(March 3, 1944) - In a telegram received Wednesday from Lt. General A. A.
Vandergriff of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus W. Dunthorn of High
Street were informed of the death in action of their son, Pfc. Cecil Bruce Dunthorn, 22, of the celebrated Fifth Marines.
Two days before they had received a letter from Pfc. Jon La Barbera, one of
Bruce's buddies telling them of their son's death while on a mission early
in February during the invasion of
Cape Gloucester, New Guinea.
Lt. Gen. Vandergriff's wire stated that Bruce was "killed in action in the
performance of duty and service of his country."
Pfc. La Barbera wrote:
"Before he passed away, Bruce asked me to write home for him. I have known
Bruce for two years and we've been through thick and thin. When we lost
Bruce, we lost the squad. He was undoubtedly the best. Two boys attempted to
bring him to safety but did not succeed. One of the boys was wounded, the
other was not hurt." When he returned he would be able to tell the story in
Mr. and Mrs. Dunthorn last heard from their son in a letter written Jan. 24,
in which he had asked that some toothpaste be sent to him. Earlier, in reply
to a letter from his parents in which they had asked what he would like to
have for Christmas, he had written that he wanted "only a handful of snow."
Pfc. Dunthorn, who was a sniper scout, had also taken part in most of the
battle of Guadalcanal. He had been left behind in New Caledonia because of a
broken wrist, but a few days later managed to stow away on a bomber and
joined his unit at Guadalcanal.
He entered into the Marines the day after Pearl Harbor, and trained at
Parris Island, S.C., and New River, N.C. His unit left New River in May 1942
for New Zealand where they went through an earthquake a day or two after arrival.
After Guadalcanal, Pfc. Dunthorn was evacuated to Brisbane, Australia, going
from there to a town near Melbourne for a short rest. He later went to New
Guinea for several months duty there.
On Feb. 4, Mr. and Mrs. Dunthorn had received word that their son had been
recommended for the Navy V-12 training program in this country.
He is a graduate of Nutley high school.
A brother, Lt. Cyrus Dunthorn Jr., 25, is serving with an ordnance
ammunition company in the Aleutians. He was graduated from Nutley high
school and won a scholarship to Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.
He later attended Rutgers university.
Another brother, Gunners Mate s/c Byron Dunthorn, is in the Navy armed guard
and is captain of a gun crew on a merchant ship. When he last wrote to his
family, he was in Scotland. He is also a graduate of Nutley high school and
enlisted on Navy Day.
Comrades Laud Marine For
Whom Service Is Planned
Memorial Rites On Sunday;
Friend Writes "A Marine Never Dies"
(March 10, 1944) - As plans were being made this week by Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus
W. Dunthorn for a memorial service for their son Pfc. C. Bruce Dunthorn, of
the Fifth Marines, killed in action January 15 at Cape Gloucester, New
Britain, word came from two of their son's commanding officers telling of
the circumstances of his death.
They had received official word of his death last week in a telegram from
Lt. Gen. A.A. Vandergriff of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The memorial service will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at Grace
Episcopal Church. The rector Rev. L. Harold Henrichs will officiate. It has
been requested that no flowers be sent.
Both Capt. John W. Holland and 1st Lt. P.W. Vaught of the Fifth Marines
spoke of the young marine's courage and his sense of duty in their letters
to Mr. and Mrs. Dunthorn.
Capt. Holland wrote: "As Bruce's commanding officer, I always found him not
only ready and willing to do his own tasks but also eager to go out of his
way to help on odd jobs. It was the same spirit of unselfishness that
brought him to his untimely death.
"A letter from Lt. Vaught, Bruce's platoon leader, accompanies this note of
mine and gives some of the circumstances you may wish to know. However, he
failed to say that Bruce volunteered to carry the important message back to
us. I can only re-emphasize that Bruce's bravery and sense of duty will not
be forgotten. You may rest assured that Bruce was laid to rest with full
religious rites and ceremonies in a cemetery which houses other buddies of
ours who have passed on."
On Special Mission
Lt. Vaught wrote that he had known Bruce for a year and saw in him a young
man of high intelligence, common sense, versatility and ambition - a young
man with great possibilities. "The work he had done while in combat this
time," he went on to say, "had been in keeping with his character. The day,
January 25, that he met ....
.... duty has not gone unnoticed and shall never be forgotten. Such men, as
he are those we call the unsung heroes."
Twenty-two years old at the time of his death, Bruce had entered the day
after Pearl Harbor. While in New Caledonia, he had suffered a broken wrist
and had been left behind while his buddies had gone on to Guadalcanal. A few
days later he stowed away on a bomber and joined his unit, remaining with
them until they were evacuated to Australia. Of this act, Sgt. Nicholas
Seminick, U.S.M.C., wrote to Mrs. and Mrs. Dunthorn:
"When he stowed away on that plane to go to Guadalcanal he was admired by
everyone who had heard of it, especially the men in my company. We in the
Marine Corps don't like to say that he was killed. We like to think that he
has taken a long furlough. A Marine never dies."
Cecil Bruce Dunthorn
BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Marine Corps
Mr. Donald Dunthorn, Cousin
ACTION AT BOUGAINVILLE, SOUTH PACIFIC ON 1/25/44. PELELIU CAMPAIGN, CAPE
GLOUCESTER, NEW BRITAIN.
Pfc. Cecil B. Dunthorn
Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Hometown: Nutley, NJ
From The Nutley Sun
March 3, 1944
Informed of Son's Death
In Action In South Pacific
March 10, 1944
Comrades Laud Marine For
Whom Service Is Planned
American Legion Post 70
National World War II Memorial
World War II Honor List of
Dead and Missing,
State of New Jersey, War Dept. June 1946
The Rutgers Oral
Patricia & Byron Dunthorn
Please let us know if you have access to a copy of this book
SEMPER FIDELIS The U.S Marines in the
by THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT CORRESPONDENTS
arranged by Captain Patrick O'Sheel, USMCR
and Staff Sergeant Gene Cook,USMCR
published by Willam Sloane Associates, Inc., New York
Copyright, 1947 by
William Sloane Associates, Inc. Second Printing.
The story about Bruce Dunthorn is under the section called THE MEN and
is called INCIDENT AT NATAMO by Second Lieutenant Gerald A. Waindel, on Pages