Presentation at Archive to honor fallen WWII soldier

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

On May 23, a presentation will be held at the Hilda Hoffmann Memorial Archive to honor the memory of Charles Wilmon Stuart, Jr., a Picayune native who was killed in action during World War II.

Lieutenant Colonel Lourie N. Formby III will be giving the presentation. Formby is a Picayune native who has served in the military for more than 30 years. He is Stuart’s great nephew, so Formby said this project is very close to heart. He said his ultimate goal in doing the presentation is to tell the public about Stuart’s sacrifice and to raise awareness about those who died in war.

Formby said Stuart was born in 1925 and enlisted as a Marine in October 1923. He trained at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg before going to Hawaii to prepare for deployment.

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Once deployed, Stuart was part of Combat Team 26, which was sent to Iwo Jima Island to take the Motoyama Airfield and the northern part of the island, according to a written narrative from Formby.

According to the narrative, on March 7, 1945, Stuart’s company was ordered to attack Japanese soldiers in a nearby cave. During the attack, Japanese soldiers set off an explosion, wounding at least 43 Marines – some fatally. Although Stuart survived the explosion, he was struck by a sniper bullet while he was helping his wounded comrades, the narrative states.

Stuart was put onto a stretcher and asked for his New Testament. While clutching the Bible, he asked the Marine attending to him to say a prayer, the narrative states. Stuart passed away mid-prayer.

Formby said Stuart was originally buried on Iwo Jima in 1945, but his body was exhumed in 1948 and sent back to Picayune at his family’s request. His family buried him at Pine Grove Cemetery in January 1949, Formby said.

Formby said via email that Stuart was one of four enlisted personnel from Picayune who died on Iwo Jima.

A full PowerPoint presentation will be presented at the Archive on May 23. The event will start noon and last about an hour. Everyone is invited to attend. Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archive is located at 301 Williams Ave., Picayune.