JOHN D. MAGRATH PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection documents Magrath's Medal of Honor award and the monuments erected in his honor. Materials span 1943 to 2000 and include newspaper clippings, citations, orders, memorial service programs and manuscript drafts. Limited correspondence completes the collection.
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
The son of Gerry C. and Anna Magrath, John David Magrath was born in East Norwalk, Connecticut July 4, 1924. He took up scouting in 1937 and earned twenty-one merit badges. As a Boy Scout, he served as patrol leader, troop scribe and assistant scoutmaster for East Norwalk's troop 16. He became an Eagle Scout on February 8, 1943. Magrath was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, which sponsored the scout troop. He also sang in the church choir.
Magrath entered the U.S. Army during his junior year in high school along with three friends. The four young men were all members of the Norwalk Ski Club who volunteered in order to join the ski troops. Magrath was sworn in on March 4, 1943 at Hartford Connecticut. Two of his brothers, Gerry and William, were already serving in the U.S. Army.
Magrath joined the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colorado and continued his training at Camp Swift, Texas. Initially, Magrath was assigned to the 86th Infantry Regiment, where he served in Companies A, F and M. Later, he transferred to the 85th Infantry Regiment, Company G.
Magrath served as a radio operator during combat operations in Italy. On April 14, 1945 Company G was ordered to attack German positions on Hill 909 near the town of Castel d'Aiano. The attack bogged down under intense German artillery fire, which caused numerous casualties. Magrath volunteered to accompany his company commander on a reconnaissance. When they encountered German small-arms fire, Magrath charged the German positions with only his rifle. He is credited with single-handedly silencing several enemy machine gun emplacements with a captured German machine gun. Later that day, Magrath volunteered to make contact with each platoon in the company to compile a casualty report. While moving under heavy artillery fire, he was killed in action.
For his gallantry, Magrath was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was the only member of the 10th Mountain Division, and the only citizen of East Norwalk, Connecticut to be so honored during World War II. A monument in his honor was dedicated at Fort Riley, Kansas on August 17, 1955, and an elementary school at Norwalk, which opened March 15, 1956 was also named in his honor. Later, the school was purchased by the state of Connecticut for the site of the Norwalk Community College. The college maintains a memorial display in Magrath's honor.
Other Finding Aids
Gift, Mr. and Mrs. William B. Magrath (brother, sister-in-law), 1997.
Number of Boxes: 1 (.25 linear feet)
- Camp Hale (Colo.) Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Clippings (information artifacts). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Magrath, John David, -- 1924-1945 -- Archives.
- Manuscripts for publication. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Memorials. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Military maneuvers -- Cold weather conditions. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Military records Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, Inc.
- Ski troops. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Soldiers -- United States -- Correspondence. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States. -- Army. -- Mountain Division, 10th.
- United States. -- Army. -- Mountain Infantry Regiment, 85th.
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- JOHN D. MAGRATH PAPERS
- February 2009
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script