Katherine Rothwell

US Civilian - WW II

 

Born:  28 October 1945 - Date of death: 14 November 1945  (18 days old)

Buried: Plot C, Row 32, Grave 10 - Ardennes American Cemetery - Belgium 

 

Father:

ROTHWELL William Thomas

Born: June 13, 1911 in Brooklyn, NY

Date of death: March 23; 1976, buried in Long Island National Cemetery

Service N°: 32516329, T5 - 748th Field Artillery, chauffeur and cook.

Widower from Mae Rothwell

 

Mother:

FAUVEL Marie Louise, French citizen.

Born: November 26, 1918 in Paris, France

Date of death: September 25, 1980, buried in Long Island National Cemetery under the same headstone as her husband William

 

(Photo's of the headstones: courtesy of the Long Island National Cemetery)

William Rothwell married Marie Louise Fauvel in the 16th Arrondissement in Paris, France on December 26, 1945, his release date from the army.

 

Katherine's siblings:

  1. Rothwell William Francis, half brother, born November 10, 1937, son of William and Mae Rothwell, still alive at this moment, living in Florida.
  2. Fauvel Francis; half brother, son of Fauvel Marie Louise (father unknown), died in 2010 in Paris.
  3. Fauvel Louise Paulette, half sister, born January 11, 1937, daughter of Fauvel Marie Louise (father unknown), still alive at this moment, living in South Carolina.

 

Biography:

Katherine was full term born on October 28, 1945 but after a few days she developed problems drinking her milk.

On November 10, 1945 at 22.00, she was 14 days old, Katherine was hospitalised at the 241st US General Hospital in Paris, France, Ward 23-24, she had severe diarrhea, her mother was with her. 

Despite all the good care her condition deteriorated and on November 14, 1945, at 04.30 she died due to respiratory failure.

At 05.00 she was baptised by the catholic chaplain.

 

1945

November 20 at 14.30: buried in USMC Solers, France, Plot J, Row 6, Grave 115

At internment in Solers the identification was made by Reverend Victor L. Vifquain (Captain)

 

1946

A law passed in 1946 but retroactive to apply to all persons born after December 7, 1941.

"A child who is born in a foreign country and one of whose parents is a US citizen acquires the status of US citizenship, provided the parent who is a US citizen resided at least 10 years in the US prior to the birth of the child, and further provided that at least 5 of the 10 years residence period occurred after reaching the age of 12 years."

It was not sure that the father of Katherine had these requirements but it was suggested that information be secured from AGO records to verify such period of residence, if possible.  It was also suggested that the father not be contacted in the course of securing evidence to determine eligibility in this case, except as a last resort.

"In the event it is determined that the decedent was a US citizen, since the remains are currently interred under US Army jurisdiction in a foreign country, it is recommended that the remains be considered eligible under Section 3."

 

1948

May 27: "Every available source has been tried to locate the next of kin without success."

July 30: disinterred in Solers, identification made by James Taylor, embalmer.

August 2: transfer to USMC Epinal, France, put in storage.

August 18: an administrative decision was made to bury overseas permanently on the following basis:

"In view of the fact that the decedent was only 18 days at time of death it is not considered wise to return remains to US in view of no request from the next of kin, nor is it considered wise to solicit expression of desire from the next of kin."

 

1949

May 4: reburied in USMC Epinal, France, Plot B, Row 35, Grave 52

July 22: remains of American infants interred in US WWII cemeteries overseas will be reburied in the US, Post Section of Long Island National.

November 14: Colonel Freeman, Chief Memorial Division, has gone over this entire problem personally and has approved the following action: directing the permanent burial in a permanent cemetery overseas.

November 15: IRS from liaison officer requests that remains be interred in Neuville, Belgium.  Request approved by Colonel Freeman and coordinates with the ABMC.

 

1950

May 8: Burial in the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot C, Row 32, Grave 10

Wrong date of death on the headstone, it says November 17, 1945 and it should be November 14, 1945, this date is on the hospital records.

 

After finding out her story I wanted to make sure to give the baby a new headstone with the correct date of death, this would be the last thing I could do for her. 

 

Since just about everybody told me I would not succeed and therefore got no help I figured it out myself, put a file together in July 2015, wrote a motivation with enough evidence to prove the correct date and send it to the ABMC.  On August 26, 2015 I got a letter saying the ABMC would look into the matter and on September 28, 2015 I got THE letter saying authorisation was granted to correct the date of death!

 

Her new headstone was placed in May 2016.

 

Conclusion:

Katherine was only 18 days old when she died but it took 4,5 years to reach her final resting place. Buried three times, disinterred twice and put in storage for 9 months. And it took another 66 years before she got her final headstone.