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75 years ago, Barnesville was bracing for news from D-Day invasion

By Walter Geiger As home to an outstanding military college with many decorated veterans on its faculty, Barnesville was well aware the D-Day invasion of Normandy was imminent 75 years ago this week. By just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6 1944, everyone was tuned into their radios and street traffic was higher than normal as citizens discussed the turning point of the war, according to coverage in The News Gazette. Multiple local soldiers were known to be in England preparing for the invasion. They included three brothers, T.Sgt. Cleveland Zellner, Pfc. Preston Zellner and Pfc. Cornell Zellner. They were the sons of Mrs. and Mrs. R. G. Zellner of Redbone. Cleveland was in a tank unit while Preston was an artilleryman. Cornell was in the medical corps. Pvt. Thurman Bates, son of Mrs. E.C. Bates, and corporals M.H. Belote and Robert A. Belote were also in Britain. The Belote brothers were the sons of Lillian Belote. News of the first local deaths in Normandy came in late July. The first was Pvt. Marion Matthews, a paratrooper, who was killed in action on July 4. Sgt. Harold Wood died of wounds on July 13. Locals wounded in the early days of the invasion included Hugh Bishop, Tommy Summers, Reginald Johnson, Gene Waller, James E. Dorminey and James W. Peacock. News of three more KIA came in shortly thereafter. S.Sgt. Copeland Tyus was killed July 18. Pfc. Respus Moore died in action on July 27. Also killed was Pfc. Buster Lashley (no date listed).

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