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Harris, Richard

Richard Harris U.S. Army WWII
Richard Harris U.S. Army WWII

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Date of Birth: 1/7/1920
Died On: 3/19/1994 Last Residence: 11969, Southampton, Suffolk, New York
Street Address: Dogwood Lane
Service Number: unknown
Branch of Service: U.S. Army-WWII

Veteran Code: USARMY-276

BIOGRAPHY Extended Information
Richard L. Harris

Richard Lewis Harris was born on January 7, 1920, in New York City, New York, his father, Basil, was 30 and his mother, Mary, was 26. He married Charlotte McDonnell on December 28, 1943, in New York, New York. They had three children during their marriage. He died on March 19, 1994, in Southampton, New York, at the age of 74. He had two brother Robert and Basil Harris. In Rye his family lived on Dogwood Lane and were members of the Church of the Resurrection. Richard served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Richard Harris Made Captain For Gallantry in Action
The capture of a dominating slope o the southeast of Mateur is attributed to a considerable extent to the dauntless leadership of Captain Richard L. Harris, son of Mr. and Mrs. Basil Harris, of Dogwood Lane. It was last Saturday that a company commanded by Captain Harris, then a Lieutenant, took part in an action that resulted in the capture of Hill 523, one of the most heroic exploits of the engagement. Major Robert Cullis, commander of part of the unit, said: "We put in an attack which drew the enemy fire from all around us. There was no cover but the wheat. We tried to send men up to attack the enemys mortar and machine gun positions. They went up by twos and threes, one after the other, and none came back. We tried sending them out singly and one by one they were killed."

Harris's company remained alone. They stayed all day under attack. Finally he was able to get his men away at night. They fought with knives and brass knuckles. The Germans attacked three times in all. Some of the Germans said they had fought in Russia and had arrived at the front only two days before. Harris's men would not have got away if it had not been for Private now Corporal Joseph Krchnavy of Breckenridge, Pa. At the risk of his life he rigged a telephone line from the artillery to Harriss position and Harris was able to direct the fire of the guns to his support. Harris's men have told me how he handled them and stood his ground in that hell.

The Rye man was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain on the spot by the general commanding the sector. Captain Harris is twenty-two and enlisted in the army soon after his graduation two years ago from Georgetown University. He spent one year in training and went overseas in August, 1942, finally being placed in command of a machine gun company. The last time Mr. and Mrs. Harris heard from their son was about a month ago. He wrote that he had just returned from thirty-three days of continuous action and had his shoe and socks off for the first time in that period. It was just then, when he returned to a rest center, that a bottle of after-shave lotion sent by Mr. Harris, caught up with his son. It had been sent to England, where he was stationed some time ago, and then had followed him to North Africa. 'Oh boy, 'Captain Harris wrote. 'Did that feel good on my feet!'


Post Scipt - His father Basil Harris received the Order of Knight of Malta, one of the highest Catholic lay honors from Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Links to this Veterans History

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Richard Harris May 23, 2020
Reviewer: Catherine Harris from prized@comcast.net  
My uncle Richard (Dick) Harris was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his Gallantry in Action that day.

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