COAT OF ARMS
Honor Role - World War II: 1939-1945
Click on one of the items below for a summary of the war or a short biography about one of our Coulthart ancestors/descendants who served during this conflict.
Summary of the World War II
World War II began in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and the British Empire (Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) declared War on Germany. The Germans, Italians and Japanese aligned to form the Axis and the members of the British Empire, the Russians and most of the other European countries were aligned as the Allies. Although the United States did not get involved until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America was supportive of the Allied effort and had been supplying weapons and other materials to them for some time. In early 1941 there was a feeling that the U.S. would soon be joining the Allies and many individuals joined the service before the U.S. became involved. The day after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan and as a result the Germans declared war on the U.S. Of the 16,353,659 Americans who served during WWII, 62% or 10,110,114 were drafted.
The resulting war was divided into two major theaters of operation; the European and the Pacific. Troops from the British Empire and the U.S. fought on both fronts. The objective of the war was to stop the German dictator Adolph Hitler and his Japanese allies who were spreading their tyranny and oppression throughout the world. On June 6, 1944 the largest invasion of its kind in world history occurred when U.S., British and Canadian troops stormed the beaches in Normandy France. It was the turning point of the war in Europe. In the Pacific, the turning point was the battle of Iwo Jima fought during February and March 1945. The war in Europe ended on May 7, 1945 when Allied forces overran Germany and the Germans surrendered. The war in the Pacific continued for three more months until the Japanese surrendered on August 14, 1945 after American forces dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The statistics below show the magnitude of the war on the combatants from the countries from which our ancestors and relatives came.
61 million military and civilian lives were lost during WWII. What follows are the stories of the men and women from our family who served during this conflict.Return to top of page
James Coltheart (1916-)
James was born in 1916 in Queenstown, Tasmania. He was the son of Clarence Coltheart and Violet Delanty. He served in the R.A.A.F. from August 1939 to November 1945 and held the rank of Flight Sergeant when demobilized. The latter part of his service was in Papua, New Guinea at Port Moresby, Milne Bay and Nadzab. He married Alice Shortall and they had three children: Geoffrey (1946), Sally (1848) and Nicholas (1952). James was the great grandson of John Colthart (1833-1937) who emigrated from Scotland to Tasmania in 1855.Return to top of page
Randal Stuart Coulthard (1910-1947)
Randal, the son of John Coulthard and Ellen Grey, was born in Liverpool, England in 1910. Randal was trained as an architect. His certificate, dated May 13, 1935, was from the Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was an avid photographer and a prolific letter-writer. He loved books and sent his brother's children, who lived in Canada, many books, letters and snapshots which were treasured by them.
At age 29, Randal joined the 8th Army Artillery in 1939. He served during the African Campaign with General Montgomery. He lived a charmed life during this campaign sustaining no injury. He kept a scrapbook of the small mementos that made up his daily life. It contained theatre programs, ticket stubs, matchbox covers, snapshots, notes, etc. depicting the events of an ordinary solider living in those times. He was sent out of Tobruk to Alexandria for an aircraft recognition course. During his leave, Tobruk was attacked by Rommel's troops in June 1942. Randal escaped the battle but lost many of his friends during Tobruk's fall to the German Army. He received the following commendations for his years in the army: the Africa Star, the War Medal, the Territorial Medal for Efficient Services and the Defense Medal.
When the war ended in 1945, Randal was 35 years old. He decided to rebuild his life in another country. He was upset with the devastation in his own country and felt that a new beginning was the best answer for his own future. He left England and headed to Australia. He promised his mother that once he was established in Australia, he would send for her and they could live together in a peaceful country untouched by the ruins of war. Randal wrote a journal and kept his family in touch with his experience along the way. When he reached Australia, he found accommodation and began to explore the country. In November 1947 he went swimming on his own. He was caught in an undertow and drowned. His charmed life ended much too abruptly. How ironic it was to have escaped the perils of Tobruk only to die in a distant country alone and unknown.Return to top of page
Carlton H. Coulthart (1923-1998)
Carlton was born in 1923. He was the son of Harold Coulthart and Lora Waterman. In 1942 after graduating from high school, Carlton joined the army at age 18. His unit was headed to France for the D-Day invasion, however an ear infection prevented Carlton from going overseas.
