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Private First Class Clarence William Caldwell
U. S. Army
Ser. # 38060370

April 15, 1918 -  February 20, 1945
Rochester Cemetery
Rochester, Haskell County, Texas

Gold Star Mother Florence Jackson Wright Caldwell

Additional Documents


Burial flag and purple heart of PFC Caldwell. His sister, Joyce Hawley, passed them down to her son, O. C. Hawley Jr.


Private First Class Clarence William Caldwell, U.S. Army, [April 15, 1918 – February 20, 1945] was born to Victor Mills Caldwell [August 3, 1890 – January 25, 1946] and Florence (Jackson) {Wright} Caldwell [March _, 1886* - January 10, 1932] at Dickens, Dickens County, Texas. His parents were married in 1911.  Clarence and his brother Wesley were living at Matador, Motley County, Texas when he enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 21, 1941 at Lubbock, Lubbock County, Texas.  It is unknown what unit/s he may have served in, but after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, it is known he was assigned to the 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.  The Twelfth Cavalry arrived in Australia on July 26, 1943 and began six months of jungle and amphibious training.  The Regiment’s first assault in the Pacific War came on February 29, 1944 when her soldiers assaulted the Los Negros Islands in the Admiralty Islands, north of New Guinea.  The Twelfth Cavalry was assigned to the Layette-Samar Campaign and helped liberate those islands from Japanese control in spite of stubborn resistance.  Continuing the attack onto the island of Luzon, Regimental history was highlighted on February 3, 1945 when a flying column of Cavalrymen cut a 100 mile path through enemy-held territory to be the “First In Manila”.  Before going to the Philippines, Clarence was given a furlough to go home to visit with his family.  While he was home he expressed a premonition he would not return alive from his deployment. At the time of his death his unit was engaged in the Battle of Manila, which lasted from February 3 to March 3, 1945.  The battle was fought by American and Filipino forces against fanatical Japanese forces, and was part of the Philippines’ 1945 Campaign.  The one month battle, which
culminated in a terrible bloodbath and total devastation of the city, was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater, and ended almost three years of Japanese military occupation in the Philippines (1942 – 1945).  The city’s capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur’s key to victory in the campaign of re-conquest.  The family obtained the following information concerning Clarence’s death from his Commanding Officer, 1st Lieutenant Lydell Leon Barrett**, U.S. Army, 1st Cavalry Division:  “They were patrolling in the jungle area East of Manila.  Clarence volunteered to be a scout for the platoon (4 men were scouts).  The day he was killed he was out ahead of the platoon, on foot, when a Japanese sniper shot him dead.  Of the four scouts that went on reconnaissance, Clarence was the only one killed that day.  The four scouts were on foot walking in the jungle.  Lieutenant Barrett described Clarence as a tall, thin young man with brown hair.  He said he was a quiet man and a loner.”   Clarence had been with Lieutenant Barrett for about three months. He was first interred at the United States Armed Forces Cemetery, Manila # 1, Philippine Islands. After the war Clarence’s family requested his remains be returned to the United States, and in February 1949 he was returned home and buried in the family plot at the Rochester Cemetery, Haskell County, Texas.  Clarence was survived by his father Victor; two sisters:  Mrs. Joyce V. Hawley and Miss Beatrice Caldwell; four brothers: Wesley and Clint Caldwell and John Thomas "Bill" and Juel Wright.


Private First Class Caldwell’s residence when he joined the Army was Matador, Texas.  The Army erred and said it was Matagorda, Texas.  Most likely PFC Caldwell should have been a Haskell County, Texas military casualty.  Even though he did not live in Matagorda County, we are proud to honor him and his sacrifice on our war memorial.


*Mrs. Caldwell’s grave monument gives 1888

**Lt. Barrett married a former member of the Hawley family after the war

Picture above was taken of the city of Manila after the Battle of Manila.




Funeral and reburial services for Clarence W. Caldwell were held Saturday, February 26, at the Rochester Baptist church with Rev. Cecil Meadows, pastor, officiating.


He was born April 15, 1918, and enlisted in the Army January 21, 1941. He served in the South Pacific Theatre of War. He was killed in action February 20, 1945. His home was in Matador but had lived a while in this community.


The American Legion officiated at the burial which was in the Rochester cemetery with E. Hob Smith funeral director in charge.


He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. O. C. Hawley and Miss Beatrice Caldwell, and two brothers, Wesley Caldwell and Jewel [Juel] Wright.


March 1949


Florence Jackson Wright Caldwell


1888 - 1932


Funeral Rites Held For Victor Caldwell


Funeral rites were held Saturday afternoon, January 26th, at 2 o'clock for Mr. Victor Mills Caldwell, who passed away at 12:30 p. m., Jan. 25th, 1946, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. O. C. Hawley, near Rochester, with Rev. J. S. Tierce, pastor of the First Baptist church, in charge, assisted by Rev. C. T. Jackson, pastor of the Methodist church.


Burial was made in the Rochester cemetery under the supervision of Mansell-Smith funeral directors.


Deceased was born in James Town, Okla., [born in Texas]August 3, 1888, making his age at the time of his passing, 57 years, five months and twenty-two days.


In 1916 [1911] Mr. Caldwell was married to Florence Jackson of Oklahoma, who preceded him in death. To this union four children were born.


In 1933 he was married to Edith Davis in East Texas. To this union one child was born.


Mr. Caldwell is survived by two sons and two daughters. The sons are Wesley Harold Caldwell of Rochester, and Clint Norman Caldwell of Jacksboro; the daughters are Beatrice Esther Caldwell of Matador, and Mrs. O. C. Hawley of Rochester.


On February 14, 1945, Clarence William Caldwell, one of the sons, lost his life while serving his country in the First Cavalry Division in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of War. From this shock the father, Victor Caldwell, never fully recovered.


Mr. Caldwell is also survived by one brother, Frank Caldwell of Bowie, Texas; two sisters, Mrs. Thelma Gruner, of Olpe, Kansas, and Mrs. Grace Moody, of Dallas, Texas. Also Mr. Jewel [Juel] Wright of Graham and Mr. Bill Wright of Dickens [stepsons].

Articles and pictures courtesy of Madeline "Maddy" Carol  Hawley Alexander, niece.


Copyright 2006 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Jan. 28, 2006
Aug. 17, 2009