Schuyler C. Bristow
Biography: Schuyler Coral Bristow was born on May 25, 1919, in Southampton County, Virginia. He was the son Schuyler Clark Bristow and Joyce Lee Carter and attended Black Creek Elementary and Franklin High School. Coral, as he was known, left school after the 11th grade and worked at the Camp Manufacturing Company as a clerk.
Service Time: Coral entered the service on February 18, 1942, at Camp Lee Virginia. He was assigned to Company C of the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion. A portion of his training included learning to drive the unit’s tank Recovery Vehicle. They shipped to England and arrived on January 10, 1944. By the end of June, they had landed on Utah beach, equipped with M10s, and entered battle near Carentan, France. The unit joined the Cobra Breakout and helped capture Mayenne and defeat the Mortain counteroffensive in early August.
The 634th raced east to Mons, Belgium, and supported operations against the Siegfried Line and the capture of Aachen, Germany, in October, before fighting in the Hürtgen Forest in November. They moved back to Belgium in December, and then raced south to the Ardennes in late December. Crossing the Roer River on February 25, 1945, they pushed to the Rhine River at Bonn, by March 9th, and then crossed the river at Remagen, on March 15. Their last actions were to support the envelopment of the Ruhr Pocket before driving east to the Harz Mountains in early April and then another 200 miles to the Czechoslovak border by the end of the month.
Coral left the service at the rank of Technician 4th Grade and was awarded the Bronze Star and received recognition for his marksmanship skills.
When Coral returned to the U.S., he went to work for the Whitley Hardware Company as an Assistant Manager. He later became the Owner/Manager of the City Paint and Supply where he remained for 34 years.
In August of 1946, he married the former Evelyn Margaret White, who was born in Belvedere, North Carolina and was the daughter of Willis Broughton White and Farese Mae Hunter. They made their residence in Black Creek, Virginia, and had two sons, Hunter, born in 1949, and Neil in 1952.
In his spare time, Coral enjoyed gardening and repairing mechanical items. He was a member of the Franklin Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and usher. He was also a founding member and President of the Black Creek – Burdette Ruritan Club, a civic service organization.
Coral passed away on February 6, 2003, and was buried in Franklin, Virginia. I want to thank Schuyler’s son, Hunter, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.
As mentioned earlier in the tribute, Coral was trained to drive the unit’s T2 (M31) Recovery Vehicle. In an effort to honor his father, Hunter built a scale model of the T2, from a basic tank kit and a specialty conversion kit. You can see a photo of the model below. Interestingly these units looked quite fierce with a large “dummy” gun barrel attached to a forward facing hatch, which was done to disguise the unit’s real purpose.