William Crawford Webb, born July 30 1907, was the twelfth of thirteen children born Mary Jane “Mollie” Patten and John Thomas Webb. He was born near Ray City,GA (fka Ray’s Mill) and grew up on his father’s farm in the 1329 Georgia Militia District where, along with his ten brothers, he helped with the farm labor.
Several of his brothers served in the military. One brother, Shellie Loyd Webb, was killed in the sinking of the Otranto during World War I. It was not until 1928, when William was 21 years old, that his brother’s body was brought home from Islay, Scotland (see The Long Trip Home.)
During World War II, William C. Webb joined the Army enlisting on April 3, 1943 at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, GA. He served as a Private, First Class in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Force. By December of 1943 he was at Drew Field, Tampa Florida.
That Christmas the base newspaper, The Drew Field Echo, ran a headline story on the new base hospital. “It is the U. S. Army Medical Corps which keeps ’em healthy,” the paper said.
The story continued, “In the Station Hospital at Drew Field, the medical staff consists of doctors, dentists, sanitary engineers, veterinary officers, administrative officers, nurses, and highly trained enlisted men of all ranks and grades. The entire staff is bound together by a common ideal — to remove the fetters of disease and injury from the men in training in order to make them more effective combatants on the far-flung battle fields of the global war.”
His corps was honored in the Christmas paper, but Christmas was not to be for William Crawford Webb. In late December, he had been furloughed and had gone home to Ray City, GA. Following a tragic accident, he was classified DNB by the Army – “Died, Non-Battle.”
His obituary ran in the Nashville Herald:
The Nashville Herald
January 4, 1944
PFC William Crawford Webb Passed Away in Atlanta, Dec 23
PFC William Crawford Webb, 37, died a the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta Saturday afternoon December 23 at 1 o’clock following injuries received when he fell out of a car enroute from Ray City to Moody Field a fews days earlier in the week.
PFC Webb had spent his entire life in this county before entering the U.S. Army in April, 1942. He was the son of the late J. T. Webb and Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City. In 1927 he was married to the former Miss Doris Knight, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lester Knight.
At the time of the accident PFC Webb was at home on furlough and had been stationed at Drew Field, Tampa Fla. in the Medical Corps. Following his injury he was rushed to the hospital at Moody Field and then carried by plane to the hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Funeral services were held December 26 at 3:30 o’clock at Pleasant Church in Berrien County. Rev. Charlie Vickers of Nashville, and Elder John Davis of Pearson, conducting the services. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Survivors include beside the wife nine children. Terrell, Heyward, Louise, Donald, Thomas, Bennie K., Jimmie, Linda, and Dean, all at home, his mother, Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City, and nine brothers, Dr. M. L. Webb and L. O. Webb of Tifton, L. H. Webb, H. P. Webb, and M. B. Webb of Ray City; H. W. Webb of Valdosta, U. T. Webb, J. T. Webb of Miami, Fla., and Sgt. Homer Webb of U. S. Army, Ill.