After his discharge in 1945, Carlton married and had three children: Cathryn (1946), Rudy (1948) and Douglas (1955). He spent the remainder of his life in the Dallas, Texas area and passed away in 1998 in Jasper, Texas. Carlton was the great grandson of John Coulthart (1830-1919) of Gouverneur, New York and the great-great grandson of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.Return to top of page
Donald E. Coulthart (1918-present)
Donald was born in 1918. He was the son of Harold Coulthart and Lora Waterman. In 1943 when Donald was 25 years old, he enlisted in the army. After basic training he was assigned to the Engineering Corp where he was trained as a cartographer (map design). From March through September 1945 he was stationed at a base outside Paris, France where he was assigned to the photo-mapping Battalion in the 46 DET Service with the 8th Army Air Force. While in France he served as a photo-mapping film inspector for the Casey Jones Project. After the war ended, Donald flew photo-mapping missions over Western Europe from Iceland to Dakar, West Africa with the 8th Army Air Force. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to the states.
The photograph on the left is of the three Coulthart brothers who served during WWII. From left to right: Gerald, Donald and Carlton.
Donald married Jean Woodger and they had two children: William (1945) and Linda (1947). He pursued a career with the United States Government as a cartographer. He currently lives in Northport, Florida with his wife. Donald is the great grandson of John Coulthart (1830-1919) of Gouverneur, New York and the great-great grandson of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.Return to top of page
Gerald W. Coulthart (1922-present)
Gerald was born in 1922. He was the son of Harold Coulthart and Lora Waterman. In 1942 when Gerald was 20, he enlisted in the army. After completing his basic training he joined the Medical Corp.
After his discharge in 1945, Gerald married Doris Biggers and they had four children: Geraldine (1944), John (1947), Lora (1955) and Kenneth (1958). They divorced and Gerald married his second wife Elaine Nussbaum and they had one child: David (1982). He currently lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Gerald is the great grandson of John Coulthart (1830-1919) of Gouverneur, New York and the great-great grandson of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.Return to top of page
Fred Robert Harkness (1918-present)
Robert was born in 1918 on a farm near Waterford, Minnesota. His parents were William Llewellyn Harkness and May Howland. He enlisted in the service at the same time as his brother Leonard. Around May 15, 1941 the two boys, living together at their rooming house, decided that the United States was most certain to get involved in the war raging in Europe and if they enlisted, they would all be officers upon graduation. They drew straws to see which branch of the service they would try and all returned that night members of the chosen branch. Bob and Leonard were both accepted into the Naval Air Corp. Immediately after Pearl Harbor they were given notice to report, Bob to New Orleans and Leonard to Minneapolis.
Bob was called to active duty on December 12, 1941. He reported to New Orleans and his base at Lake Pontchartrain on December 14. He completed flight training and was slated to go to Pensacola for advanced training in March 1942 when he had an eardrum perforated on a practice flight. Because of his contract to become an officer after graduation, the Navy sent him for further training at Gustavus Adolphus College in Portsmouth, Virginia, and finally to Northwestern University, Chicago Campus where he graduated an Ensign on May 10, 1944. Bob married Margal Johansen two days later on May 12.
After completing his advanced training at Solomons, Maryland, he received orders to report to San Francisco for duty in the South Pacific. Starting from New Zealand, North Island, he was attached to the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions. His ship delivered troops and equipment as the U.S. retook the Islands from Japanese control participating in the landings at Noumea, New Caledonia, Guadalcanel, New Georgia, New Britain, Bougainville, Rabaul, Palau, Yap, Guam, Rota, Saipan, Tinian and Mindanao in the Philippines. The next landings were to take place on the Mainland of Japan. Fortunately the war ended before that took place. Bob was declared "essential" and stayed on in the area until he returned to the U.S. in December 1945 for reassignment. He was reassigned to the same area but declined the appointment and turned himself in on his acquired points. He was discharged on January 15, 1946 but remained on call for 10 ½ more years until June 1956. All during his service he had requested transfer to the Naval Medical Corps because of his college training in microbiology. In January 1946, he received an official transfer to the Medical Corps as a full lieutenant in the regular Navy but decided not to accept the appointment.
