Monteith, “Jimmie” James Walter, born 01-07-1917 in Low Moor, Virginia. His family moved to Richmond, Virginia, when he was nine years old. After elementary school, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where he played a year each of varsity football and varsity basketball. Known in high school as “Punk,” he graduated in 1937. He attended Virginia Polytechhnic Institute and state University (VPI) for two years, 1937–1939, majoring in mechanical engineering. While at VPI, he was a member of K Battery in the corps of cadets and the Richmond Sectional Club. He returned to Richmond at the end of his sophomore year and worked as a field representative for the Cabell Coal Company, where his father was vice president. He was drafted into the army in October 1941 and sent to Camp Croft, South Carolina, for basic training. During basic training, he was promoted to corporal and applied for officer training. He was accepted and sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, completing the course in March 1942, when he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He was then transferred to Fort McClellan, Alabama, where he helped train the 15th Battalion. In February 1943, he was transferred into the 30th Division at Camp Blanding, Florida, to begin training in preparation for being shipped overseas to fight in the war. In April 1943 he was shipped to Algeria, where he joined the 1st Division, nicknamed “The Big Red One”or “The Fighting First”
. The division moved to Sicily in July 1943, and he received a field promotion to 1stLieutenant during the campaign. The division moved to England in November 1943 to prepare for the Normandy invasion. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, near Colleville-sur-Mer, France. 1st Lieutenant Monteith landed with the initial assault waves on the coast of France under heavy enemy fire. Without regard to his own personal safety he continually moved up and down the beach reorganizing men for further assault. He then led the assault over a narrow protective ledge and across the flat, exposed terrain to the comparative safety of a cliff. Retracing his steps across the field to the beach, he moved over to where 2 tanks were buttoned up and blind under violent enemy artillery and machine gun fire. Completely exposed to the intense fire, 1st Lieutenant Monteith led the tanks on foot through a minefield and into firing positions. Under his direction several enemy positions were destroyed. He then rejoined his company and under his leadership his men captured an advantageous position on the hill. Supervising the defense of his newly won position against repeated vicious counterattacks, he continued to ignore his own personal safety, repeatedly crossing the 200 or 300 yards of open terrain under heavy fire to strengthen links in his defensive chain. When the enemy succeeded in completely surrounding 1st Lieutenant. Monteith and his unit and while leading the fight out of the situation,
Death and burial ground of Monteith, James Walter “Jimmie”.
1st Lieutenant Monteith was killed by enemy fire. The courage, gallantry, and intrepid leadership displayed by 1st Lieutenant Monteith is worthy of emulation. The 1st Infantry Division of the United states Army the oldest division in the United States Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917. It was officially nicknamed the The Big Red One after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed The Fighting First. However, with typical soldier gallows humour, the division has also received troop monikers of The Big Dead One and The Bloody First as puns on the respective officially-sanctioned nicknames. It is currently based at Fort Rilley, Kansas. Other commanders Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen from August 42 – July 43, Major General Clarence R. Huebner from July 43 – December 44, Major General Clift Andrus, from December 44 – Augustus 46. Casualties during the European campaign, 4.411 killed in action, 7.201 wounded in action, 1.056 missing or died of wounds. Monteith is buried at the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Basse-Normandy, France. His grave can be found in Section I, row 20, grave 12.