John Williamson was born in New York in 1913. In Rye his family lived at 448 Milton Road and were members of Christ's Church. He had resided in Rye for thirteen years with his brother-in-law and sister, Police Lieut. and Mrs. Robert J. Warren. John had completed two years of college and served as a policeman prior to his enlisting in Jamaica, NY on March 5th, 1941. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II.
John served in the United States Army, 751st Tank Battalion, in North Africa. On January 8, 1943, the 751st Tank Battalion boarded ships and sailed for Oran, Algeria, where they would help reinforce the Allied forces of Operation Torch that had landed in Africa a couple of months earlier. Their first real taste of combat came in early April of 1943, when the battalion, attached to the 34th Infantry Division, attacked the Germans at Fondouk Pass in Tunisia. But the Germans were not to be easily moved. The fighting was tough. The battalion lost several of their M-3 Grant tanks.
The M3 was well armed and armored for the period, but due to design flaws was withdrawn from front line duty as soon as the M4 Sherman became available. during this battle 751st Tank Battalion and the 34th Division suffered heavy casualties as the Germans fended off their initial advances. On 4/10/1943 the 2nd assault was a combined British and American assault that would force the Germans from the high ground and open the pass to allied forces. The opening of the pass would lead to the expulsion of German forces from Tunisia and out of Africa in May 1943.
Second Lieutenant John Williamson
was killed on 4/10/1943 during the second assault at Fondouk Pass(page 16), Tunisia and awarded the Purple Heart.
In a letter received by the family from General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, stated: "It is with deep regret that I have learned of the death of your son in North Africa. I realize that there is little that can be said to alleviate your grief. John E. Williamson served with honor in the United States Army and he died in the best traditions of the service, To men like your son, who have died so that the American way of life may continue, the nation owes an everlasting debt of gratitude."
★ World War II Victory Medal★ Purple Heart★ American Campaign Medal★ Army Presidential Unit Citation★ Army Good Conduct Medal★ European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Lieut. John Williamson Praises United States Army
Lieutenant John Williamson has only good things to say about the U. S. Army. The tanks being made for combat service are far superior to any now in use by the enemy, the equipment for the army is coming through fast and the men have no cause for complaint. Lieut. Williamson told the Rye Lions Club yesterday at its luncheon in the Y. M. C. A. Entering the army 14 months ago, as a volunteer, Lieut. Williamson progressed from private through the non commission ranks until finally commissioned as a graduate from the Armored Force Officer Candidaies School at Fort Knox, Ky. Lieut. Williamson accompanied Police Chief Howard B. Searles under whom he served as a patrolman before joining the army. The Lions will hold a joint meeting with the Kiwanis Club at the Y. M. C. A. , Monday night.
Friday, April 17, 1942 THE RYE CHRONICLE PAGE NINE
Lieut. John Williamson Killed In Action in North Africa
Members of the Rye Police Department are wearing purple over their uniform badges and the entrance to headquarters is draped in black in mourning for their fellow member, Second Lieutenant John Williamson, the first Rye policeman to enlist in the Army, who was killed in action in North Africa on April 10. His father, Roderick G. Williamson, Sr. , of White Plains, was notified by the War Department, Saturday afternoon. The Common Council expressed its sorrow over the loss of Lieut. Williamson at its meeting, Wednesday night, and suitable resolutions will be prepared for the record and his family by Councilman Julian B. Beaty, police committee chairman. Choosing one of the most dangerous branches of the service, Lieut. Williamson was assigned to the Second Armored Division soon after he enlisted as a private on March 4, 1941. His keen intelligence and wholesome personality which had endeared him to so many in Rye soon gained him recognition and he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Within a year he was sent to the officers training school at Fort Knox, Ky. , and in three months was commissioned. When last home on leave, he looked every inch the soldier he was and spoke confidently of a final victory, declaring the American tanks were vastly superior to anything the enemy could produce. Before going overseas, he was stationed at Fort Jackson, S. C, for a short time. He first went to England, where he remained until his unit was sent to North Africa in December. Lieut. Williamson joined the Rye Police Department on May 8, 1937. Faithful in the performance of his duty and one of the most likeable men in the department, he became immensely popular, both among his fellow members and scores of friends throughout Rye. When he volunteered for military service, he was president of the Rye Police Association. Born in Croton, N. Y. , on January 27, 1913, Lieut. Williamson had resided in Rye for thirteen years with his brother-in-law and sister, Police Lieut, and Mrs. Robert J. Warren, 448 Milton Road. He had attended Croton elementary school, Irvington High School and New York University for two years. Besides his parents and sister, he is survived by a brother, Roderick G. Williamson, Jr. , of White Plains.
RYE, NEW YORK, FRIDAY, MAY 7, 1943
Memorial Service for Lt. Williamson
A memorial service in honor of Lieut. John E. Williamson, , Rye patrolman who was killed in action on April 10 in North Africa, took place on Sun day afternoon at Christs Church, with the Rev. Charles K. Ackerman delivering the eulogy. The service, instigated by the Rye Police Department, was attended by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roderick G. Williamson of White Plains, relatives, uniformed policemen and firemen, Rye City officials and close friends. Reverend Wendell Phillips of Christs Church and Rev. Dr. John D. Gregory of the Rye Presbyterian Church lead the prayers. The Rev. Mr. Ackerman spoke highly of Lieut. Williamsons character. He read a letter received by the family from General Marshall, Chief of Staff, which said: It is with deep regret that I have learned of the death of your son in North Africa. I realize that there is little that can be said to alleviate your grief. John E. Williamson served with honor in the United States Army and he died in the best traditions of the service, To men like your son, who have died so that the American way of life may continue, the nation owes an everlasting debt of gratitude.
Friday, May 21, 1943 THE RYE CHRONICLE PAGE NINE
Review by Francis Harrigan on Jun 11, 2013
I remember John Williamson as a member of the Rye Police Department - John was
usually stationed in front of the Five and Ten helping to direct traffic and aiding
people crossing Purchase Street. . . . a fine fellow with a smile for everyone. .