Veteran Memorial: Rufus B. Humphries and Tolbert L. Humphries

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Rufus Humphries before he left for the service. (Photo courtesy of Christy Perry)

Rufus B. Humphries 

Rufus B. Humphries was born on August 12, 1919 in Cullman County. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served in World War II. His rank was Private First Class.  

On July 16, 1942, he was to a passenger on the B-17E #41-2421 carrying personnel of the 104th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion to Horn Island, Queensland, Australia. It was night and the weather was windy. The pilot made several attempts to land the aircraft when their wing tip suddenly dug into the ground. The B-17E then cartwheeled and burst into flames. All aboard were killed.  

Rufus B. Humphries is buried at Ebenezer Cemetery in West Point.  

Tolbert L. Humphries 

Tolbert L. Humphries was born May 30, 1920 and was cousin to Rufus B. Humphries. He enlisted in the United States Army and served in World War II with the 55th Armored Engineer Battalion, 10th Armored Division, known as the Tiger Division. 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “When the German army launched its offensive in the Battle of the Bulge, the “Tiger” division was diverted to the north, where it provided support to Allied forces in the town of Bastogne, Belgium. The 10th returned in early 1945 to the Moselle-Saar region to continue its drive into Germany. On March 2, 1945, the unit captured the city of Trier.” The Tiger Division would be designated as a “liberating unit” in 1985.  

On February 28, 1945, at the age of 24, Tolbert Humphries was killed in Action. His body was shipped home in July 1945 and he is now buried at Corinth Cemetery West in Battleground. He was awarded the Purple Heart.  

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com