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Remembering World War II
Walker Copeland Robertson
Name: Walker Copeland Robertson Rank: Private 1st Class Service Number: 31139492 Service: India-China Division, Air Transport Command, USAAF Date of Birth: January 1, 1919 Place of Birth: Piedmont, Barneys River, Pictou Co., NS Date of Enlistment: July 16, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Address at Enlistment: Suffolk Co., Mass. Age at Enlistment: 23 Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Complexion: Medium Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown Occupation: Repairman Marital Status: Single Date of Death: September 24, 1944 Age: 25 Cemetery: Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri, US Grave: Section 82, Site 33 Walker Copeland Robertson was born New Years Day in 1919, the son of Alexander Howard Robertson (1871- 1926) and Annie E Copeland McDonald (1880-1967). His father was born in Piedmont, Pictou Co.; his mother – in Lower Barney’s River/Merigomish, Pictou Co., NS. Walker had a brother Ivan Howard Robertson (1917- 1988). His parents married August 22, 1916, in Lower Barney’s River. Walker’s father died when he was 6, and he immigrated to the US with his family when he was 8, arriving in the US August 15, 1927, on the steamship Calvin Austin from St. John, New Brunswick to Boston, Mass. By 1930, his mother is a lodger living at 43 Mount Vernon St in Boston, working as an attendant at an institution. Walk er and Ivan were living in Reading, Mass., possibly with relatives. (Jean Wallace at 54 Curtis St in Reading is 1 of the 2 witnesses who signed Annie’s Petition for Citizenship.) By April of 1940, Walker was living with his older brother Ivan, Ivan’s wife Beverley G, and Ivan’s son, Ivan Jr. who was just 1 year old, on Huntington Ave in Boston. Walker had completed 4 years of high school. He registered for the US Draft October 16, 1940 at 30 Huntington Ave. (Room 213) in Boston, Mass. At 21, his employment is listed as a ‘Commercial Refrigerating Co (partner in his own business)’. His brother was working at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Portsmouth, NH. Then in 1941, he was living at 54A Gainsborough in Boston and working as a serviceman. After enlistment in WWII, he was assigned to the India-China Division of the Air Transport Command of the United States Army Air Force. The Air Transport Command (ATC) was given the responsibilities of ferrying aircraft within the US and to destinations outside the US, operation and maintenance of facilities on air routes outside the US, and the transportation of personnel, cargo, and mail. By the end of the war, ATC had established air routes all over the world, some in places aircraft had never been. By July 1945 ATC had carried 275,000 passengers and 100,000 tons of mail and cargo. Private Walker served as the Radio Operator on the C-87 Liberator Express aircraft #44-39203, based at Jorhat Airfield in Assam, India. His aircraft crashed into a mountain between 3,000-4,000 feet elevation on September 24, 1944. On November 4, 1944, a search party located the wreck in the hills on the Dufflaghur Tea Estate, about two miles from the village of Teipu, in North-East India. The impact of the Army transport into the mountainside caused a landslide which partially covered what remained of the airplane. All four airmen aboard had been killed. No bodies could be identified, but dog tags were found at the burned out wreck scene. The other three crew lost were: 2nd Lieutenant George Andrew Justesen, age 23, Pilot - Born Nov 2, 1920, in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa 1st Lieutenant Vernal L Hurd, age 23, Co-Pilot - Born in July 16, 1921, in Talala, Rogers Co., Oklahoma Corporal Trini P Zepeda, age 27-28, Flight Engineer - Born in 1916; from Solano Co., California Walker Copeland Robertson is remembered on Section 82, Site 33 of the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, in St. Louis, Missouri. Private 1st Class Robertson is also commemorated on a monument located at Aviation Martyrs Cemetery in Nanjing, China. The memorial consists of a monument in the middle and over 30 square, black marble stones that bear thousands of inscriptions of names of aviators from the United States, China, Soviet Russia and Korea. At the center of the memorial, there are two tall concrete monuments with a statue of two aviators holding up their hands on either side of the monuments. On one monument, it has the name of the monument written in English, and on the other the monument's name is written in Chinese. Although the site itself was built by the Chinese government in 1932, this memorial honors 870 Chinese, 2,197 Americans, 231 Soviets, and 2 Koreans who gave their lives to defend China from the Japanese invaders from 1941-1945.
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Sources findagrave Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Background photo: Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri, US
Aviation Martyrs Cemetery in Nanjing, China