The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SSG William Nottingham, who died in the service of his country on March 29th, 1945 in Luzon. The cause of death was listed as MIA. At the time of his death William was 21 years of age. He was from Braxton County, West Virginia.
The decorations earned by SSG William Nottingham include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
(From Epilogue, "Cpl Musselman's Story" by Perry Ball)
SSGT William "Bill" Nottingham. Blair Musselman recalled he was led to believe that all the bodies from E Company's dead had been recovered. It was not until 1950, when he had a car good enough to make the trip to Nottingham's home town in Strange Creek, West Virginia, that he found that this was not true. Strange Creek was a small crossroad with a "creek and a railroad running beside it." A very nice man showed he and his wife the small cabins across the creek where the Nottingham family lived. He then told them to yell across the creek and someone would come over and get them in a flat boat. Nottingham's older brother Wilbert came over and did the transporting to the other side. Wilbert told them on the way over that he was the only person who served with Nottingham ever to visit. Wilbert and his wife Ruby lived in the first cabin. Nottingham's mother, Mary, lived in the second cabin. They were all very pleased that they came. It was as if Nottingham's mother was just waiting for someone to come and tell her about her son, as she died a short time later, on 91 September 1950. The Nottinghams were members of the Strange Creek Baptist Church. Wilbert was a carpenter and he died in 1970 after a long illness. Ruby maintained contact with the Musselman family until at least 1989. She died in 2003. They were all buried in the Strange Creek Cemetery.
Following from "Cpl. Musselman's Story" by Perry Ball about the death of SSGT Nottingham. It is from the chapter titled, "The Sad Death of SSGT Nottingham."
"Our 2nd Platoon moved back up and attacked toward the 1st Battalion to support the 1st Battalion Command Post on 23 March. We were high up in the mountains in thick jungle and it was cold. We were going up a steep incline when we were met by four Filipinos bringing a U.S. casualty down, which was wrapped in a shelter half and wired to pole. Each soldier carried a shelter half in his pack and the dead man was no doubt wrapped in his own shelter half. It was not a pretty sight. My good friend Nottingham looked at me and said, "If something happens to me, don't let them carry me out like that." We ended up directly behind the 1st Battalion. The area was thick with Japanese and they kept us awake at night.
"The company killed two Japanese on 24 March. The rest of E Company debarked the trucks at the end of the bulldozer road, moved up, and was attached to the 1st Battalion on 25 March. The company sent out routine patrols, but there was no contact with the enemy. Someone shot a wild pig and we ate it.
"The rest of E Company arrived at the front, three and a half miles northeast of Putlan and three miles southeast of Balete Pass, and began relieving A Company on 26 March. A Company was the most forward unit in the sector and their positions were just 25 yards from the Japanese positions located on top of high ground. An undetermined number of Japanese soldiers infiltrated into the A Company position lines while the relief was in progress and one was killed. 1st LT Bitterly was wounded and evacuated to the 3rd Field Hospital on the same day. Our 2nd Platoon was supposed to join them on 27 March.
"Mountainous terrain, heavy tree cover, the absence of roads, and stiff Japanese resistance had taken their toll on the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion was ordered to replace the 1st Battalion on 27 March. E Company was already at the front, so we remained where we were. Our 2nd Platoon then moved out by itself on the right flank, heading up a big hill. G Company relieved F Company on the left flank, and F Company moved back to occupy the area formerly occupied by the 1st Battalion.
"The now reassembled 2nd Battalion attacked the Japanese positions on the high ground in front of them on a two-company-wide front at 0850 on 28 March. The rest of E Company and an H Company machine gun platoon pushed up the center of the ridge in a northwest direction, with G Company advancing on the left. Slow, steady progress was made against the Japanese defenders in well-dug in and camouflaged positions. Both companies advanced 100 yards in the face of heavy machine gun, rifle, and mortar fire and they were almost on top of the ridge by 1140. "G Company's 2nd Platoon attempted to flank the Japanese position to the left and was pinned down up by a sniper. Another G Company platoon attacked frontally and was pinned down by two cross-firing machine guns firing on the slope they were attempting to move up on. An E Company platoon also attacked frontally and was pinned down by two cross-firing machine guns. Both companies then attempted to knock the machine guns out with bazookas. The E Company platoon killed seven Japanese and either knocked out or forced four or five machine guns to withdraw to new positions.
"Meanwhile, our 2nd Platoon moved up 200 yards on the right flank, dug in, and covered our holes. We were then ordered to move up again to see if we could flank the Japanese. We moved forward about 400 yards and got halfway up the next hill when we received sniper fire. It was decided that maybe those rounds came from the hill we had just left. We were ordered to go higher and dig in for a holding action. We walked into an ambush and this time we knew the rifle fire was not from the other hill. Nottingham was shot in the head and killed by a Japanese sniper. He did not have to worry about how casualties were removed, because could not get his body out. Pfc. James E. Atchison was wounded with a bullet in the knee.
"Our Platoon Leader took a fine time to go to pieces. I grabbed my carbine and dove into a hole, only to discover that the wood was missing where my second finger would normally be put in the trigger grip. We were ordered to get back if we could. Every step was torture. I do not think any of us thought we would get back without more trouble. We knew there would be no one to help if we did run into more Japanese. Nottingham was the best pal a guy could have. I loved him almost like another brother. Nottingham's death meant that our 14-man squad was now down to eight men. We were still a long way from Balete Pass and there would be more losses to come."