Berthay, Quitman C. (631st)

Quitman C. Berthay 1Quitman C. Berthay

Biography:  Quitman Clinton Berthay, “QC” was born on February 7, 1917, in Lee County Mississippi. He was the son of Jim Berthay and Lula Greenwood and attended Mayfield grade school. He left school to do farm work and help the family and then joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), working on various projects until the war became eminent.  

Service Time: QC enlisted in the service on February 25, 1941, at Shelby, Mississippi.  Later that year, on December 15, 1941, the 631st Tank Destroyer Battalion was activated at Camp Blanding, Florida and QC was assigned to A Company.  Due to problems experienced with TDs in North Africa, the unit was reorganized as a towed battalion, in December 1943.

They began necessary training with the new equipment and as of July 21, 1943, were stationed at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and attached to the 7th TD Group. By August 9, the 7th TD Group along with the 631st were relieved from direct assignment with the 3rd Army and assigned to the IX Corps on December 23, 1943. They were later assigned to the XIX Corps and then the XXI Corps while the IX Corps was stationed in the Louisiana Maneuver area.

On January 19, 1944, the 631st was assigned to the 8th TD Group and then one month later to the 21st TD Group on February 15, 1944. On July 26, the unit shipped from the New York port and landed in Gourock, Scotland, on August 5, 1944. They were quickly sent onto Normandy, landing on August 31st, and assigned to performed rear-area duties in France, Luxembourg, and Germany for the duration of the war. Their entire service was  as part of Third Army. The 631st received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe and QC was discharged in October of 1945, at the rank of Sergeant.

Quitman C. Berthay 2In the photo to the left, you can see QC sitting on top of one of the unit’s M10 tank destroyers during their early training. He is the man on the right. While training in Texas, he and unit were tasked with building a bridge to support a TD with no nails. They obviously completed their assignment. The full image is shown in the Unit Photo Gallery for the 631st.

QC came back to the U.S. and found work at the Gulf Ordnance Plant in Monroe County, Mississippi. On May 7, 1948, he married the former Gladys Minnie Bell Johnson who had been born in Alcorn County Mississippi and was the daughter of Tal and Sally Johnson. The new couple made their residence in Saltillo, Mississippi and had two children, Carolyn, born in 1951 and Michael born in 1956. In time, QC purchased is own row farm and dairy cow barn. After his retirement, he worked for the state and the Lee County Road and Sanitation Department for another 20 years.

In his spare time, QC enjoyed fishing and quail hunting and training bird dogs. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners organizations. He passed away on December 15, 2003 and was buried in the Euclatubba Baptist Cemetery in Saltiilo.

I want to thank QC’s son Michael for providing the information and photos for this tribute.