Search for Names Continues for WWII Memorial

"Interrupted Journey," the new World War II Memorial which was dedicated in a Memorial Day ceremony on the University of Washington campus, is a lasting tribute to the UW alumni, students, faculty and staff who gave their lives in World War II.

But work continues today on the memorial's most important part-researching the names of everyone from the UW community who died in the war.

Thousands of UW students, alumni, faculty and staff answered the recruiting call of posters such as this one during World War II. More than 500 never returned. Poster courtesy of the National Archives.

The UW World War II Memorial Committee is still seeking names and information about those who perished. Consulting University and state records, the committee is especially in need of everything from personal remembrances to the correct spelling of names or hometowns to help verify submissions. As of May, nearly 99 percent of the 550 names submitted and verified are students. The memorial committee is especially seeking submissions of names of faculty, staff and out-of-state students to ensure that everyone is recognized in this landmark memorial.

"Those of us working on researching the names never expected it to be as emotional as it has been," explains Carl Walske, '44, a member of the World War II Memorial Committee who has spearheaded the research. "It is sobering to hold in your hands the personal transcript of a young man who gave his life for his country."

"Interrupted Journey," designed by Seattle architect Jon Gierlich, is the centerpiece of a Memorial Plaza around the flagpole at the south end of Memorial Way on the UW campus. The $70,000 project was financed by private contributions.

The committee and other volunteers have spent months checking local and state records in their quest to list all the names of those who died. The research has turned up some fascinating details. Among them:

  • There were 63 UW students who were graduates of Roosevelt High School who died in the war. Of other Seattle high schools, 33 were from Lincoln, 32 from Broadway, 29 from Ballard, 25 from Garfield, 23 from Franklin, 23 from Queen Anne and 20 from West Seattle. Records also show that 18 were from Tacoma's Stadium High School and 12 from Yakima High School.
  • A father and son who were UW students-Edgar Raymond Attebery and Edgar Raymond Attebery Jr. -were both killed in action in the same year of the war. Lt. Col. Edgar Attebery was a chaplain who died in New Guinea in May 1944. His son was a paratrooper sergeant killed in action in France in September 1944.
  • Navy Ensign Robert Neal Brooke and Ensign Irvin Andrew Thompson died Dec. 7, 1941, in the sinking of the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Once the list of names is completed later this summer, they will be carved into plaques to be displayed adjacent to the memorial. Public Affairs Dean Emeritus Brewster Denny, '45, has headed up the effort for a World War II Memorial, which was originated at the War Years Class Reunion and has been a joint effort of the Purple and Gold Society and the UW Alumni Association.

To submit a name or to provide additional information on a UW student, faculty or staff member you believe died in World War II, or to make a donation, contact Alumni Relations Director Stepahnie Doyle, '89, at the UW Alumni Association, 1415 N.E. 45th St., Seattle WA 98105; phone: (206) 685-9274 e-mail:

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