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Remembering World War II
Malcolm Ernest Ryer
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Name: Malcolm Ernest Ryer Rank: Corporal Service Number: 31091573 Service: Company A, 264th Medical Battalion, United States Army Date of Birth: May 25, 1918 Place of Birth: Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts Date of Enlistment: April 18, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 23 Address at Enlistment: Massachusetts Marital Status: Single (at enlistment) Next of Kin: Arlington Ryer (Father) Occupation: Cook Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Complexion: Dark Hair Color: Black Eye Color: Brown Date of Death: December 24, 1945 Age: 28 Cemetery: Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts Grave: WWII Section E, Grave 4 Malcolm Ernest Ryer was the son of Walter Arlington Ryer (1888-1958) and Myrtle Edna Cole (1896-1948). His father was born in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, and his mother was born in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. His parents were married during the First World War on August 3, 1917, in Swampscott, Essex Co., Mass. Malcolm had three siblings - Leonard Robert Ryer (1920-2004), Eleanor Gertrude Ryer (1921-2001), and Carleton Walter Ryer (1937-2011). Malcolm completed high school in Lynn, Mass. and was working as a telegraph operator at the time of the 1940 census. When Malcolm registered for the US Draft on October 16, 1940, he was working at the Waldorf Lunch restaurant. Waldorf System, Incorporated was the first lunchroom chain in New England, founded by Henry S. Kelsey in Springfield, Mass. in 1903. It was named after the Waldorf Hotel in New York with Its trademark, a Red Apple. He also worked for Western Union in Lynn and Haverhill, Mass. After Enlistment in April 1942, Malcolm joined the US Army’s Medical Corps and was assigned to the 264th Medical Battalion. The 264th Medical Bn was a unit assigned to the 4th Engineers Special Brigade, and served in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. The 4th Engineer Amphibian Brigade was activated at Fort Devens on February 1, 1943, with the 534th, 544th and 594th Engineer Amphibian Regiments assigned. The brigade moved to Camp Edwards, where it was redesignated the 4th Engineer Special Brigade on May 10th, with the 3 regiments becoming engineer boat and shore regiments. The brigade moved to Camp Gordon Johnston in Carrabelle, FL in September 1943, and then staged at Camp Stoneman, California, on April 21, 1944, before departing the San Francisco Port of Embarkation for New Guinea on April 28th. Its commanding general throughout its lifetime was Colonel Henry Hutchings, Jr. The Brigade arrived at Oro Bay in Papua New Guinea on May 18, 1944, where its headquarters opened on May 23rd. Most of the rest of the brigade arrived in the area over the next few weeks, and participated in amphibious training with the 31st Infantry Division. The Boat Battalion of the 534th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment was sent to the Bulimba Boat Yards in Brisbane, Australia, where it was engaged in assembling landing craft. It participated in the assaults on Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies on September 15, 1944, and Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippines on January 9, 1945. Company A of the 264th Medical Battalion, in which Corporal Ryer served, would have been a Collecting Company versus a Clearing Company. They were the forward echelon of Division medical service. Collecting companies ensured casualties were first brought into the initial infantry aid station or field collection station, before being transferred to a Divisional Clearing Station, and transferring the patience to the clearing stations. As the Corporal of a collecting platoon, Corporal Ryer would have worked alongside the Sergeant with approximately 40 enlisted men serving under their direction. Stricken with a tropical illness in the Dutch East Indies, Corporal Ryder was flown home by the US military to the United States for treatment in 1945. He was honorably discharged July 19, 1945, and was again stricken. He was sent to the hospital and died of illness related to his war service while at the Veterans’ Hospital in the Bronx, New York on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1945. Malcolm Ernest Ryer was interred at the Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts.