The son of William Hazzard Bryan and Lillian Mae Burton of Milton, PFC Gilbert Burton Bryan (3/25/1925 – 3/28/1945) served with Company G, 317th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division, U.S. Army during World War II.
He resided on Route 1, somewhere either on the Lewes or Milton side, prior to the war. He enlisted in the Army on June 23, 1944 at Fort Dix, New Jersey, received his basic training at Camp Blanding, FL, and Fort Meade, MD, and went overseas on November 28, 1944.
Barely 20 years old, Gilbert was listed as KIA while fighting against German forces, was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart. The 80th Divisionb was involved in bitter winter fighting in an effort to relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division in the Ardennes forest – the epicenter of the Battle of the Bulge. Successful in throwing the Germans back, the 80th pushed on into Germany. By March 30th, two days after PFS Bryan was reported KIA, the Division had crossed the Rhine River.
There is a little ambiguity here however; PFC Bryan was reported by the Wilmington News Journal as having been wounded on January 13, 1945 and hospitalized. There is no available information on whether he died of his wounds in the hospital on March 28, or whether he recovered, was discharged back to his unit, and met his end on that date. His remains were returned to his family and he was buried in White’s Chapel Cemetery.
The photo below comes from an 80th Division, 317th Regiment WWII veteran’s web site, https://www.80thdivision.com/photos/Christen/Christen.html, and shows one platoon of Company G – PFC Gilbert’s company – in May of 1945, about two months after his death.