Little Pee Dee River
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History & Genealogy
Little Pee Dee River
 image by Victoria Copyright © 2001
Home Military Records >> World War II >> Those Who Served >> Veterans W



Staff Sergeant



Service Branch:

U.S. Army Air Corps (AAF)

Service Number:



307th A.A.F. Bomber Group


371st Bomber Squadron


B-24 Liberator bomber


Aerial gunner and engineer


Killed in Action

Date of death:

April 22, 1943

Place of death:

Funafuti Island,
Ellice Island Group, South Pacific

Age at death:



Purple Heart, Air Medal (posthumously)

Burial 1:


Burial 2:

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Honolulu, Hawaii

Grave number:

C 232



July 27, 1922
Lumberton, North Carolina


Dillon, South Carolina


James L. Williamson
Della Wishart Williams



James L. Williamson, Jr. ( - 1961)

Additional information:

Enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 26, 1942. Eli was an aerial gunner and engineer on a B-24 Liberator bomber in the 371st Bomber Squadron, 307th Bomber Group. On the day of his death, Eli was on Funafuti, where the U.S. had recently built on airstrip. The Japanese bombed this tiny island for three hours in the early morning, killing S/Sgt. Eli W. Williamson and four other military personnel.


Eli Wishart Williams was born July 27, 1922 in Lumberton, North Carolina, the son of James L. and Della Wishart Williams. Although North Carolina born, Eli lived most of his life in Dillon. His father was the operator of Andersonís Dillon Theatre, where Eli would later work as an usher. He attended Dillon High School, where he was on the baseball and football teams. Sadly, his mother Della passed away before he finished school. Although he planned to attend college after his graduation in 1941, a temporary illness put those plans on hold. After he recovered, he chose to sign up to serve his country - as did so many young men of his generation. Records indicate that he enlisted in the Army on March 26, 1942 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, with the intent of joining the new Army Air Corps.

After rounds of training at various military facilities, (then) Staff Sgt. Williamson was stationed in Hawaii. He saw active duty in the Pacific Theater of Operations and was awarded the Air Medal and a Purple Heart. On Nov. 27, 1943 the Air Medal presented to Eli was received by his father at a ceremony held at the Dillon Armory. In further tribute to S/Sgt Williamson, the Dillon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6091 named their post the "Eli W. Williamson VFW."

Staff Sergeant Williamson died during a Japanese air raid on Funafuti Island on April 22, 1943. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Research by: Victoria Proctor, genealogist

Sources: Dillon County War Memorial, NARA World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing (1946), The Dillon Herald May 6, 1943 (report of death)

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