Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Randle Brothers of Neosho, Missouri
My book Postcard Memories From World War II includes a chapter about the Hoffer family of Monroe, Michigan, who had four sons in the war. Two of them, Woodrow and Marion, were killed in action just seven weeks apart. I learned of the Hoffers through a postcard written by Woodrow.
Another postcard has led me to yet another set of four brothers who served in the war, but despite my best efforts over a two-year period I’ve been unable to find any surviving relatives. They are the Randle brothers of Neosho, Missouri – Bill, Robert, Durant, and Jack -- all of whom served in the Navy. The postcard was written by Bob to their parents in 1942. Bob Randle was a Navy pilot. In his postcard he said he was about to fly a new plane, and his message reflected a young man’s joy at being a pilot. He wrote, “These new ones are dandies.”
According to an article in the Joplin Globe on April 25, 1945, the Randle brothers were part of a large contingent of Navy men from Neosho. The article said:
Lieutenant Bill Randle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Randle of Neosho, has been assigned to duties as combat pilot of a twin-tailed P-38 Lightning fighter plane in the Fifteenth Air Force. On his first mission recently, Lieutenant Randle participated in dive-bombing of a railroad bridge in Austria. He is one of three from Neosho High School football teammates flying in the same group. The others are Lieutenant Paul F. Forster and Lieutenant Boone A. Haddock. All are authorized to wear the Distinguished Unit Citation badge. He has three brothers in the service: Lieutenant Robert Randle, a Navy Hellcat pilot; Ensign Durant D. Randle, naval deck officer; and Lieutenant (j.g.) Jack Randle of the Navy Transport Command.
From what I’ve been able to piece together from newspaper articles and genealogical records, two of the brothers, Robert and Jack, made a career of the Navy. All of the brothers have passed away – Bill in 1990, Bob in 1994, Durant in 2009, and Jack in 2013.
All my efforts to find relatives have hit dead ends. Maybe someone who knows the Randles will somehow stumble across this blog and help me return the postcard to the family. In the meantime, I’ll keep on looking.