“The enemy laid down very heavy artillery and mortar fire on our positions in the vicinity of Eilendorf, Germany,” wrote the Secretary of War on July 10, 1947, to Mrs. Harrison Cruikshank, mother of St. Paul’s alumnus Dabney M. Cruikshank ‘36. The Secretary was responding to Mrs. Cruikshank’s request to know the precise circumstances of her son’s death in 1944. “Enemy snipers and tanks infiltrated our positions in strong force,” the letter continued. “It was during this engagement the following day that your son was killed as the result of a gunshot wound to the chest received when he attempted to take and hold an enemy pillbox.”
A display case in the Upper School contains the aforementioned letter to his mother and both his Purple Heart and Bronze Star, awarded posthumously. The Dabney M. Cruikshank Award, created in 1955, is given annually to a St. Paul’s student who displays “Outstanding Contribution to School Spirit.”
St. Paul’s has record of fourteen alumni who gave their lives for their country: three in World War I, six in World War II, three in Korea, and two in Vietnam. The names of each are displayed on two marble tablets in the chapel. The 1946 yearbook lists four alumni who died in World War II, in addition to Dabney: Hunter Cole ‘37, Richard C. Donohue ‘43,
Donald M. Hopkins’40 and John Poehlman ‘38. William N. Beale ’37, died in a carrier-landing accident in 1947, piloting an F4U-4 Corsair, and is classified as a war death, according to his son, William A. Beale ’63. The First World War claimed Robert B. Hill,
Maurice M. Hill and James J. Strugnell, while Edward Heath ‘48, Ralph U. Hooper ‘43 and Louis Robertson (class year unknown) died in the Korean War. Vietnam took the lives of Stephen H. Adams ’66 and James R. Hammersla ’61.
On this Memorial Day, we remember these Crusaders who made the supreme sacrifice.