USS HOUSTON CA 30
“The galloping Ghost of the
William Lee Brasfield
Deborah Quinn Hensel
my great-uncle, William
Lee Brasfield of
just wanted to let you know that I have acquired an answer to the question
posed below. Apparently, my great-uncle's family was under the impression that
William Lee Brasfield Jr. was a POW--until
they got the official word in Dec. of 1945 that he had been killed in the
A second cousin of mine who has also been doing genealogical research provided this information this morning.
don't have any first-hand knowledge of him, since his death occurred long
before I was born. I will, however, ask my grandmother, who is 97. She is the
last remaining member of her family, and she was six years older than her
brother. As was often the case in rural
do have another question for you, however, and the mystery of this
has been troubling me. I see my great-uncle's name on the roster of those
who served aboard the USS Houston, and I see that he was killed in action. I
assumed that happened in March, 1942. However, there's a headstone for William
Lee Brasfield Jr. in the
headstone, which shows the correct date of birth for Lee, also shows his death
as Dec. 15, 1945. Now, I know there was another USS Houston (CL-81) that was
Nonetheless, I can't account for the dates on the headstone--unless it was erected three years later as sort of a memorial. Can you shed any light on this? A theory? It seems highly unlikely, but perhaps his remains were not recovered and turned over to the family until later--and they used that date to mark when they laid him to rest, instead of his actual death date? I suppose I will have to press my grandmother for details, but she may not understand what I'm asking, since it's a complicated situation.
Thanks for your help in posting the photo. I feel it should rightfully be in the online scrapbook--even though I don't understand the mystery of his date of death on the headstone. Actually, I've never seen the cemetery itself, but I have a list of everyone buried there that has been shared with me by other family genealogists. My aunt was one of those who researched a lot of family history before she died, and she was the one who had the photo of Lee among her records.