Peregory, Frank Dabney, born 10-04-1916, in Esmont, Virginia, the son of James Eligh Peregoy (1892-1935) and Susie Allen (1890-1931). Frank grew up with 10 siblings, and his mother passed away in 1931, only age 41 and his father in 1935, only age 43. On 03-02-1941, Frank enlisted in the National Guard in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a Private First Class. He married Bessie Geneva Kirby in Charlottesville, Virginia on 05-07-1941.
When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, after the attackm on Pearl Harbor Frank’s unit was activated as a part of the U.S. Army’s 29th Division under command of Major General Leonard Townsent Gerow and began training for participation in the war. While patrolling a beach in North Carolina shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Frank rescued a drowning comrade. In recognition of his action and disregard of danger to himself, Frank was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the highest non-combat award that a soldier can receive for saving a life.
The 29th Division was then sent overseas to train in Scotland and England for the next two years. The 29th Division was selected along with the Regular Army’s 1st Infantry Division under command of Major General Clarence Ralph Huebner, to attack one of five fortified beaches, code named “Omaha.” On June 6, 1944, after the assault had been postponed several times, T/Sgt. Frank Peregory landed with the 116th U.S. Infantry “Bedford Boys” as part of the Normandy invasion, also known as D-Day. His unit was among the first wave of troops to assault the beach, but despite fierce enemy resistance that included heavy shelling and machine gun fire, his unit made its way to the town of Grandcampe by 08-06-1944.
While his unit advanced on the German defenses, the leading elements of his unit began receiving fire from German forces. The Germans were firmly entrenched on high ground overlooking the town and were able to inflict severe damage to allied forces as they approached. Numerous attempts to neutralize the enemy position by supporting artillery and tank fire had proved ineffective until Frank risked his own life by advancing up the hill under heavy enemy fire. He worked his way to the crest of the hill where he discovered an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications 200 yards away. Without hesitating, Frank leaped into the trench and moved toward the emplacement. When he encountered a squad of enemy riflemen, Frank attacked them with hand grenades and his bayonet, killing 8 and forcing 3 to surrender. Frank then continued along the trench, forcing more than 32 German soldiers to surrender, including the machine gunners. This action opened the way for the leading elements of the battalion allowing them to advance and secure its objective. For Frank’s actions at Grandcampe, he was recommended and approved for the Medal of Honor.
Frank’s Medal of Honor citation reads: “On 8 June 1944, the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry under command of Major General Charles Draper William Canham was advancing on the strongly held German defenses at Grandcampe-Maisy, France, when the leading elements were suddenly halted by decimating machine gun fire from a firmly entrenched enemy force on the high ground overlooking the town. The extraordinary gallantry and agressiveness displayed by T/Sgt. Peregory are exemplary of the highest tradition of the armed forces.”
On 17-01-1946, the 29th Infantry Division was deactivated, 28,776 soldiers were killed, wounded, taken prisoner or missing.
Six days later on 14-06-1944, Frank, age 28, was killed while fighting in the hedgerows. He is buried at the American Battle Monuments Cemetery in Normandy, also known as Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer Basse-Normandie Region, France. The grave of Frank Dabney Peregoy (aka Peregory) is located in section G, row 21, grave 7.