Darrell Jay Nunley was born August 15, 1914 in Elsinore, Sevier County, Utah.He was known as Jay. He moved with his family to Salt Lake. After graduating from high school about 1932, Jay worked for the Bingham Copper Company, where he was a "tripper."Bingham Copper Company is most likely the Utah Copper Company (later Kennicott Copper Corporation) which operated the copper mines in Bingham Canyon, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.It is the world's largest open-pit copper mine.
Jay Nunley enlisted in the US Army in 1941, and he was killed in action in Italy in 1944.His gravesite was moved from Italy to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, V_289_12, in Salt Lake city, Utah, where he was buried on March 21, 1949 next to his father and mother.
OBITUARY: "S.L. GUNNER KILLED IN ITALY ACTION: SERVED WITH TANK UNIT IN AFRICAN AND SICILIAN BATTLES.
Corp. Darrell J. Nunley, 29, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Nunley, 608-3rd East, was killed in action in Italy June 27, (1944) his family learned Wednesday. He was born Aug. 15, 1914, in Elsinore, Sevier County, son of James W. and Marie Christenson Nunley. He moved with his family to Salt Lake City while an infant. He attended Roosevelt lower division high school and was graduated from West High School.
He entered the service March 18, 1941, trained at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, and was assigned to an armored division overseas in April 1942. He was a tank gunner and a veteran of the African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns.He is survived by his parents; a daughter Sharon Joy, 6, and four sisters, Mrs. Ray Powell, Tooele; Mrs. Robert Ketner, Riverside, Cal., and Dean Nunley, Salt Lake City."
Jay Nunley was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment, of the 1st Armored Division ("Old Iron Sides").1st Armored Division was formed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky on July 15, 1940 (where Jay trained in 1941-1942).The 1st Armored Division is the only armored division listed in military histories serving both in the African campaigns in 1942-1943 and the Italian campaigns during June 1944. However, the 2nd Armored Division appears to be the only armored unit in Sicily during 1943. The 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions formed the I Armored Corp.
May 1942-November 1942:
The 1st Armored Division sailed from New York on May 10, 1942 on the HMS Queen Mary, arriving in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland on May 16, 1942. This was the first voyage of the Queen Mary on a high-speed unescorted movement of troops to the British Isles. Personnel were moved by lighter to Dundrum Bay, Baallykinler and Newcastle in County Down, North Ireland where the 1st Division was re-equipped and trained. Beginning in September 1942, elements of the Division were staged forward to England for transfer to North Africa, with the remainder arriving on October 29, 1942 . Some elements reached North Africa on November 8, 1942; the remainder arrived on December 22.
Nov 1942- May 1943:
The 1st Armored Division was the first US Armored Division to see combat as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa,landing at Oran on November 8, 1942.It was under the command of Gen. George S. Patton, along with elements of the 2nd Armored Division (formed July 15, 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia). Elements of the 2d Armored Division ("Hell on Wheels") first saw action in North Africa, landing at Casablanca on November 8, 1942 and later taking part in the fighting at Beja, Tunisia.
The 1st Division, trying to hold the town of Teboura, was forced to fall back to the El Guessa Heights, where it suffered heavy casualties and loss of equipment. After re-equipping, the Division fought numerous actions at Maknassy, El Guettar, and Gafsa.US and British armored divisions soon collided with Gen. Rommel's famed Afriker Corp at the Kasserine Pass. The 1st Division sustained heavy personnel and equipment losses in this action, and was beaten back. After three months of fierce fighting, the Germans surrendered to the US and British forces in North Africa and Tunisia in May 1943.The 1st Armored Division, suffering from heavy equipment and personnel loss from its drive across North Africa, was then reorganized and re-equipped in French Morocco. 2nd Armored Division received first priority, as it was gearing up for the invasion of Sicily.By September, 1st Armored Division was ready for action in Italy.
United States and British troops invaded Sicily under the command of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower; the US 7th Army troops under Gen. George S. Patton departing from Algeria and Tunisia. The 2nd Armored Division is listed as being engaged in this Sicily campaign.We know that Jay Nunley served in Sicily after Africa, and before Italy.I see no mention of the 1st Armored Division being in Sicily in their Division History. He was therefore most likely assigned in the 2nd Armored Division while in Sicily, while the 1st Armored was being re-equipped in North Africa.
