With tears in my eyes, I think back to when there was a knock at the front door.
There was a man from the War Department with a telegraph announcing that Paul, my brother
was missing in action.
Paul Wilderson Trump was born on November 7, 1922, in Pike County, Kentucky.
He was the second son of James Owen Trump and Ovela Spears Trump.
His Dad was from Lavender, VA and his Mother was from Hurley, VA.
She had been working and living in Devon, WV, before she met and married James.
He was working nearby for the Norfolk & Western Railway.
After the marriage in 1919, they moved to Virginia and lived with his parents, Owen
and Bettie Trump.
Later when they had set up housekeeping on Elliott Creek, Ovela had become homesick
for her family.
So they moved to Kentucky, across the river from Devon, where they lived for several
years and Paul was born there.
Later they moved back to the farm on Elliott Creek.
They had a garden, cows, raised chickens, pigs and beef for their growing family.
James, his father was away on his job most of the week and came home on weekends.
As the boys grew older, many chores were added to their duties.
Farming was very hard and took up most of their time.
However, there was always time for some leisure and fun.
Paul loved to hunt especially for squirrels.
Also, he would fish and gig on many warm summer nights.
He set traps for mink, muskrats and later selling their fur pelts for spending money.
He would get up in the early mornings when it was still dark, he carried a lantern swinging
it along the edge of the creek bank.
He was tending his trapline, looking for any catch and later he would help milk the cows
before getting ready for school.
After breakfast, he would trudge on the road to school.
He always smiled or waved if he saw anybody on the way to or from school.
Sometimes on the way home he would drop in to say hello if he had any time to spare.
He was good-looking, fun loving, loved to joke and tease which was a huge part of his personality.
Paul was talent, he played the violin, accordion, harmonica and the combs.
He always looked forward to visits from his city cousins.
He would share what he had learned in the past year, sometimes shocking them with his antics.
Shawsville High School
When Eslie, his brother and Paul were old enough to go to school, his parents, moved the family
to Shawsville, so they would be close to school and not have to walk so far.
As the boys grew older, they would play along the nearby railroad tracks.
There was concern for their safety, so the family moved back to their home on Elliott Creek.
Then they went to Alleghany Springs School for several years, before Eslie started driving the
family car to Shawsville High School.
After graduation Paul worked for the Radford Arsenal until 1942.
There was a war going on in Europe and had become intensified with saturated bombing,
fighting and loss of lives.
It was on December 7, 1941 that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
Our President Roosevelt declared war on Japan and Germany.
Since our country was at war and Paul felt he would be drafted into the Army soon.
So he and Eslie went to the Air Corps Office and took the test for that branch of service.
Paul passed but Eslie made 169, requirement was 170 or better.
On Nov 6, 1942, Paul reported at Camp Lee, VA and 6 days later he was sent to Miami Beach.
After four weeks of training he was sent to Amarillo, TX.
He continued his training in Texas and Arizona and was promoted many times before he
became Technical Sergeant.
He came home on his first and only leave for several weeks in September 1943.
After his return to TX, he was sent to England, arriving at Deenethorpe Airfield on Dec 23, 1943.
Back row (l-r): PAUL W. TRUMP - Frank E. Keeney - Richard G. Thill - Gilbert Prager - Edward J. Phillips.
Front row : Robert O. Stine - Robert J. Kehoe - Lee S. Miller Jr - Walter P. Empric.
He enjoyed being in England, told of the shortage of items there.
He especially enjoyed the boxes of candy that Daddy would send to him so he could share
with his buddies.
He had become so concerned that he had not heard from Theo Perdue, his fiance since he arrived.
They had gotten engaged on his leave in September.
Finally, in one of his last letters in March 1944, he said she had written.
The British and the American campaign of saturated bombing increased in intensity where
thousands of planes raided with the destruction of Germany cities, they were constantly
hammering from the air.
On April 11, 1944, they left England in their B-17 (Flying Fortress) the plane was loaded for a
mission to targets on Politz, Poland and Sorau, Germany.
However, less than five miles out of Hanover, Germany, their mission was doomed.
The plane was damaged by enemy antiaircraft fire and exploded in midair, and fell to the earth.
There were two lucky men who survived, but they were taken prisoners for the remainder of
the war, which was horrible.
Although the war did not end until May 2, 1945, we still had hopes and continued until
many years later.
In 2001, one of his sisters, Ann and her husband, Herb were visiting in Amsterdam and were
in Margraten Cemetery and Memorial, when Ann saw Paul's name engraved on the wall.
This came as a big surprised because no one in the family knew it was there until then.
Paul had won several medals, the Oak Leaf Cluster, two Air Medals and the Purple Heart.
His body was never recovered.
Wall of missing, Margraten, Netherlands
Paul was survived by his parents, four brothers and four sisters, all living in VA.
Many thanks to Helen Trump Johnson for this story.