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James Dewey Carroll
Randolph County West Virginia:
A Pictorial and Documentary Sampler

West Virginia Veterans Memorial


James Dewey Carroll

"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few."

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

James Dewey Carroll was born on August 23, 1920, to George and Eva Carroll of La Vale, Maryland. According to the 1930 Federal Census, Mr. Carroll was then a merchant for a grocery store. The family moved to Elkins, Randolph County, West Virginia, from La Vale in 1932 when Mr. Carroll became an agent for the Standard Oil Company. ("Lt. Carroll Is Officially Reported Killed in Action," Elkins Inter-Mountain, 24 September 1945.)

James, who was known as "Dewey," had a brother, Donald Lee Carroll, and a sister, Mary Margaret Carroll. He attended Elkins High School, and, according to excerpts from the school's yearbooks and from death notices, he was an accomplished musician who participated in the orchestra and band and was chosen to play with the national high school band in St. Louis, Missouri.
James Dewey Carroll's senior picture as it appeared in the <i>Tiger</i> [Elkins High School Yearbook], 1938

James Dewey Carroll's senior picture as it appeared in the Tiger [Elkins High School Yearbook], 1938

After high school graduation, he attended Davis and Elkins College as a pre-med student. He was a member of Chi Omicron Delta, a fraternity for which he served as secretary and a member of Chi Beta Phi, a national scientific fraternity. He played with the college orchestra. He was a junior at Davis and Elkins when he was called to service.

Dewey Carroll enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve in July 1942 at Wheeling and was in active service on February 26, 1943. He graduated from the Army Air Force (AAF) advanced flying school in Stuttgart, Arkansas, on February 23, 1944. He received his commission as a second lieutenant and his wings as a pilot in the AAF. He attended college training at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. According to the Centre College website, Centre College was turned over to the Army's 20th College Training Detachment in May 1943. ("World War II Veterans Share History with Students in 'Centre College Goes to War,'" Centre College, 16 February 2016, accessed 2 December 2019, James Carroll attended pre-flight training at Mississippi Institute of Aeronautics at Jackson, Mississippi, and Walnut Bridge, Arkansas.

Dewey Carroll was placed with the 390th Bomb Group, 569th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force as the co-pilot of a B-17. Before deployment overseas, he married Dorothy Slaymaker of Elkins. They married on May 26, 1944, and James Dewey Carroll was called for overseas duty in England in September of 1944. The missions, which were flights into Germany on bombing runs, were dangerous. Lt. Carroll received his first Purple Heart for injuries received in the line of duty on January 9, 1945. Research did not reveal the circumstances.

However, the next month, on February 14, 1945, Lt. Carroll's plane was hit by flak, broke in half, and fell to the earth in pieces near Panrod, Germany, as the crew returned from a bombing mission to Chemnitz. The circumstances of this event were documented in an Air Force Missing Air Crew Report (MACR). Lt. Carroll was first reported as missing, but the death was confirmed by two members of the crew who managed to bail out. On March 25, 1946, one of the surviving crew, Staff Sergeant Weldon, wrote to the Chief to the Notification Section to verify that he'd spent a month of his 60-day furlough visiting all of the families of the crew who perished to explain to them what happened. "You will find each family prepared to be notified that these men were killed in action," he wrote. It was more than a year after Lt. Carroll died, perhaps because it appears from the MACR that the two who bailed out were captured. Those who died in the crash were buried on February 17, 1945, in a Kettenback Cemetery, in Germany.

Headstone for Lt. James D. Carroll, Maplewood Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Headstone for Lt. James D. Carroll, Maplewood Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

According to the Piedmont Herald ("Lt. Dewey Carroll," 26 January 1949), James Dewey Carroll's remains were returned to the states, and he was buried in Maplewood Cemetery at Elkins. The article noted that his widow, Dorothy Carroll, had only recently returned from duty with the American Military Attach Office in Yugoslavia.

Lt. Carroll was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
December 2019


James Dewey Carroll

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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