Second Lieutenant Franklin Herbert Carter
- Unit: 29th Infantry Division, 175th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E
- Service Number: O-1324142
- Date of Birth: June 30, 1917
- Entered the Military: May 28, 1942
- Date of Death: June 26, 1944
- Hometown: Rocky River, Ohio
- Place of Death: near Lison, France
- Award(s): Purple Heart
- Cemetery: Plot I, Row 23, Grave 30. Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Mentored by Mr. Frank O'Grady
Rocky River High School
Franklin Herbert Carter was born on June 30, 1917, in Oak Park, Illinois, to Hulda and Russell Carter. Russell and Hulda were married on September 19, 1916. Franklin Carter had two sisters – Gertrude Anne, a year younger, and his youngest sister, Norma, born in 1928.
According to the 1930 census, his family lived in Oak Park, Illinois, and his father worked in food sales. In the mid-1930s, Franklin Carter’s parents were divorced. Russell Carter then married Mabel L. Webb on April 2, 1934, in Cook County, Illinois. After their marriage, they moved with young Franklin Carter to Rocky River, Ohio. Franklin graduated from Rocky River High School in 1936.
In his 1936 yearbook, the caption next to his class photo said, “Franklin, like his pal and crony Kluth – hails from Chicago – possessing a low and dangerous voice.” His yearbook caption continued, “Frank dresses in excellent taste and is conservatively impressive.”
The 1940 census lists Russell Carter renting a home with his wife Mabel and 22-year-old Frank on Center Ridge Road near Rocky River, Ohio. Hulda lived in Chicago with her youngest daughter, Norma, and two boarders. Franklin enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 28, 1942. Carter worked at Western Electric Incorporated at the time he enlisted.
Local companies in Greater Cleveland, Ohio, underwent dramatic transformations during World War II. The Thompson Aircraft Products Company was a defense engine plant that employed 21,000 people in Euclid, a Cleveland suburb. The GM Fisher Body Aircraft Plant near the airport became known as the “bomber plant,” where my grandmother worked as a secretary. At this plant, they made parts for B-29 bombers.
In the summer of 1942, local Cleveland papers reported collecting grease and fats and hundreds of Cleveland families planting “victory” gardens. Also, tin cans, metal scrap, and paper drives collected these items through schools. Children also collected milkweed pods for life jackets.
Carter was drafted into the military on May 28, 1942, and assigned to the 29th Infantry Division. He trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he met his wife, Irene Mamie Akins, before going to Great Britain.
Most of the 29th Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. However, debris and overpopulation on the beach forced the 29th Infantry Division Headquarters Company and the 175th Infantry Regiment to stay at sea overnight. Carter landed in Vierville-sur-Mer on June 7, 1944. After D-Day, in an undated letter, Carter wrote a letter to his father from “somewhere in France.” He said he was “alright,” and that the “big show is on.” The unit advanced off the beaches to Isigny and Lison, pushing toward Saint-Lô, France.
29th Infantry Division morning reports on June 20, 1944, stated that Second Lieutenant Carter was re-assigned from the 29th Infantry Division Headquarters Company to serve as a platoon leader with the 29th Infantry Division, 175th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E. Just six days later, morning reports listed him as KIA (killed in action) on June 26, 1944. Research at the National Archives and Records Administration showed an early morning German counterattack from midnight to 2:00 a.m. on June 26, 1944, that resulted in 17 killed and 25 wounded. The Report of Burial states Carter’s place of death as the 29th Infantry Division combat area and cause of death as a GSW (gunshot wound) in the line of duty.
On July 30, 1944, a telegram was sent to Russell Carter telling him that his son was killed in action. On January 10, 1945, a letter was sent to the War Department from his sister, Gertrude, asking for his personal effects and information on how he died and where he was buried. The letter asked for “any information about how he died,” as his sister pleaded that “his father Russell was in great shock…he and Frank were such pals it has hit him doubly hard.”
A letter from the War Department dated April 14, 1945, informed his sister Gertrude Soldat that Second Lieutenant Carter was interred in the U.S. temporary Military Cemetery, La Cambe, France, Plot H, Row 1, Grave 16. On June 7, 1949, his father, Russell Carter, confirmed that his son should have his final burial overseas. In September 1949, a letter was sent to Russell Carter from the War Department with Carter’s final gravesite at the Normandy American Cemetery at Plot I, Row 23, Grave 30.
Second Lieutenant Franklin Carter, U.S. Army – our Silent Hero – was awarded the Purple Heart.
Franklin Carter was an officer in the 29th Infantry Division, 175th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E that landed on Omaha Beach as part of the third wave on the morning of June 7, 1944. His wife, Irene, and his father continued to live in our town of Rocky River, Ohio, while Franklin served in the U.S. Army.
In addition to honoring our Silent Hero, we also honor all the families who have paid such a great sacrifice.
Second Lieutenant Carter’s sacrifice touched more than just who knew him. Regimental leaders understood the sacrifice that men would make for honor. Robert Wolverton gave this message to his troops: “In a few short hours we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join the battle afraid. We do not know what our fate will be. We ask only this- that if die we must, without complaining- without pleading- and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believe was right.”
On behalf of our entire school community at Rocky River High School in Rocky River, Ohio, we honor the memory and service of our Silent Hero, Second Lieutenant Franklin Carter, U.S. Army, for his last full measure of devotion to his country.
The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Student & Teacher Institute was a fantastic opportunity to study Operation Overlord’s history. The eulogy that I wrote for Carter is something I will hold close to my heart to honor him for his sacrifice. I will continue to tell his story and honor him as I know my teacher, Mr. O’Grady, will, too. Second Lieutenant Carter has become a part of who I am, and his story is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
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