54 War Correspondents K.I.A. WWII
A Gripping Account of War Journalism 1940-1945 by Doral Chenoweth


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THE GOVERNMENT FILE

NOTE: This is a reproduction of the original list that served as a basis for this volume.

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WAR DEPARTMENT

Bureau of Public Relations

LIAISON BRANCH

 

28 January 1946

Following is a list of war correspondents who were killed by enemy action or died from natural or accidental causes during the time they were accredited as news correspondents with American Army forces in active theaters of operations. This list was compiled from information furnished by the various theaters concerned.

Click on a name to take you to their page.


NAME MEDIA THEATER NOTES
Andrew, John J. United Press India-Burma Missing on B-29 strike
5 Nov 44
Barnes, Ralph NY Herald Tribune European Died in bomber crash in Yugoslavia
Bellaire, Robert Colliers SWPA Died of injuries in Jeep accident in Japan
30 Sept 1945
Bush, Ashael Associated Press SWPABattle casualty in Jap bombing of Tacloban
26 Oct 44
Byam-Borstalens, Guy BBC European Battle casualty
3 Feb 45
Cashman, John R. INS SWPA Killed in plane crash at Okinawa
31 July 45
Crockett, Harry Associated Press Mediterranean Killed on torpedoed British Vessel
5 Feb 43
Chickering, William Time, Inc. SWPA Battle casualty
6 Jan 45
Cuhel, Frank J. Mutual Broadcasting SWPA Killed in Clipper crash at Lisbon
21 Feb. 43
Clapper, Raymond Scripps-Howard SWPA (Navy) Killed in plane crash at Kwajalein
5 Feb 44
Darnton, Byron NY Times SWPA Battle casualty off New Guinea
18 Oct 42
Dick, Harold Australian D. of I. SWPA Non battle
20 July 43
Elliott, John Australian Broad. Co. SWPA 3 July 1945
Faust, Frederick (Max Brand) Harpers Magazine Mediterranean Battle casualty Lower Gorigliano, Italy
12 May 44
Fisher, Tom Australian War Photog. SWPA Killed N. Guinea
1 Oct 42
Frankish, John F. United Press European Battle casualty
23 Dec 44
Fyfe, Ian H. London Daily Mirror European Battle casualty
6 June 1944
Gunn, Stanley Ft. Worth Star-Telegram SWPA Battle casualty
29 Oct 44
Hancock, D. Witt Associated Press SWPA Sea battle casualty off Sumatra
7 March 42
Irvin, George B. Associated Press European Battle casualty near Point Herbert, France
25 July 44
Jacoby, Melville Time, Inc. SWPA Non battle killed in accident in Australia
20 Apr 42
Janiaux, Rene Le People (Belgium) European Battle casualty
6 Apr 45
Kulick, Harold Popular Science European Non battle killed in air crash England
10 Aug 44
Labaudt, Lucien Life India-Burma Killed plane crash Assam, India
12 Dec 43
Lardner, David New Yorker European Battle casualty Jeep hit mine near Aachen
19 Oct 44
Lawless, Peter London Daily Telegraph European Battle casualty
10 Mar 45
Lewis, Robert E. American Red Cross SWPA Non battle killed in aircraft crash Port Moresby
26 Nov 43
Madru, Gaston MGM News of Day European Battle casualty
26 Aug 44
Makin, W.J. Kelmsley Newspapers European Battle casualty
26 Aug 44
Miller, Webb United Press European Killed in fall from train in London blackout
May 1940
Morton, Joseph Associated Press Mediterranean Battle casualty (executed)
26 Jan 45
Painton, Fred Reader's Digest SWPA Died of heart attack
1 Apr 45
Palmer, Keith Australian News Service SWPA Killed covering Empress Augusta landing
7 Nov 43
Parer, Damien Paramount News SWPA Killed in Peleliu
6 Jul 44
Percy, Harry United Press Mediterranean Died of malaria in Cairo
20 Apr 42
Poague, Harry American Red Cross SWPA Non battle air crash in Port Moresby
26 Nov 43
Post, R.B. N.Y. Times European Missing bomber raid over Germany
26 Feb 43
Prist, Frank Acme SWPA Battle casualty killed by sniper on Leyte
12 Nov 44
Pyle, Ernest T. Scripps-Howard SWPA Battle casualty killed on Ie Shima
18 Apr 45
Rayner, Pendil Brisbane Telegram SWPA Non battle plane crash in New Guinea
27 Dec 44
Rippon, W.E. Petersborough Advocate European Battle casualty
17 Mar 45
Robertson, Ben N.Y. Herald Tribune European Killed in Clipper crash in Lisbon
21 Feb 45
Shenkel, William Newsweek India-Burma Missing on B-29 strike since
16 June 44
Smith, William Australian D. of I. SWPA 3 July 45
Singer, Jack INS SWPA (Navy) Killed aboard USS Wasp
15 Sept 42
Stringer, William Reuters European 17 Aug 44
Taves, Brydon United Press European Non battle plane crash in New Guinea
27 Dec 43
Terry, John B. Chicago Daily News SWPA Battle casualty
Thorpe, A.A. London Exchange Telegraph European Battle casualty
11 Jun 44
Thusgaard, Carl Acme SWPA Battle casualty in New Guinea
20 July 43
Treanor, Tom NBC-Los Angeles Times European Battle casualty-tank ran over his Jeep in combat area
19 Aug 44

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Following are events and circumstances relating to the three accredited correspondents who died upon returning to the United States.