After his discharge, Robert returned to Minnesota where he pursued a career as an efficiency expert for various agricultural related companies. Robert and Margal had three children: Elizabeth (1946), Patricia (1947) and Bonita (1951). In 1951 the family moved to Ripon, California where he and his wife currently live. Robert is the great grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota and Christiana Coulthart - Mrs. Francis Harkness (1816-1876) of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.Return to top of page
Leonard Llewllyn Harkness (1916-present)
Leonard was born in 1916 on a farm near Waterford, Minnesota. His parents were William Llewellyn Harkness and May Howland. Leonard entered the service a few days after Pearl Harbor and reported to Minneapolis for basic training. He became a Naval Aviator and served two tours of duty in the Pacific. Leonard received his commission and wings in Corpus Christi, Texas on September 18, 1942. Ten days later on September 27th, he married Maxine Johnson. He shipped out to the Pacific on October 16, 1942. Leonard flew Catalina PBY's in the Solomans campaign and returned to the U.S.A 17 months later in March 1944. He was awarded the Navy Air Medal for his valor on July 16, 1943. He was then assigned to the Navy's First Hospital Squadron VH-1. This squadron flew PB2Y Coronados (four engine flying boats) equipped with 43 stretchers. Leonard and his group were responsible for evacuating wounded for 10 months until April 1945. This stint included evacuating wounded from Saipan and Iwo Jima. They delivered the patients to Honolulu or Manus in the Admiralty Islands (now part of Papua, New Guinea). He then returned to Corpus Christi N.A.S. where he served as a flight instructor teaching instrument flying.
After his discharge on October 26, 1945, Leonard returned to Minnesota where he pursued a career as a county extension agent in Mankato. He was later appointed to the position of State 4H Program Director with the University of Minnesota. He served in that position for 31 ½ years before retiring in September 1980. Since retiring, he has organized and conducted a number of tours which included taking over two hundred friends to the South Pacific (Fiji, New Zealand and Australia) in seven groups in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, and 1991. Leonard and Maxine had five children: Margaret (1946), Marsha (1949), Thomas (1953), Dolores (1962) and Sara (1963). They currently live in Shoreview, Minnesota. Leonard is the great-grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota and Christiana Coulthart - Mrs. Francis Harkness (1816-1876) of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.Return to top of page
Ethelbert Francis Hunter (1912-1973)
Ethelbert was born in Parkersburg, Iowa on October 8, 1912. His parents were William Francis Hunter and Mae Harter. Ethelbert entered the service on October 29, 1942 and left for the Pacific Theater on July 28, 1944. His overseas tour of duty included such places as the islands in the Philippines and Asiatic Islands where he served as an ammunition bearer and gunner for a heavy machine gun squad. His duty was done in the face of adverse weather conditions and extreme combat conditions. Ethelbert was wounded in action near Okinawa, Japan around May 25, 1945 and after treatment was sent back into battle. He received many medals including a Purple Heart, two Battle Stars, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Service Medal and the Philippine Liberation Service Medal. He returned to the States on December 3, 1945.
After his discharge on December 10, 1945, Ethelbert returned to Minnesota where he worked for the Minneapolis - Moline Tractor Company. He married Fern Kurvers in 1944 and they had five children: Mary Jean (1946), James (1948), Wayne (1949), Ronald (1951) and Roxanne (1957). Ethelbert passed away on October 27, 1973 in Shakopee, Minnesota of a massive heart attack. He was a beloved husband and father and loved by all that knew him. Ethelbert was the great-grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota.Return to top of page
Laurence E. Hunter (1926-present)
Larry was born in 1926 in Waterford, Minnesota. He was the son of Laurence Hunter and Mary Hendricks. In December 1944 Larry left home in Hastings and went to Sheepshead, New York where he joined the Merchant Marine. The Merchant Marine was originally organized under the auspices of the Coast Guard and their mission was to supply the Allied forces. They had the highest casually rate during WWII because their ships were unarmed and frequently the targets of enemy attack. In 1990 their contribution during the war was finally recognized and they were granted Veterans status by an Act of Congress.
During the war years Larry sailed throughout the South Pacific delivering needed supplies to U.S. troops. When the atomic bombs were dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Larry was in Okinawa. After the war he sailed to Rotterdam, Belgium. While in the area he took the train to Margarten to visit the U. S. military cemetery where his brother Capt. James Hunter was buried. Since then Larry has made a number of trips to Holland including one in 1996 when the Dutch citizens of Udenhout unveiled a memorial to the crew members of the B-24 bomber that tragically crashed in 1944 in which Larry's brother was killed.
