PRE-WWII 116th INFANTRY FOOTLOCKER IDENTIFIED TO R.P. LACY, Co. F

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Item Code: 945-364

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A pre-World War Two era army footlocker in good condition, olive drab in color with an owner’s name painted in white on the top: “R.P. Lacy / Scottsburg, VA” at left, and “Co. F / 116th INF” at right. Measures 29.75” wide, 15.5” deep, and 12.5” tall. The leather handles, hinges, clasps and lock are all in place and solid, though with some wear to the leather. The inner tray is missing, but the trunk is very good overall with just minor scuffs.

The 116th has a long lineage in the Virginia militia, tracing its roots back to companies serving in the French and Indian War and every American conflict thereafter, including service in the 5th and 52nd Virginia in the Civil War. Their incarnation as the 116th dates to World War One, when they served in the 29th Division and saw action starting in the Haute-Marne sector, where Co. F was heavily engaged, and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, losing 198 killed and 59 mortally wounded. Perhaps its best-known combat experience, however, was in World War Two, where Company F was in the first assault wave on D-Day on Omaha Beach, assigned to land at the sector named “Dog Red,” where they attacked the heavily defended German positions at Les Moulins.

The regiment had returned to the U.S. and been demobilized in 1919. In 1921, however, former units of the regiment were again united and again designated the 116th in 1922 with headquarters at Staunton and then Lynchburg. They conducted annual summer training from 1931 to 1938, and participated in army maneuvers at Manassas in 1939. We suspect this trunk dates to this inter-war period. We find a Roy Preston Lacy who was born in Scottsburg, Va., on September 4, 1899, and was living there in 1935. This would fit the period and explain the lack of a serial number painted on the trunk and the use of his hometown since the regiment was still acting as a state national guard unit. We know Lacy subsequently moved to Columbus, Ga., where he died at age 43 on July 4, 1943, and was buried back in Scottsburg. We do not believe he had active federal service in World War One or Two. His 1918 and 1942 draft registration cards indicate that he had lost four fingers from his left hand.  [SR]

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