Leroy John Swale

1916 - 2009


Their Story

Leroy John Swale was born on October 20, 1916, in Davenport, Iowa, the son of William Henry and Hazel Mae (Hess) Swale.[1] His father was a millwright in 1930.[2] His father later worked at the Rock Island Arsenal.[3] The family moved from Davenport to Montpelier, Iowa, and then to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1945.[4]

Leroy was inducted into the Army on May 10, 1941. He was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. His brothers, Richard and Robert, were also at Camp Claiborne.  All of Leroy’s brothers served during WWII.[5] In August 1943, three of them were overseas at the same time. The youngest, Jack, was an airplane mechanic in the Air Corps in Gulfport, Mississippi. Their mom and dad were both contributing to the war effort, as well, by working at the Rock Island Arsenal – dad on the loading docks and mom in the box factory operating a power saw.

On January 15, 1942, Private Swale left the U.S. for Ireland, a member of the first American contingent of troops to land there. He trained there for six months, went to England, and was then part of the force that landed in North Africa to fight the Germans. He served in Co. B, 133rd Infantry, 192nd MP Co. He served in three major battles before being wounded. While fighting in Tunisia, his hand was crushed when a bomb loosened a rock above him, and fell on his hand.[6] He received the Purple Heart and later the Bronze Star Medal.  After recovering from his wound, he returned to duty, and returned to the U.S. in April 1944.[7]  He was discharged in September 1945.

In March of 1944, Leroy’s brother, Robert, was killed at Anzio, Italy, during WWII.[8] He was a member of the 15th Artillery Observation Battalion.

Leroy married Alma Bernice Swanson on December 30, 1944, in Rock Island.[9] He was stationed at Charleston, South Carolina, at the time.[10] They were married for 47 years. She preceded him in death in July of 1991 and was buried at Rock Island National Cemetery in Leroy’s plot. Leroy married Sheila Scott on May 4, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada.[11]

Leroy worked at the Rock Island Arsenal as a roads and grounds maintenance supervisor, retiring in 1972 after 33 years of service. In fact, he was working at the Arsenal when he was drafted into the Army.[12]

He was a member of the Church of Peace, United Church of Christ in Rock Island. Leroy loved woodworking, hunting and fishing, particularly in the Wisconsin wilderness.  After retiring Leroy moved to Florida.

Leroy John Swale died on September 8, 2009, in Ocala, Florida. He was 92 years old.

Article from 20 Aug 1943, 1 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

[1] Leroy John Swale (1916-2009) – Find a Grave Memorial

[2] Sheet 4B Census – US Federal 1930 – Fold3

[3] 08 Jul 1949, 2 – The Dispatch at Newspapers.com

[4] 07 Jul 1948, 3 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

[5] Article from 20 Aug 1943, 1 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

[6] Wounded 1943 – Newspapers.com

[7] Iowa, U.S., World War II Bonus Case Files, 1947-1954 – Ancestry.com

[8] 07 Aug 1948, 2 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

[9] 10 Jan 1945, Page 5 – The Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune at Newspapers.com

[10] 23 Dec 1984, 18 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

[11] 12 Sep 2009, 16 – The Dispatch at Newspapers.com

[12] U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 – Ancestry.com