The newest acquisition to the DRHS collection is a pair of World War II dog tags assigned to Charles Fremont (“Monty”) Shirley of Duxbury. Charles was the eldest child of Dr. John Newton and Clara Shirley of Chester Street born April 19, 1917. He attended Partridge Academy in Duxbury, where he was Secretary for his class, played on the basketball team, participated in school plays and was on the Dance Committee. In the 1935-36 yearbook, Charles said his favorite occupation was “Fireflght’ng [sic]” and his ambition… well, he humorously replied “None (It doesn’t pay).”
Charles and his two brothers, Maurice and John, all served during World War II. Charles enlisted in the Army in March of 1941 and served until 1945. Sargent Charles Shirley was stationed in Guadacanal, where the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan took place in August of 1942 and lasted until the Japanese abandoned their efforts to retake the island, evacuating their remaining forces in February of 1943. After coming home for a while on leave in 1944, Charles Shirley was sent to Camp Edwards, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He returned home from the war in September of 1945. He then went on to marry Mary Louise Lloyd of New Hampshire in 1947 and had three children. At the time of his marriage, he worked as an electrician and Mary was a school teacher. He died on March 19, 1974 and is buried at Mayflower Cemetery.
These dog tags are one of the few artifacts we have in relation to Duxbury during World War II, and the first set of dog tags we’ve ever acquired to the DRHS collection. So much can be learned from a small 2” bit of aluminum stamped with a name. Small, personal items like this one tell a very real, Duxbury-related story, and are exactly why we continue to collect – and have the opportunity to share these stories with all of you. If you or anyone you know is interested in donating to the collection, please feel free to contact us today!