After leaving the Merchant Marine, Larry returned to Hastings and married Eleanor Kummer in 1947. He became the Regional Director of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW). He currently lives in Hastings, Minnesota with his wife. Larry is the great-grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota.Return to top of page
Michael Allan Hunter (1923-1988)
Michael was born in 1923 in Waterford, Minnesota. He was the son of Laurence Hunter and Mary Hendricks. Michael entered the service during WWII and was trained as a turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber. He later became a gunner instructor in Texas where he remained for the duration of WWII.
After his discharge Michael returned to Minnesota. In 1946 he married Shirley Kummer and they had five children: James (1947), Michelle (1948), Brenda (1949), Teresa (1952) and Michael (1953). They divorced after the birth of their fifth child. Michael married his second wife, Maxine Harper. He passed away in 1988 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Michael was the great-grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota.Return to top of page
Wendell Eugene Hunter (1918-present)
Wendell was born in 1918 in Perham, Minnesota. His parents were William Francis Hunter and Mae Harter. Wendell entered the service on January 23, 1941 and completed his basic training at Fort Ord, California. He undertook additional training in San Diego, California after which he was assigned to his first duty station at Camp White in Medford, Oregon. His overseas tour of duty included stints at Port Morsby, Goodenough Island, Southport and Hollandia in New Guinea, Indonesia. He served as a litter bearer, ambulance driver, hospital ward master, medical technician, cook and baker. Wendell saw action in Hollandia and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal as well as the Battle Star. In November 1943, while on R & R at Camp White, Oregon, he married Cornelya 'De' Brint whom he had met there earlier. Shortly after the wedding he returned to the South Pacific and was finally assigned back to the U.S. on December 15, 1944. Wendell received an honorable discharge on May 5, 1945.
After his discharge Wendell returned to Minnesota where he farmed on the original homestead acquired by his great-grandfather William Hunter in 1863. Wendell and De had two children: William (1946) and Carl (1948). They currently live on the family farm northeast of Northfield, Minnesota. Wendell is the great-grandson of Jane Coulthart - Mrs. William Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota.Return to top of page
Holger Johnson (1918-present)
Holger was born in 1918. He was the son of Holger Johnson and Mable Coulthart. Holger served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Holger married Helen Nelson and they had two children: Jacqueline and Shirley (1939). They divorced and Holger married his second wife Florida Bolton. Holger and Florida had five children: Vernon (1955), Patricia (1961), Johnnie (1962), Michael (1966) and Bruce (1973). He currently lives in Tacoma, Washington with his wife. Holger is the great grandson of Walter Coulthart (1820-1892) of Grafton, North DakotaReturn to top of page
Helen Jean Morrison (1914-1989)
Helen was born in 1914 in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the oldest daughter of Garfield Morrison and Ethel Hughes of Lincoln, Nebraska. Helen received her "boot camp" training at Hunter College in New York City. From there she was sent to Norman, Oklahoma for more specific training and then was assigned to Camp Shoemaker near Pleasanton, California. Helen was the first WAVE to be made chief at a Naval Base – Shoemaker, California. During the late 40's and early 50's she was a member of the Naval Reserve.
She married Alex Raper and they had one son: Jeffery (1954). They were later divorced and she and her son took her maiden name: Morrison. Helen passed away in 1989 in Los Altos, California at age 75. Helen was the great-granddaughter of William Coulthart (1833-1916) of Waseca, Minnesota and the great-great granddaughter of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.Return to top of page
Neil Nicklason (1918- )
Neil was born in Pyengana, Tasmania in 1918. He was the son of Frank Nicklason and Elsie Coltheart. Neil enlisted in the R.A.N. in 1942 after the entry of Japan into the War and served until 1947. After the war he went to work in Papua, New Guinea in 1948 and except for one interlude in Australia in the 1950's resided there until 1976. Neil married Hazel Bulter in Port Moresby in 1950. They currently live in Queensland, Australia. Neil is the great grandson of John Colthart (1833-1937) who emigrated from Scotland to Tasmania in 1855.Return to top of page
Sydney Nicklason (1916- )
Sydney was born in 1916 in Pyengana, Tasmania. He was the son of Frank Nicklason and Elsie Coltheart. In 1936 Sydney joined the 22nd Light Horse Regiment. Shortly after mobilization in 1939 he transferred to the R.A.A.F. where he trained as a wireless operator/mechanic and continued in that field until the end of WWII. After the war he returned to the family farm in Tasmania which over the years he turned into a flourishing dairy farm. Sydney married Hedi Seeburger in 1956 and they had five children: Kristina, Frank, Ingrid, Lesley and Gerald. Sydney is the great grandson of John Colthart (1833-1937) who emigrated from Scotland to Tasmania in 1855.Return to top of page
Richard Eugene Palmer (1920-present)
Richard was born in 1920. He was the son of Howard Palmer and Pauline Coulthart. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served until 1946 and again from 1950-1952. During WWII he served in Europe in SHAEF offices in London and Paris and in the U.S. Forces Headquarters in Berlin and later Frankfurt. Before VE Day he was a senior press censor in the central SHAEF press censorship office in the Ministry of Information building at the University of London. After VE day he was assigned to public relations.