Gen. Patton's US 7th Army forces entered Messina, Sicily, and Sicily fell to the Allies.The 2nd Armored Division at this point went to England with Patton, in preparation for the Normandy Beach D-Day invasion. Jay Nunley, however, is off to Italy, where the 1st Armored Division will be engaged. Perhaps, if he was assigned to the 2nd Armored while in Sicily,he was re-assigned back to the 1st Armored Division for action in Italy?
55,000 British and US Troops, under the command of Gen. Mark Clark, US 5th Army, depart from Algeria and land at Salerno, Italy (south of Naples).Some troops were evidently transferred from Sicily to Naples (I have a map showing such troop movements). They meet strong German resistance, under the command of Field General Kesselring. The 1st Armored Division was a key part of the invasion, landing at Salerno and Paestum from North Africa.Jay Nunley was most likely now assigned in 1st Armored Division in Italy.
October 1943- December 1943:
Italy, previously allied with Germany, switches sides and declares war on Germany on October 13, 1943. The Germans disarm their former allies and execute many Italian troops.
Due to stubborn defense by the Germans against Allied advances, the 5th Army Allied forces have only advanced 70 miles from Salerno toward Rome. The 1st Armored Division attacked and broke through the famed "Winter Line," near Monte Cassino and the Rapido River, but the Allied troops are stalemated. Allied soldiers endured icy winds and torrential rains, and ate cold rations.
January 1944- April 1944:
Units of the 1st Armored Division on 4 - 9 January, 1944 attacked and seized Mount Porchia, suffering heavy casualties.On Jan 22nd, 50,000 British and US troops under the command of Gen. Lucas, US 6th Corps, landed behind enemy lines at Anzio beachhead from an assembly point near Naples. The 1st Armored Division was deployed to the Anzio beachhead, landing January 24.They meet fierce German resistance and are bogged down on the Anzio beachhead for four months.
The 1st Armored Division made the first assault out of the beachhead on May 23, losing over 100 armored vehicles on the first day. The US 6th Corps finally breaks free from the Anzio beachhead and meets up with the advancing US 5th Army.
On June 4, units of Gen. Mark Clarks' 5th Army, spearheaded by the 1st Armored Division, entered Rome. Throngs of Romans poured into the streets to give long columns of American soldiers and tanks a tumultuous welcome!
The D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach began on June 9, 1944 in France.
After the liberation of Rome, the Allied forces pressed the German divisions northward. The Germans withdrew, fighting as they went, to the "Gothic Line" north of Florence and the Arno River.The Fifth Army (including the 1st Armored Division) set as its immediate goal the capture of the port of Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome, and to capture of the airfields at Viterbo, with a longer term goal of seizing the triangle of Pisa-Lucca-Pistoia on the Arno River. By June 21, the Germans had been pushed 110 miles north of Rome in a slow, bitter advance.
ON JUNE 27, 1944, CORP. DARRELL JAY NUNLEY WAS KILLED IN ACTION.
He was killed by a mine explosion in the vicinity of Osteria, Italy (about 60 miles north of Rome, near Viterbo).
In late June, the 1st Armored Division was heavily engaged about 20 kilometers south of Volterra (west of Siena) in Tuscany.Shortly after, Cecina was captured on July 1, Siena on July 3, and on July 8, Volterra fell to the 1st Armored Division.
After reinforcements arrived, the Allies launched a major attach on the Gothic Line north of Florence and the Arno River on August 25, 1944, and by the end of the month had broken through. Fighting continued in the Appenines and Po Valley until April 1945, when the Germans surrendered in Italy. The Italian campaign was critical to the overall war effort, as it tied up 26 Divisions of German troops that could have been diverted to France or the Eastern Front.It paved the way for the successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, and secured airfields for the bombardment of Germany.
Corp. Darrell Jay Nunley received the following medals:
Purple Heart Medal
Bronze European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
WW II Victory Medal
Honorable Service Lapel Button WW II
Good Conduct Medal
1st Armored Division received a Presidential Unit Citation for action at Orun, Algeria; and a second award for action at Mount Porchia, Italy.