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History of Edward Patrick McCormick

Edward Patrick McCormick was born on September 29, 1920 to John J. and Hannah V. McCormick who lived 142 West Market Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Edward was one of three sons including John Jr., and Henry. His father, John, was a local contractor who died in 1939, when Ed was 19 years old.

Edward attended St. Agnes Catholic School on West Gay Street in West Chester. He starred on the basketball team, towering 6 feet 5 inches in height, and was affectionately nicknamed “Big Ed”, and “Big Stoop”.

Edward was a member of St. Agnes Catholic Church, and a member of its Holy Name Society. He was also a member of the West Chester Fire Company, and of the West Chester Council Knights of Columbus.

After graduation with the class of 1939, he obtained a position as Assistant Manager at the A&P Supermarket on the North West corner of Market and Darlington St.

Edward entered the Army on January 9, 1943. He received training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. He never received a furlough to visit home after basic training and his family never saw him in uniform. He shipped out to the European Theater, serving in North Africa, and later in Italy.

Corporal Edward Patrick McCormick was Killed in Action on December 1, 1943 in Italy by artillery fire while serving in the Fifth Army.

Edward’s mother, Hannah McCormick, received a telegram reporting him Missing in Action, on Christmas Eve 1943. She had just been discharged from the hospital for a serious illness, and was taken to her sister’s house – Mrs. J. Herbert Chambers of 10 North Darlington Street in West Chester.

On January 10, 1944, Edward’s mother received a telegram reporting her son Killed in Action, and buried in a local cemetery in Italy. His chaplain, Arthur J. Bojcun wrote, “Funeral services were conducted at the grave by a Catholic Chaplain and your son is now at rest in a beautiful and well-kept American military cemetery in Southern Italy. Each grave is marked with a plain white cross, bearing the name and home address of comrades who have also given their lives for the same cause. The location of this cemetery will be given to you by the War Department when military security permits.

Corporal McCormick’s’ life as a soldier and a gentleman was a worthy tribute to you and his country he so proudly served.”

A Solemn High Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Agnes Catholic Church on Monday January 17th, 1944. An additional mass was celebrated on Thursday morning January 27, 1944, at the request of the members of the First West Chester Fire Company.

His mother, searching for more information on her son’s death received a letter from her son’s unit chaplain.

“Your son was killed in action on the first of December, 1943. It is my sincere prayer that you will find comfort and understanding in the following information:

Company G was in the approach march, moving up to relieve another company from a bitterly contested hill. They had advanced about 500 yards when subjected to an enemy artillery barrage. Their enemy shells landed in the midst of the Third Platoon, of which Edward was a member. When the smoke had cleared away, friends found he had been killed instantly by fragments of one of the exploding shells.

Corporal McCormick’s’ life as a soldier and a gentleman was a worthy tribute to you and his country he so proudly served.”

His mother received about three hundred letters of sympathy.

Edward’s body was returned home on board the Transport Carroll Victory 1948.

On Wednesday, September 29, 1948, a funeral service was held at his mother’s home 142 West Market Street. The funeral procession then traveled north on Church Street and paused in front of the West Chester Fire Company, where the bell was tolled in his memory. The procession continued to Saint Agnes Church on Gay Street for Mass. Interment with full military honors was at Saint Agnes Cemetery, just north of the town on Rt. 100. Butler, O’Connor, McCormick Post 106, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was in charge of the military arrangements. The Veterans of Foreign War Post 106 is named in Memory of Corporal McCormick.

One of the benches at the Garden of Honor at the West Chester Borough Hall was donated in memory of Edward.

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