After his discharge, Dick married Elizabeth Lee in 1948. He was called back into the Army during the Korean War from 1950-1952 and was assigned as an instructor in psychological warfare at Fort Riley, Kansas and later at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Dick and Elizabeth had two children: Melissa (1953) and James (1956). They currently live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dick is the great grandson of John Coulthart (1830-1919) of Gouverneur, New York and the great-great grandson of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.Return to top of page
Lee served in the South Pacific during WWII. After his discharge he returned to northern Minnesota and married Ethel Schumaker. Lee and Ethel had three children: Lynnette (1951), Leigh Ann (1953) and David (1957). He currently lives near Menagha, Minnesota where he owns and operates a landscape nursery. Lee's wife Ethel is the great-granddaughter of William Coulthart (1833-1916) of Waseca, Minnesota and the great-great granddaughter of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario.
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John Wilson Scott (1915-1997)
John's first posting in April 1942 was to HMCS Esquimalt, Victoria, British Columbia where he remained until January 1943. In August, he was assigned to the merchant cruiser Prince Robert for a 10 day training cruise. Towards the end of this cruise they along with their sister ships, the Princes David and George and two minesweepers were ordered to proceed to Kodiak, Alaska to provide escort between Kodiak and Dutch Harbour for American ships building up supplies to reoccupy the most westerly of the Aleutian Islands which had been occupied by the Japanese shortly after Pearl Harbour. He returned from this mission at the end of October 1942.
In January 1943 he was transferred to the Naval Research Unit which was headed by Drs. Charles Best (co-discover of Insulin) and Donald Solandt and situated at the University of Toronto. In this capacity he worked on a number of problems: the testing of special goggles for seamen working on deck at night so that they would not lose their night vision during necessary visits to indoor lighted cabins; living conditions in barracks relevant to the spread of infections; problems on submarines which involved a visit to the U.S. submarine base at New Haven, Connecticut; testing sea-sickness pills. The latter tests were carried out on Landing Craft Tanks (LCT) sailing from Boston to Halifax in the spring of 1944 as American ships prepared to sail across the Atlantic to join in the D-Day landings in Normandy.
In January 1945 John was transferred to London, England to study problems associated with work at high temperatures which could become significant as the war continued against Japan; specifically with the reoccupation of Singapore, plans for which were in progress. Fortunately as not only John but his two brothers Russ and Bill Workman and his sister Aleda (a nursing sister in the Canadian army) had all volunteered for the war in the Pacific, this was not necessary as the Japanese surrendered after the dropping of the two atomic bombs. With the move to London, John was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and "loaned" to the Royal Navy.
The plans to move him east which were in place at the time of VJ-Day could not be revoked in time to prevent him being shipped east on HMS Devonshire according to those earlier plans. They were not ready for him in Ceylon as planned so that he stayed with the ship to Australia. By that time orders had come to return all Dominion troops home at the first opportunity to their home base. Consequently he stayed with the ship, returning to England by early December 1945 and to Halifax by HMC Puncher, then by train to arrive in Toronto on Christmas morning 1945.
He remained in Active service until his discharge in July 1946 when he began his post-graduate training at the Toronto General Hospital. Upon completion of his studies he became the first director of the Electronencephalography Lab at the Toronto General Hospital and professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto. He also served on several Defense Research Board Committees
John married Grace W. Workman and they had two children: James and Aleda. Grace is the granddaughter of James Byron Coulthart (1857-1914) of Apple Hill, Ontario and the great granddaughter of Jonah Coulthart (1831-1890) of Lunenburg, Ontario.
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Page last updated 07/26/2000. © Copyright 1999. Terry Meinke. All rights reserved.