A 69 year search brings a fallen Shreveport soldier home
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
A funeral, 69 years later, brings tears to the eyes of friends and family who thought they would never get this chance to say goodbye. "Mabry was a good man, a good soldier, a loyal citizen, he was my friend" James T. Adams says. Adams graduated from Byrd High School with William Mabry Mayfield.
Peggy Mayfield is Mabry's niece. She inherited a suitcase full of letters showing her grandparent's years of searching after their son went missing in Moerdjk, Holland in 1944. "They tell a story of a mother who never gave up looking for her son to bring him home" Peggy says.
She also inherited her mission. One letter recalls what happened to Mabry on the night of November 7, 1944. "He had been killed by an 88mm direct hit and he would not be coming home alive" Peggy says. Now a new fight began for Mabry's mother. "Grieving but determined, my grandmother then began to write a Dutch family to go and look for her son and bring him home" Peggy says. Only failed attempts followed this. Mabry's mother did not live to see her son brought home. Her mission lived on through Peggy.
"We then found my uncle's name, William M Mayfield from Louisiana" Peggy says. She found his name on the wall of the missing at Margraten Cemetery in Holland with 17-hundred other boys who never came home to their mothers.
Peggy found the fox hole Mabry was killed in. "Grabbed a handful of the soil from Mourdjk, soil that my uncle had now become part of, he was part of the land that he had helped liberate. I asked 2 of my uncle's high school buddies from the class of 1941 from Byrd if they would sprinkle the dirt of the dyke into the letters of my uncle's name on his marker" Peggy says.
"I feel like I have part of Mabry in my hands now. And I parted with some of him just like I parted with some of him when I went into the service" Adams says. 69 years later, that brave young soldier is finally home.