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Lieutenant Hal B. Duncan

Source: Burnet Bulletin Microfilm

Duncan, Hal B., Lieutenant

from the Burnet Bulletin, 7 September 1944


Mrs. Hal Duncan was notified by the War Department last Saturday that her husband, Lieutenant Hal B. Duncan, was killed in action in France on June 16th, 1944. A previous notification, on July 26th, stated he was missing in action.

Lieut. Duncan was born in Burnet, and this was his home practically all his life. He was the eldest son of Mr. Harris B. Duncan, deceased, and Mrs. Duncan. He is survived by his wife and little son, his mother, two sisters, Mrs. Jimsey Husted, who is with her husband, Lieut. Chester Husted in an army camp in North Carolina, Mrs. June Trussell of Corpus Christi, and one brother, Donald Duncan of Burnet.

Hal was in the army long before Pearl Harbor, and because of his age, with thousands of others, he had been returned to civilian life previous to this country's entrance into the war. Shortly after war was declared by Congress, he was recalled into the army. Hal attended an officers' training school and was commissioned a Lieutenant. He was sent overseas, to England, only a few weeks before the invasion of France was started, and was probably among the first contingents to go across. He was a replacement officer, which means that when an officer is killed or disabled in battle, his place is filled by men reserved for that purpose. Perhaps there are few more dangerous assignments than replacement officers.

Hal had many friends in this section and elsewhere who were deeply grieved when they learned of his death. Their hearts bled in sympathy for the wife and mother, little son, sisters and brother. HIs departure seems like a personal loss to the editor of this paper, because of his close association for so long with Bill Chamberlain. Since they were little boys together, their friendship has been of that close nature which neither time nor circumstances could change. Shortly before word came that Hal was missing in action, Bill, who was in England, found out that Hal was in that country and wrote home that he was going to visit him the first opportunity he had--that outside of his own immediate family he would rather see Hal Duncan than any person in the world. Althought they were both in France when Hal's life was ended, and probably only a few miles apart, Bill knew nothing of it until word was received from home, and then he could gain no further information. After Bill had been sent overseas, when Hal came home on furloughs, he would visit the Bulletin office and talk with us about the past and speculate as to the future. I do not think in all the visits he made home that he ever failed to also come in to our residence and converse with Mrs. C. and me for a half hour. We knew that his strong friendship for Bill was the main prompting factor in his nice consideration of us, and this made it all the more appreciated.

Hal possessed a splendid intellect and was always interesting and entertaining. I wish there was something I could say that might lessen the heartache and grief of the wife and mother, and other relatives, but only time can heal such wounds and then only partially. They will never cease to grieve for Hal, who died heroically on the battlefield of France. ---L.C.C.


from the Burnet Bulletin, 28 September 1944

Poem-Dedicated to the Loved Ones of Lieutenant Hal B. Duncan.

(The following Poem is lovingly dedicated to the bereaved mother, wife, and loved ones of Lt. Hal Duncan.)


There is No Death

Death is not death when we once understand it
It is but a new LIFE which has just begun--
A release from all bondage which in Earth Life held us
A new chance to win with our face toward the sun.

Like a cocoon housing the humble silk-worm
Merging forth into a beautiful Butterfly
Just so with Hal, whom you miss from your fireside,
You do not see him, yet, he did not die.

He joyously stepped through that flimsy partition,
So happy and free with a smile on his face
Eager to greet those who had gone on before him
Who were joyously awaiting his loving embrace.

Our loved-ones are ever busy and happy,
Learning the ways of Spirit we are told
So we must be willing to bless and release them,
As they need this freedom to develop their Soul.

I too lost a son (my one and only)
In grief I held him in a grip like a vice,
I did not then know his Soul craved its freedom,
I did not then understand this continuance of life.

Since I have released him, I feel his dear presence,
I see him in flowers, in sunshine, in rain
And oft in the Silence, he seems to tell me
That he has gained new heights since I'm happy again.

(By Mrs. Josephine Cauley), Dallas, Texas




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