Milford searches for families of seven men killed in World War II

MILFORD – Hartley William Harley was the first Milford man to be killed in action during World War II, fighting Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was the son of Webster and Lilly (Brown) Harley of Milford.

Howard Edward Sanford, the second Milford man to lose his life in the war, died after his ship was torpedoed. He was the son of Robert E. and Ethel (Chilson) Sanford and the husband of Marie Carder of Nashua.

Their names are memorialized in the name of the Milford Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Harley-Sanford Post, and yet they seem to have no descendents to attend a dedication ceremony for the town’s World War II Park in September.

And there was Carl Kenneth Bowen Jr., who graduated from West Point and was flying a new fighter plane solo in the summer of 1942 when it crashed on Haystack Mountain in Washington State. A funeral service with full military honors was held in Milford and several waves of bomber formations from Grenier Field passed over Riverside Cemetery.

And yet no family has been found for Bowen, either.

Volunteers who are planning the Sept. 7 ceremony want to invite descendents of all 13 Milford men who were killed in the war to be there and lay wreaths at the memorial, but so far they only found family members for six of the men.

They will ask a World War II veteran to do the honors.

“But it would be nice if a family member could do it,” said Carolina Lambalot of the Milford Garden Club in an email.

The other four men are

? George Warren Kimball, killed in bitter fighting on Okinawa as the Japanese made their last stand. He was the son of Oliver and Annie (Smith) Kimball of Milford.

? William Wallace Girardin Maxwell was the son of Clinton Maxwell and Irene (Girardin) Maxwell Doherty of Milford. He died of wounds suffered during a parachute jump in Belgium.

? Raymond Smith was the son of James L. and Mary Smith, who later moved to Ashby, Mass. He died of wounds suffered during fighting in France in 1945.

? Alan Edward Stitham was the son of Harry and Elizabeth (Connolly) Stitham. He did not see service while in the Seabees and died in the hospital from an unknown aliment.

A geneology search for the seven men by a librarian at the Wadleigh Memorial Library that went back to the 1940 census, Lambalot said, failed to find descendents.

Park rededication

On Sept. 7 the town will rededicate the park, which is just off the south side of the Oval.

Five hundred and fifty-three men and women from Milford served in the war, and their names are on the large monument, but there has been nothing at the park to let people know the names of the 13 men who died.

So, the Garden Club is having gold stars engraved by the names of the 13 men and also having the name of the park and its original dedication year engraved on the threshold of the park entrance.

Thirteen arborvitae, planted by the Milford Garden Club 65 years ago, were recently replaced with new trees by Bill Kucharski, a Milford arborist who has done volunteer work on the trees in Arlington National Cemetery.

This is a joint project of the Milford Garden Club, the Milford Improvement Team and the town of Milford.

Additional funding is needed, and anyone wishing to contribute to the event and/or the maintenance of the park and gardens may send their donation to Milford Improvement Team, 39 Nashua Street, Milford, NH 03055 and designate the donation for the World War II Memorial Park Committee.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com.