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John H. Mathews

16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division

Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Florida

Died:

6/6/1944

Grave Location:

Plot H, Row 19, Grave 8

Lt. Col. John Hubert Mathews was born in the small lumber town of Cass, W.Va. He graduated from West Point in 1931.  Before his departure for service in World War II, Mathews was stationed at Fort Devens, Texas and resided there with his wife and daughter.  

The Mathews family c. 1940.
The Mathews family at their home in Texas, c. 1940. Mathews snaps a photo of his daughter.

Prior to D-Day, the “Big Red One” had already seen a lot of action. The division had landed in North Africa in November 1942, fighting its way east through the Tunisian Campaign. The 1stthen took part in the amphibious landings at Gela, Sicily in July 1943. The fighting in Sicily was hard and Mathews earned both a Distinguished Service Cross and a Silver Star for his actions in Troina, where his regiment battled for the town. On D-Day, the 16thInfantry, 1stInfantry Division was one of the first waves to land on Omaha Beach. He was hit by enemy machine gun fire in the landing before reaching the shore. Mathews was the highest-ranking 1stDivision officer killed on D-Day. He was 36 years old.

Mathews' daughter, Barbara, and his wife, Dolores, look at a photo of Mathews after his death.
One of Mathews' daughters, Marianne, stands with her father‚ ôs headstone at Normandy.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Distinguished Service Cross

John H. Mathews is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot H, Row 19, Grave 8.