Ben Miller of the Baltimore Sun; Harold Denny of TheNew York Times; and Laurence (Larry) Meier of InternationalNews Service.

Of the 54 war correspondents listed above, 51 died on or neartheir combat theaters of operation. Three on the accreditationlist died in the continental United States.

BEN MILLER, a military affairs reporter forthe Baltimore Sun, received War Department clearance foroverseas duty. To prepare for his mission, Miller scheduled atrip across the United States with the intention of sending back"home town" stories about Maryland servicemen. He neverleft the States. He died on May 18, 1942 in an airplane crash inKansas.

HAROLD DENNY of The New York Times paidheavily for his long service overseas. He died of a heart attackon July 3, 1945 in New York after returning from an extended tourin the European Theater of Operations. Denny was taken prisonerby the Germans and placed in isolated custody in a concentrationcamp. There his health deteriorated. He was freed in a prisonerexchange involving civilians.

Denny made major contributions to the on-going war story inthe early days of Adolf Hitler. In May, 1940 he was assigned tocover the War Office in London. He was there when Norway wasfalling to the Germans. In his routine story file on May 1, 1940,Denny reminded America of the old British maxim--"Englandloses every battle, except the last one."

Denny's stories on May 11 of that dark year reported theinvasion of the low countries by Germany. But he noted that"effective opposition would be brought by the Allies"and that victory was just a matter of time. His analysis told ofNazi plans for the establishment of air bases in the Netherlandsto be used as jumping off spots for raids on England.

On May 14, Denny filed his first copy from the field. He waswith the British army in Belgium noting "the situation isgrave, but not hopeless." He was on the losing side asGermany took the offensive.

On May 16, The New York Times had an exclusivecomminique from Denny. He wrote about British and Germany unitsbeing heavily engaged throughout the low countries. He visitedthe front at Louvain in Belgium, then under heavy bombardmentfrom both ground artillery and Nazi dive bombers. The Germanswere bombing cities and straifing British units at the same time.At this point, America was getting its first taste of what was tobecome known as the"German blits"--the fast-movingmechanized combination of ground arms and aircraft. Denny saidthe British counterattacks were weak, but did manage to slow theGermans. With the aid of a Panzer tank division, the invadingGermans took the city at night.

In the next seven days, it was over for the British. Unitswere pulled back across the Channel. Some made it to France andothers to Dunkirk.

America was not in the war at this time. But Denny's storieswere telling and brutal. He managed to make London where hewrote:

(May 23, 1940)
"And thus today, for the first time since Napoleon sat on acliff overlooking that same Boulogne and reluctantly decided notto attempt to cross the Channel, Great Britain tonight faces thespecter of invasion." Winston Churchill gave Commons theblackest of news. He said German armed forces were beginning toreach the Channel area. Denny was in Commons as Churchill spoke.

One of Denny's final stories came on May 28, 1940. He wrote ofthe desperate situation facing the British in Flanders, but theycontinued to fight. He said morale was unbroken, that only oneseaport or escape route back to England remained: Dunkirk. Eventhat would be closed shortly by the Germans. One otheralternative remained-surrender to the Germans.

Harold Denny became a prisoner of the Germans. He spent longdays and months marching across Germany from one Stalag toanother. When he was repatriated, he arrived on the scene in timeto cover the closing days of the war and the total reverse of thefates. He was printed in The New York Times of October22, 1994 with a battlefield dateline from Aachen, Germany.

It must have been a major personal victory for this man towrite the following dispatch:

(October 22, 1944)
AACHEN, GERMANY-The American flag went up today in Aachen-AlliedMilitary Government began rule in the first large German city tobe conquered by our arms. The government had little realbusiness to do, today, however, once they had set up shop. Therewere no local customers. Aachen is shattered and beyonddescription. One encountered not more than a dozen civilians allday, poking in the ruins of their houses or offices and no morethan 100 inhabitants can still be here.

The first problem of our military government in Aachen is toget the water supply restored, then the electrical and seweragesystems. Army engineers will clear the streets of debris whereneeded for our own traffic. The telephone system will be restoredfor our own use-the Germans had forbidden Aachen to use thetelephone, telegraph, radio, post or any other form ofcommunications lest they be employed in our spying.

-30-

Harold Denny's war was one of the longest for a reporter. Hecame home with victory. He died six months later.

LAURENCE (LARRY) MEIER was anotherparticipant in coverage of early fighting. Meier went overseasfor International News Service. He was on the European front whenthe United States entered hostilities. In the dark days betweenHarold Denny's coverage of the fall of Allied efforts in Europeand the morale-boosting raid on Dieppe by British commandotroops, Meier was a front line reporter.

The Allies were badly in need of a military boost. LikeGeneral Jimmy Doolittle's classic B-25 raid on Japan early in thePacific war, the British planned and executed a major punchtoward Hitler's legions. The plan was to send a fast-strikingoutfit onto French turf. Although billed as an Allied strike, itwas totally British in planning with only a sprinkling of FreeFrench troopers in the unit.

Faces were blackened against glare of enemy rockets.Highly-trained killers hit the coastline near Dieppe the night ofAugust 19, 1942. The American press was represented by a singlereporter. He was selected from a pool on a draw. Meier went inwith the early troops, but was hit in the head by gunfire. It wasthe end of Meier's war. He died many years later in his SanFrancisco home. An attending physician said he succumbed toafter-effects of the head wound he had suffered at Dieppe.

Regardless of the brevity of their field careers, Miller,Denny and Meier were major contributors to the beginning of amajor war.




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