It is hard for any mother to send her son off to war, but imagine having to send six.
Frank Davis of Hazlehurst said it was definitely a hardship on his mother. “I was one of six boys, all in service,” he said.
In addition to the six Davis boys, their sister’s husband also served with them during World War II.
The Davis boys were, from oldest to youngest: Oscar, Virgil, Homer, Frank, John, and Albert. Their brother-in-law was Jack V. Smith.
“Albert was the only one wounded,” Davis said. “John and Oscar didn’t go overseas, but they were both in service during World War II.”
Most of the Davis boys served in the Army, but Homer was in the Navy and John in the Coast Guard.
Frank Davis said his service began with basic training in Camp Polk, Louisiana, in 1942. He later went to California and elsewhere for more training, eventually going to Europe to fight.
“I’ve been all over the country in service,” Davis said. “We left New York City to go overseas on D-Day night.”
He served for 39 months and achieved the rank of staff sergeant.
“I was in the Third Armored Division at that time but then I transferred to the Seventh Armored Division,” Davis said.
The Davis boys were in service at different times, but it was hard on their mother when they went, according to Davis.
“My daddy died in April of the same year Virgil and I went into service,” he explained.
Davis was born and raised in Copiah County. He married in 1947 and moved to Gulfport in 1948 where he stayed for 44 years. He worked for the VA hospital in Biloxi for 25 years.
After the death of his first wife he returned to Hazlehurst and married again in 1993.
In addition to the six boys, there were three girls in the Davis family.
Davis finished high school in Hazlehurst in 1939. “I worked at the cafe until I went into service,” he said. “I was nicknamed ‘Curly’ Davis back then.”
Some of Davis’s memories have been recorded as part of the oral history project connected with the upcoming Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Journey Stories,” which is scheduled to be at the Hazlehurst Depot in December and January. These recordings will be played during the exhibition as a featured local element.
For more information about the oral history project, call Dr. Janet Schriver at the Heritage House, 894-2100.