Cudmore: Five Townsend brothers fought in World War II


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Five sons of Louis G. Townsend, Sr. and his wife Sarah BeyerTownsend of Tribes Hill served in the U.S. Army in World War II.

There were eleven Townsend children in all, six boys and five girls. Their father worked as an inspector at Bigelow Sanford Carpet Company.  The family home in Tribes Hill was on what was called Railroad Avenue and then was renamed Thompson Avenue. 

They lived near the railroad tracks on the way to the Mohawk River bridge that leads to Fort Hunter.  Their house was destroyed by fire after the Townsends had moved away.

All five brothers survived the war.  The last of the five to pass away was Louis Townsend, Jr., who had lived in Fort Johnson and who died in 2015 at the age of 93.  He was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Tribes Hill.

His wife, June Gage Townsend, died in 1988 and their daughter, Sally Townsend O’Neill, died in 1972.

Louis Townsend, Jr. earned the rank of technician third grade or staff sergeant in the war, serving in the jungles of New Guinea, fighting the Japanese in a hot and rainy climate.  He also took part in the invasion of the Philippines. He worked on military vehicles and spent three years overseas.  He was the last of the brothers to come home in 1946.

The first Townsend to enter military service was William, inducted in January 1941 before America entered World War II.  He was sent home that November.  The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December and William was recalled to active duty in January.  He served in Africa and Europe as part of the Military Police, traveling a great deal as a guard for German prisoners.  He rose to the rank of staff sergeant. 

The oldest Townsend brother, Halsey, was 40 and married, living in Fort Hunter when inducted in 1942.  Halsey was working for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad in Delanson.  In the Army as a corporal he was a signalman and trainmaster in Tehran on the Trans Iranian Railroad, which helped supply Russia during the war. 

Albert attained the rank of corporal with an armored division fighting in France, Germany and Central Europe.  He was badly burned in combat, requiring extensive hospital treatment. 

Hubert also earned the rank of corporal.  He spent the war years in France and Germany as a company clerk.  Albert and Hubert met up when they were overseas.

One Townsend brother-in-law also served in the Army.  William Kosboth was a medical corps man in Europe.  Kosboth had married one of the Townsend daughters, Marian Ethel.  He was part of the Normandy invasion and soldiered on in France and Germany. 

Back home Kosboth operated Fendly’s Gas Station in Fort Johnson, started by his stepfather.

In civilian life, Louis Townsend, Jr. worked at that gas station, then at Mohawk Carpet Mills and for many years in the custodial department at St. Mary’s Hospital, retiring in 1987.

Another Townsend daughter, Edith, was the wife of popular West End Amsterdam police officer Andy Nelson.  She rode behind Nelson on his personal motorcycle. 

When all the Townsend brothers and Kosboth had come back from the war in February 1946, a reunion was held at the home of their sister Jeanette, who had married Fred Newbold of Tribes Hill.

The newspaper account stated, “It is pointed out that six members from one family survived several important phases of World War II in all parts of the world, three of the sons making a complete trip around the world.”

The Townsend daughters not mentioned so far were Orthanette Bates and Florence Townsend.

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