November 7th , 2011 13:41 pm Leave a comment

Who’s on the Wall: They made the ultimate sacrifice


This being the week of Veterans Day, today’s Who’s on the Wall features four Carter Countians, who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. Their names are etched in gold on the World War II memorial in the Elizabethton-Carter County War Memorial Park. They are Lloyd H. Morrell, Robert C. Duff, Ben Franklin and Robert Davis.

Lloyd Morrell

Lloyd B. Morrell was 22 years old when he died April 5, 1943, when his plane crashed at the Herbert Smart Field in Macon, Ga. Young Morrell, who was a field operation officer, volunteered for service with the U.S. Army on June 1, 1940. He trained as a mechanic with the Air Corps at Schannute Field, Ill., and Bowling Field, Washington, D.C.

He received his wings on December 12, 1942, at Turner Field, Albany, Ga., graduating fourth in his class of 225.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S.M. Morrell of Elizabethton. A brother, Ralph Morrell, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.


Robert Duff

Robert C. Duff Jr., 24, was killed when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.

Duff, a mechanic, was manning an aircraft gun and was successful in knocking down several enemy planes that fateful day. According to an article in the Elizabethton STAR announcing his death, when the bombers came in for the third attack Duff was killed by the concussion from a bomb that hit near his gun.

Duff was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Duff Sr. of Elizabethton. Before he entered the military in February 1939, he was employed in the Carter County Agricultural Conservation office.

A memorial service for Duff was held at the Memorial Presbyterian Church on the Sunday following the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Lt. Ben Franklin lost his life over the English Channel on his 15th mission as navigator over Europe on Feb. 15, 1943. “Stars and Stripes,” London edition, of February 17, 1943, gave an account of the loss of two Liberators on one of the first daylight raids, this time over Dunkirk. The Spitfire escort had gone on ahead of the two Liberators, which had completed their mission and were within eight miles of the English coast when two Messerschmitts dived from clouds above the bombers and in a fierce surprise attack destroyed the planes with heavy loss of life.

Lt. Franklin was last seen going down in his chute near the water.

Lt. Franklin was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “exceptionally meritorious achievement while serving as navigator on five aerial missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe — and for the course and skill displayed upon these occasions.” He was also posthumously awarded the Purple Star.

Lt. Franklin enlisted in the military on September 2, 1941, and received his wings at Turner Field, Albany, Ga, on May 2, 1942. He was deployed to England in October 1942, and was 22 years while killed in action.

He was one of Carter County’s first losses during World War II.

Lt. Franklin was one of four children of Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Franklin, who served during World War II. His father was a long-time U-T Extension Agent in Carter County.


Lt. Robert Lee Davis was among the first Carter Countians to lose their lives in World War II. A member of the Army Air Corps, he was in the Southwest Pacific area, when he was presumably lost while flying over the Pacific Ocean as no trace of his plane was ever found. The date was July 15, 1942.

Davis, who entered the military in 1941, was awaiting overseas duty when the attack came at Pearl Harbor. He was among the first to leave for Pacific duty, arriving in Australia in the early days of the New Guinea campaign. Switching from pursuit to medium bomber flying he participated in the desperate first months of the air war against Japan in the South Pacific. Some of the exploits of his group are to be found in a book written by war correspondent Pat Robinson, who flew with Lt. Davis’ crew. Following a crackup which left him with severe recurrent headaches, Lt. Davis was transferred to transport flying. He was on such a mission that took off for New Guinea and disappeared.

Lt. Davis was the son of Mr. and Mr. Robert Davis of Elizabethton. A brother, Lt. Judson A. Davis, also served during World War II with the Army Medical Corps.


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