RILEY, WALTER DESMOND - Cross County, Arkansas | WALTER DESMOND RILEY - Arkansas Gravestone Photos

Walter Desmond RILEY

Cogbill Cemetery
Cross County,
Arkansas

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS US Army
World War II
May 7, 1910-May 31, 1996
Purple Heart
Bronze Star Medal

Walter Desmond Riley was born 9 May 1910 in Cherry Valley, Arkansas, the son of W.C. and Cleo (Henderson) Riley. He grew up in Vanndale with one brother, Leon, and three sisters, Minnie Sue, Lillie, and Laura May. He attended Vanndale High School. Desmond married Gladys Davis and they had one child, Mayo. Before service, he was a Gulf Oil Distributor in Cross County.
Desmond was inducted 4 Apri11944 and trained as a truck driver light 345 and M-1 rifle marksman. He left the states 25 October 1944 and landed in Europe 5 November 1944. He was wounded in action at Ardennes, Germany, 26 December 1944. On the 31 March 1945, he was shipped to Valley Forge General Hospital, Phoneixville, Pennsylvania and discharged 6 May 1949. He received the World War II Victory Medal, purple Heart, American Campaign medal, EAME Campaign Medal with one Bronze Battle Star and the Good Conduct Medal.
Desmond's injury resulted in his losing his upper lip and palate of his mouth. After years in hospitals in El Paso, Texas and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, an upper lip was re-constructed (Numerous operations and experiments were required). The upper plate of teeth had to be fitted up behind his nose so his speech could be understood. He was blessed with one tooth on each side to help secure his plate. When he returned home, he was very self conscious and did not want to go out in public. Another blessing, he was encouraged to run for County Treasurer. He had to get out to ask people for their votes and became a new person. The people of Cross County did elect him and he served for 26 years before retiring. He lived entirely on liquids.
Walter Desmond Riley died 31 May 1996. He and his daughter were buried on the same day in Cogbill Cemetery

Contributed on 10/30/08 by rtsgrad
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Record #: 89717

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Submitted: 10/30/08 • Approved: 4/3/11 • Last Updated: 10/3/12 • R89717-G0-S3

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