Honor Roll – Private Franklin Gilbert

Private Franklin Gilbert (12/23/1925 – 12/13/1944) was not a Milton native, but had lived in Milton throughout his teen years and attended Milton High School. He served in Company C, 311th Infantry, 78th Division, U. S. Army during World War II. The clipping above, from the Wilmington Morning News of March 27, 1945, contains the only photograph of Private Gilbert that I have been able to locate.

He enlisted in the Army on March 20, 1944 at Fort Dix, New Jersey at the age of 18. Training at Camp Wheeler, GA and Camp Pickett, VA, he was shipped overseas in October of 1944. He was KIA at the start of the 6-week battle for control of the dams and villages near Kesternich, Germany. From military after-action reports, we can surmise that Franklin was killed by artillery fire when units if the 78th attempted to attack in bitter cold across rolling hills that were ideal for German gunnery. Records show he was brought to a field hospital with shrapnel wounds, but was either dead on arrival or shortly thereafter. He was just 10 days short of his 19th birthday.

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