Thursday, July 6, 2006
Internet reunites “foxhole buddies” after 61 years
By Everette Stubbs
Jack Stubbs, Sr. of Holly Springs was recently reunited with a friend from World War II after last seeing each other 61 years ago on the battlefields in France. Like many members of the “Greatest Generation,” Jack Stubbs Sr. served his country proudly in World War II. As all Americans are aware, war has devastating effects and consequences; but, of course out of bad often comes good and one example could be friendships formed.
Until April 2006, Stubbs had not seen his friend Welton Albrite since 1945. The two were both arriving back in the United States wounded after serving in the War and helping to advance freedom across Europe and for future generations worldwide.
In June 1944, Jack Stubbs Sr. was 23 years old and sent to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, which at the time was the largest training center for World War II.
Stubbs was a member of the 65th Infantry Division and upon its break-up he was moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina and joined the 328th Infantry Division Company E. At Fort Jackson, Stubbs met Welton Albrite from Manassas, Virginia, who was 21 years old and a member of the 26th Yankee Infantry Division.
Stubbs and Albrite became friends immediately while at Fort Jackson and nicknamed each other “Mississippi” and “Mr. Clean” respectively. “Mississippi” was of course referring to Stubbs home state and “Mr. Clean” referring to Albrite’s cleanliness and habits.
In August of 1944, both were sent to New York where they were to shipped to Cherbourg, France, on a peace time converted banana boat troop carrier, the J.W. McAndrew. Arriving in France at the end of August, both would soon find themselves on the front lines and foxhole buddies.
On October 5, 1944, Stubbs’ division went to the front lines to relieve the 80th Division at Port Cecile, France. They remained there under artillery fire for the next month.
On November 8, 1944 at the Battle of Moncourt Woods, Jack Stubbs was wounded. At the time, Stubbs did not even realize he was hit until told by his sergeant, Frank Dillon, who yelled “Stubbs you’re hit!”
Fear served as a terrific anesthetic and prevented Stubbs from being aware of his injury which was being hit in the ankle with shrapnel. From there Stubbs was taken to the field hospital tent in Nancy, France where his foot was set. Dr. Pennington, the doctor administering him, said “Stubbs, you are the stinkingest dude in here today!”
Jack Stubbs was later sent to Paris and then shipped to Southampton, England and on to Yeavil, England where he was hospitalized for two months. The doctors in England informed him that in December he would be sent back to ZCI-Zone of the Interior.
Preparing to head back to the United States, Stubbs was flown from Blenford, England to Glasgow, Scotland. Upon arriving in Scotland, the pilot asked for six volunteers to give up their seats for the more seriously wounded. Those who volunteered waited a week for the Queen Mary which would then carry them back to New York.
Arriving in New York in February of 1945, the first person Jack Stubbs saw at the terminal station was a familiar face — his friend Welton Albrite. Two days after Stubbs was injured on November 8, 1944, Albrite’s feet had frozen and he was sent home as well. From New York, Stubbs was sent via train to La Garde Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Waiting in New Orleans was Stubbs’ girlfriend, Pat Williams from Williamsville. The two were married in New Orleans on April 28.
With Stubbs not being as computer savvy as other members of his family, Karen Schneller, Jack Stubbs’ niece offered to search for Mr. Albrite and his family on the web. After using various search engines and performing numerous people searches, there was finally some information but it did not look promising. Karen’s initial searches for the Albrite family only indicated where Welton and his wife, Vera had purchased cemetery plots. This led Stubbs to assume his friend had died.
A few weeks passed and Karen called saying she found a telephone number for Scotty Albrite in Nokesville, Virginia. Stubbs called the number and informed them of who he was. Scotty told Stubbs that he was Welton’s son and that Welton and his wife were still alive.
Stubbs and Welton finally spoke and caught up after their 61-year lapse. The two also wrote each other, sending pictures of family and friends. Albrite indicated that his son’s girlfriend was from Pontotoc and the two planned a reunion. In April 2006, the Albrites and their son visited the Stubbses in Holly Springs. The families enjoyed meeting family and friends, touring Holly Springs, and a party was held in their honor.
Once the two men finally saw each other face to face they informed the other that they would not have recognized one another on the street after 61 years!
Welton and Vera Albrite live in Nokesville, Virginia and have two sons Scotty and Skippy. Jack and Pat Stubbs live in Holly Springs and have two sons, Jack Stubbs Jr. and his wife Gay of Oxford, Pat Ellis Stubbs of Los Angeles, California and two grandsons, Everette Stubbs of Washington, D.C., and Ellis Stubbs of Holly Springs.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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