“Sad Message Reaches Parents”

W.S. Covington, Jr. [Class of 1946] Missing In Action

Sad Message That Prominent Young College Student Was Missing Reaches Parents;
Was In Infantry Doing Heavy Fighting

A message was received here yesterday by Mr. And Mrs. Walter S. Covington from the War Department at Washington that their son, Walter S. Covington, Jr., had been missing in action in the European theater of war since December 9. The Adjutant General’s office assured the parents that they would be kept informed of any other details which might be learned.

covington_1946_henri-chapellePvt. Covington, 19, was in the Infantry, and is believed to have been with the First Army. The last letter received from him by his family was written about the middle of November from Luxembourg, but it is not known, of course, where he was when he became missing. The message leaves his family in a state of doubt and bewilderment. They hope that he was taken prisoner, or was merely lost from his outfit; but the haunting fear that he may have fallen fighting the foe still besets their troubled hearts.

Young Covington, son of one of Rockingham’s most prominent men, and member of one of this section’s oldest and best known families, was a student at Davidson College before leaving for the Armed Forces last spring. It was said at Mr. Covington’s office today that the young soldier was in the front lines within some six months from the date of his induction.

The message has not only saddened members of his family, but the whole community where Walter Jr. Was well known and popular, and a host of friends join his immediate family and his large circle of relatives in the hope that the next news will be to the effect that this is safe.

Source: The Richmond County Journal, Rockingham, N.C., Thursday, December 28, 1944, p.1.

Walter Covington Killed In Action

The Official Word Received That Young Walter Was Killed In Action
in Germany December 9th

Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Covington received the following wire from Washington Tuesday morning, March 13: “Washington, March 12, I am deeply distressed to inform you corrected report just received states your son, Private Walter S. Convington, Jr., who was previously reported missing in action, was killed in action on December 9th in Germany.[1] The secretary of War asks that I express his deep sympathy in your loss and his regret that unavoidable circumstances made necessary the unusual lapse of time in reporting your son’s death to you. Conforming letter follows – Dunlop, Acting Adjt. Gen.”


Walter Steele Covington, Jr., Class of 1946, rests in peace at Plot D Row 10 Grave 9, Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Belgium.

In February, 1944, he was called and reported to Fr. Bragg March, 1944. He received his basic training at Ft. McClellan, his training was short and intensive. From Ft. McClellan he was sent to Ft. George G. Meade in Maryland. He went overseas in August of last year and was placed in Co. H, 28th Infantry of the 8th division which at that time was in the Ninth Army and was very soon engaged in the Battle at Brest.

His last visit home was last July when he was here from July 21st to 31st. Being here ten days on his way to Ft. George Meade, Maryland.

Walter was one of the friendliest boys in Rockingham never hesitating a moment when an opportunity presented itself to do a favor to any of his friends. Expressions of sorrow over his pre-mature death are heard from both the older and younger people of Rockingham.

  Source: The Richmond County Journal, Rockingham, N.C., Thursday, March 15, 1945, p.1.

Note [1] Walter Covington, Jr., was killed-in-action in the vicinity of Vossenack, Germany during the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest.

I would like to recognize and thank Mr. E. Derhaag who happened upon these two news articles and forwarded them to me. Without his efforts, these may have remained undiscovered. In his email to me, Mr. Derhaag explained,

“I try to collect information about the fallen American soldiers who are buried or listed on the Walls of Missing at the overseas American War Cemeteries Ardennes, Henri-Chapelle and Margraten. With this information we want to keep the memories alive of the soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. Because beyond every cross, there is a soldier buried who has his own story.”

Thank you, Mr. Derhaag, and God bless you.