EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of an on-going series featuring the Sponsor a Preservation Engraving Program, sponsored by Barton County and the Great Bend Tribune. The goal is to feature veterans with county connections who may otherwise be over looked. To be a part of the program and sponsor a vet, simply contact the County Administrator’s Office at 620-793-1800. Cost for this veteran is $45.
Golden Belt Veterans Memorial – Sponsor a Preservation Engraving – Roy L Fruit JR WW2, Private First Class, Army, 2nd Infantry Division, 23rd Infantry Regiment, KIA, 07-14-1944. Buried at Normandy American Cemetery (St Laurent-sur-Mer, France), Plot I Row 17 Grave 15. Awards – Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory medal.
From the Great Bend Tribune, Saturday, Aug. 5, 1944 – Roy Fruit Killed – Great Bend Youth Killed in Action in France July 14 – PFC Roy Fruit Jr., an employe (sic) of The Tribune at the time he was inducted into the army in February, 1942, was killed in action in France, July 14, his sister, Mrs. Clarence Coffee, 2805 Twentieth Street, was advised in a message from the war department today.
The message did not state the campaign in which he was engaged at the time he was killed.
Roy received his initial training at Camp Walters, near Mineral Wells, Texas and until he was sent overseas, was in training at Camp McCoy, Wisc. At Camp McCoy he was trained as a ski trooper and in connection with this training was sent to Ireland last October where he remained until May when his outfit was transferred to England. He was one of the thousands of Yank soldiers who participated in the invasion of France early last June.
Surviving him are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Fruit of Raymond, Wash., who were residents of Great Bend for 10 years prior to removing to Raymond a year ago this month, where Mr. Fruit publishes a weekly newspaper, and three sisters, Mrs. Coffee, Mrs. O. C. (Rilla) Brister, for a number of years cashier at the Woolworth store who is now with her parents in Raymond and Mrs. Bob (Marilyn) Ratliff, who is also in Raymond. Mrs. Brister’s husband is an officer in the army that is now fighting in Guam. Mrs. Ratliff and her husband, who is a trucker at Raymond, became the parents of a son, their second child and second son, only last Monday.
Roy Fruit was the first of six employes (sic) of The Tribune office to enter the armed services. He was with a group of Barton County inductees that left for Fort Leavenworth the night of Feb. 28, 1942. He was graduated from the high school here in 1937, establishing a reputation as an excellent student during his four years. While attending school, he carried papers for The Tribune and following his graduation he became a full time employe (sic), working in the mail room, helping keep the press in condition and at the time he left for the armed services was learning the printer’s trade, including operating a linotype.
Roy Fruit Jr. will be remembered by employes (sic) in this office as a youth of quiet disposition, honest, ambitious, a pal to his Dad and ever thoughtful of his Mother for whom he showed his affection through personal gifts and purchases of household effects he felt would make her tasks easier. He always was eager to cooperate and willing to do the tasks assigned to him.
The other five men from this office who are in the service are Frank J. Shideler, who has been stationed in the South Pacific since last October; Garland Martin, flier, who is stationed in California; Sammy Eitel, Fort Leonard Wood; Bill Townsley, Camp Fannin, Texas, and Paul T. Wesley, the only sailor in the group, who is stationed at Camp Farragut, Idaho.