Lewis Gordon Benko -
(November 29, 1921 - 1945)
U.S. Marine Corps, First Class Private & Machine Gunner in Marine Corps 4th Division on Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima - Two time recipient of a Purple Heart (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Son of Mr. & Mrs. John Benko (Source: Genealogy Trails History Group)
Harry Joseph Brown -
(1921 - July 7, 1943)
Corporal, killed in airplane crash in Florida (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Senior Quote: "Get thee behind me, Satan, and push!"
High School Activities: Member of NCHS Camera Club (10th - 11th grade)
(Source: NCHS Perannos)
Kenneth John Burdick - (April 1,1917- November 20, 1944), Pvt. 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, Killed in action near Niedermerz, Germany. Awarded ETO Ribbon with Battle Star for Rhineland Campaign (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Wm. Saunders Buttfield -
(August 1,1915 - 1945) (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Lieutenant U.S. Army Air Corps
Pilot B 29 Bomber
(August 1, 1915 - April 7, 1945)
Died after being shot down over Japan
Buried in Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, USA
(Photo Credit: Find a Grave)
William Rodney Conner - (1922 - 1945) (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
A medic with U.S. Army 85th Mountain Division.
Killed by gunfire in Northern Italy in 1945.
A wing of the Fort Drum Hospital in New York was named after Conner (Source: http://newcanaanite.com/memorial-day-with-sandra-conner-lefler-i-think-about-them-every-day-3120)
Senior Quote: "Let me have music and I ask no more delight"
High School Activities: Football (10th-12th grade), Basketball (11th grade), Track (10th grade), Band (10th-12th grade), Science Club (11th grade), Orchestra (10th-12th grade), Baseball (10th grade)
(Source: NCHS Perannos)
Thomas Henry Dubay -
(1923- August 22, 1944) Second Lt. was killed when he was serving as a bombardier on B24 after it was shot down by an enemy aircraft near Bak, Hungary (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Senior Quote: "Will he never grow to be a man?"
High School Activities: Member of Boys' Service Club (10th-12th grade), Dancing Club (10th grade), Band (10th-11th grade)
(Source: NCHS Perannos)
Frederick Wm. Eaton II -
(July 23, 1922 - Apri 13, 1945)
First Lieutenant 945th Field Artillery Battalion
Awards received: Silver Star, Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
Died in Germany
(Source: Fields of Honor Database)
William Friend Emery -
(1926 - July 30, 1945) Seamen First Class, US Naval Reserve. Died in action after the ship he was on, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
High School Activities: Courant (10th-12th grade), Student Council (10th-12th grade), Chorus (11th-12th grade), Football (11th-12th grade), Tennis (10th-11th grade), Senior Play (12th grade)
(Source: NCHS Perannos)
Claude Gravereaux -
From Paris, France, married New Canaanite, Jacqueline Hollingsworth in 1933.
Gravereaux and his wife lived on Harrison Avenue in New Canaan, with their three sons, John, Daniel and Stephen. Gravereaux was a member of the French Field Hockey Team in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. During WWII, Claude left the United States to fight with the French Allied Army
(Source: Unforgettable NewCanaanites)
Louis Rocco Lapolla - (1918-1943) 31st Signal Construction Batallion. While aboard a British Transport ship, HMS Rohna, Lapolla died after German bombers detonated the ship, off the coast of Algeria (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Ralph Lewis Moreno -(1925-1945) Seaman First Class, died in a plane crash (Source: New Canaan in World War II) Nickname: "Commander"; Senior Quote: "I'd rather be a witty fool than a foolish wit"; High School Activities: Camera Club (10th grade), Dancing Club (11th grade), Football (10th-12th grade), Orchestra (10th-12th grade), Band (10th-12th grade), Stage Crew Senior Play (12th grade) (Source: NCHS Perannos)
Erle Edward Offen -
(1925-1944) Motor Machinist's Mate. Died in a car crash, when he was on leave in New Canaan, CT. The accident occurred on Luke's Wood Road(Source: New Canaan in World War II) Senior Quote: "Man is nature's sole mistake." High School Activities: Industrial Arts Club (10th grade), Science Club (11th grade), Camera Club (12th grade) (Source: NCHS Perannos)
John Patrick Ready - (1913 - 1944)
Sergeant & Radio-Telephone Operator in 32nd Field Artillery Battalion, First Division (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Killed in action during Normandy Battle of 1944 (Source: New Canaan Post 653 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars)
Samuel Arthur Russo -(1920- September 1942) Private First Class in Air Corps. Died in a prison after US forces surrendered to the Japanese on Bataan Peninsula in April of 1942(Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Francis Vishnosky - (1922- June 23, 1944) 7th Field Artillery Batalion, killed by German shell near Caumont, France. Vishnosky was a veteran of three invasions: Africa, Sicily and Normandy. Recipient of Purple Heart (Source: New Canaan in World War II)
Erwin Edwin Wood -
(July 8, 1908- November 16, 1943)
Chief Electrician's Mate
Awards Received: Navy-Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart
(Source: Paul W. Wittmer via On Eternal Patrol)
Since creating a memorial walk dedicated to New Canaanites who perished during World War II in 2003 in Mead Park, town resident Jim Bach, a Korean War veteran, has spearheaded efforts to improve the visibility and appearance of this town landmark.
Those efforts have included re-planting of trees along the “Gold Star Walk,” creating a second footbridge to extend it and installing a new walkway and map—and a venerable nonprofit organization now is offering to help Bach preserve the memorial, which features a plaque listing names of the 38 men who died during the war (see gallery above for information on the servicemen).
The memorial has stood for more than 10 years, and Bach—a 1947 New Canaan High School graduate who served as a U.S. Army sergeant from 1952 to 1954—said he wants to add some finishing touches, to ensure its longevity.
“I want to see it done, it was part of my life a long time ago and it kept me out of trouble at one time,” Bach said.
“We need to honor our 38 World War II veterans, it is a big deal because they actually died in the war and this area shouldn’t be so overgrown. You can see the value and the potential of this land,” said Lisa Melland, regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
“The final thing that I wanted to get done with the memorial is to put in a bridge across the main stream that enters the park, on the west side of the garage. That is going to happen, it is going to get done this year.”
Gold Star Walk starts just inside the gate at Mead Park’s entrance off of Park Street and runs along the eastern and northern edges of the pond. Along with the plaque and footbridge, 38 trees were planted along the walk for each deceased New Canaanite.
In the past 13 years, weeds have encroached on the memorial, reducing its use and visibility, as have some new apartments and homes along Park Street above, according to Bach.
To restore it, Bach said she is focused on creating a new walk-in entrance from Richmond Hill.
Together with local landscape architect Keith Simpson, Bach said he envisions a “park within a park” to be carved out of the northern portion of Mead.
“Keith did a layout one time of this ‘park within a park’ which is just an entrance coming into the park from Richmond Hill where people would walk in.” Bach said. “Maybe there would be gravel and some benches, and some Belgian block to define the area, and then with an all-weather map to show what Mead Park and the lake look like.”
According to Bach, the efforts will be paid for out of a fund established when the project began, supplemented by private funding and his own savings.
Other local organizations are offering to help out.
The New Canaan Chapter of the DAR is the fastest growing chapter over the past two years in the entire state, according to Lisa Melland, regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter.
Lisa Melland, regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said her group would like to help raise money for the landscaping and other work.
“The DAR is going to do internal fundraising to help with this project,” Melland said.
The DAR’s areas of expertise are in line with the Gold Star Walk project, Melland said.