Leroy C. Six
The following tribute was researched and written by Lowell Silverman. Lowell came across Lt. Six while doing research on his grandfather, Dr. Robert Silverman, who served at the 32nd Station Hospital.
The following is a concise version of the entire article, which is available here.
Biography: Leroy Carlyle Six was born in Los Angeles, California, on the morning of August 25, 1923. He was the son of Leroy Carlyle Six (a brakeman for the Santa Fe Railroad) and Elsie Margaret Six (née Rawsthorne). His father had been born in Oklahoma and his mother in Ontario, Canada. His parents had married in Needles, California, on January 24, 1923, but were separated by March 19, 1925.
Six was recorded on the census on April 12, 1930, living in San Fernando, California, at his maternal grandparents’ home. Census records are contradictory about where Six was living as of April 1, 1935: either Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. Regardless, he was living in Los Angeles again by May 1938. Around April 1940, he moved in with his aunt and uncle in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked as a mechanic.
Service Time: Soon after moving to Arizona, Six volunteered for the U.S. Army. On May 2, 1940, he and five other men departed Phoenix for unknown Cavalry units at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was presumably assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division there. A photograph of Lieutenant Six taken around 1943 shows him wearing Cavalry insignia, suggesting that attended Cavalry Officer Candidate School (O.C.S.) and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, probably on November 13, 1942 based on his Individual Deceased Personnel File (I.D.P.F.).
By the beginning of World War II, the horse cavalry was obsolete; many cavalrymen ended up serving in other units. Some ended up assigned to the nascent Tank Destroyer Force. Doctrine held that tank destroyers would counter enemy armored breakthroughs like those that led to the collapse of France in 1940. In January 1942, the Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center transferred from Fort George G. Meade, Maryland to Killeen, Texas, site of the future Camp Hood. A staging area and temporary headquarters were established in nearby Temple. Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that in 1942, Six was stationed with the Tank Destroyer Force in Bell County, Texas, where he met his future wife.
On January 6, 1943, Six married Anna Doris Lasater (1924–2007) at her parents’ home in Temple, Texas. Lieutenant Six went overseas later that same year. When their son, Lanny Roy Six, was born on January 1, 1944, Lieutenant Six was stationed in Italy. Tragically, Lanny Roy died of pneumonia on January 10, 1944, at King’s Daughters Hospital in Temple. After services at the Lasater residence, Lanny Roy was buried at Hillcrest Cemetery.
2nd Lieutenant Six joined Company “B,” 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion at the Anzio beachhead as a platoon commander on February 12, 1944. (He transferred from Company “A,” but it is unclear how long he was with the 894th in total.) Anzio, an amphibious operation intended to circumvent strong German defensive lines near Cassino, had quickly bogged down in the face of strong counterattacks. Even during lulls in the fighting, German antipersonnel bombs and artillery fire rained down on the beachhead.
On February 19, 1944, Lieutenant Six was killed when he was struck in the chest by a fragment from a German artillery shell that exploded above his position. Lieutenant Six rests at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy (Plot C, Row 8, Grave 1).
Six’s widow, Anna, remarried on October 11, 1947, to William “Billy” Connell (1921–2001), with whom she raised a son and a daughter. She completed her bachelor’s degree while raising her children and began a career in education. Initially, she worked as an elementary school teacher. Anna’s daughter, Melissa, recalls that her mother “continued her education, earning a master’s and PhD in Education. She was an elementary math consultant and lastly an elementary school principal…..she was a positive influence to many teachers and students.” Dr. Connell died in 2007, aged 83.
In addition to Lowell, special thanks go to Melissa Connell for providing photos of Lieutenant Six and her mother. Thanks also to Mary Duke for uncovering an article that provided the date and location of Lieutenant Six’s marriage, newspaper articles about his son’s funeral, and for uncovering records showing where his son was buried. Thank you to Find A Grave contributor, John Richter, for the use of the grave marker photo.