to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

3.9 Bands of brothers

  1. Texas brothers:

Among the POWs from the 131stst FA, there were the Dove twins (Miley & Denton) as well as the Schmid twins (Eldon & Ellis) and 5 sets of brothers: Melvin & Joseph Clay; Cleo & Cosby Sherrill; James & Marion Frie; Irvin & Roy Offerle and John & Jim Hensley.

The Oklahoma-born Dove twins were both sent from Singapore (Changi) to the Thai-Burma Railway but were separated to different work camps there. They were unaware of each other’s fate until they re-united in Bangkok while en route to Saigon after the railway was completed. 

After the war ended both were discharged and returned to Texas, but they decided to continue their military careers and re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1946 shortly before it became the USAF. Both rose in rank and retired as CMSGT.  Their careers separated then most of the time except when they served over-lapping tours at Clark AFB in the Philippines.

The Schmid twins both served in the Battalion HQ with Eldon as a 1LT and Ells as a Tech SGT.  Both remained in the ARMY and in 1954 Ells was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer. Eldon retired as a Colonel. Ells lived out his life in Lubbock, TX while Eldon moved around the State.

The Clay brothers both enlisted in the TXNG at its HQ in Jacksboro, TX and had almost consecutive SNs (20814128 & 20814132). They seemed to have stayed together throughout their stint on the railway. Both were discharged in 1946 and spent their lives as farmers in East Texas. Melvin, the elder, died in 2006 at age 88; Joseph in 2007 at age 87.

The Sherill brothers also enlisted together at Jacksboro TX. Cosby returned there after the war and lived out his days there (he died in 1996) while brother Cloe settled in Pasadena CALIF where he died in 1979.

The Frie Brothers also enlisted together in the TXNG in Nov 1940. After liberation, they returned to different towns in Texas: James to Graford and Marion to Iowa Park.

Only Roy Offerle survived the POW experience; his brother. Irvin died in 1943 in Burma of complications from Tropical Ulcers. Roy returned to Laredo, TX where he lived until 1998. They are buried together at the Ft. Sam Houston Nat’l Cem.

SGT Roy Offerle

The Hensley brothers were also separated into different camps and only re-united after liberation. Both returned to Vineland (Jay County) TX after the war. Jim the younger brother passed away in Jacksboro TX in 1986 at age 63. The elder brother John died in Houston in 1988 (aged 68).

1a. and friends: Army 1LT Clyde Fillmore came across a fellow Texan in a TBR camp. They learned that although they had never met that they were from the same county (Wheeler) and that their families had been longtime friends. USMC PVT Fred King’s sisters had gone to school with Clyde’s wife. 

1LT Clyde Fillmore

1b. Navy brothers separated: So far, I have identified 5 sets of brothers on the HOUSTON, where one brother survived and the other was lost. There appear to be more.

1c. Related by marriage: It is almost impossible (too time-consuming) to document, but it seems that many of these small town Texas boys were related by marriage as well. Wayne & Thurman Rhine were cousins and Alf Brown seemingly married one of their sisters.

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