a result of Benedict’s service quantity is etched on the bracelet. Utilizing the identical ancestry web site, the curator acquired into the U.S. Navy’s muster rolls—quarterly accounts of the place sailors had been stationed, on ship or shore—and located {that a} G. W. Benedict had served as a Seabee with the twenty first Naval Building Battalion within the Aleutians and, later, on the Pacific island of Tinian. Then, looking out the “Discover a Grave” web site, Schick situated the grave of a G. W. Benedict in Duncan, Oklahoma, about 80 miles south of Oklahoma Metropolis; the gravestone provided one other promising clue—a Freemason image that matched the one on the bracelet. 

After the journal revealed these findings within the October 2021 problem, reader Babe Grissom, a funeral director in Kissimmee, Florida, took up the hunt. Grissom says veterans of the burial enterprise are used to tracing the whereabouts of the lifeless. “Being funeral administrators—we all know who to name,” he stated. “We simply maintain checking and getting a clue right here or there.” After contacting the cemetery in Oklahoma, Grissom confirmed the id of the person buried there and located his son, Bene “Lynn” Benedict, dwelling in Alto, Michigan. 

Lynn Benedict stated he was instructing a category at Muskegon Group School when the workplace referred to as and stated a funeral director was on the road. Listening to that his father’s bracelet had re-emerged after eight a long time was “like hitting me throughout the aspect of the top,” he stated. It’s nonetheless not clear how a bracelet belonging to a navy Seabee who served within the Pacific wound up alongside the belongings of a military infantryman who served in Europe, although Lynn Benedict did clear up one element: the “G” in “G. W.” didn’t stand for Gould, because the journal’s piece stated, however “Golden,” as in “Golden Willis”—a reputation he says his father by no means preferred. The errant title got here from inaccurate info on a Naval Historical past and Heritage Command web site.

G. W. Benedict, who labored earlier than and after the warfare in manufacturing for the oil companies firm Halliburton and died in 1982, by no means talked a lot in regards to the warfare—although he did take pleasure in reunions along with his fellow Seabees. “They had been strong as a rock,” Benedict stated. “It was a brotherhood.”

World Warfare II subsequent put Benedict in contact with Kliman, who mailed him the bracelet in Could. “You cry at first,” Benedict stated. “To know my dad had it, and he wore it. It’s household. It’s historical past. It’s your dad.” 

this text first appeared in world warfare II journal

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