World War II Honor Roll

Reeves Charles Brittain

Private, U.S. Army


179th Infantry Regiment
45th Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: October 13, 1944
Buried at: Section 13, Row 5, Grave 4
                Berlin Cemetery
                White Horse Pike
                Berlin NJ
Awards: Purple Heart

PRIVATE REEVES CHARLES BRITTAIN was born at home in his parents house on Pennington Avenue in Atco, Waterford Township NJ on September 1, 1908. His parents were Reeves Alexander and Ida Boogar Brittain. His father, originally from Valley Forge PA, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War as a private in Co. D., 6th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, and worked as a telegrapher, and later as station master for the steam railroad that ran through Atco, Waterford Township NJ. The elder Brittain also owned a coal yard in town. His mother was a direct descendant of the Mayflower through Richard Warren , William Brewster , and Francis Cooke and son John Cooke. Reeves Charles Brittain was the third of eight children, coming after Elizabeth M. and Royal C., and before twins Marion Lee and Clayton Burt, Ida May, Ann Frances, and Donald Eric. All were born at home. After attending public school in Atco, Reeves C. Brittain attended Haddon Heights High School in Haddon Heights NJ, and graduated from Hammonton High School in Hammonton NJ.

In 1930 Reeves Charles Brittain worked as a truck driver in his father's coal yard, and he lived with his parents and siblings in the Pennington Avenue house in Waterford Township. He later went into farming, and owned a farm nearby on Chew Road. He married his high school sweetheart, Clara Slack sometime after the April 1930 census. His brother Clayton Brittain passed away on August 24, 1942. Reeves Brittain was drafted sometime after that. By that time he had remarried, to Ann La Noir. They made their home at 123 Atco Avenue in Atco, Waterford Township NJ. From their he would go to work his farm on Chew Road.

Private Reeves C. Brittain was called up on December 13, 1943. After basic training he was sent overseas as an infantry replacement, first to Italy and then to a replacement depot in France. It was here that he was assigned to the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.  In October of 1943 his unit was in Italy as part of the 5th Army. In mid-October, battle lines were drawn along the Volturno and Trigno Rivers. The Volturno itself was a formidable obstacle. Varying in width from 150 to 200 feet, and normally running 3 to 5 feet deep, the river was in flood stage and overflowing banks which were 5 to 15 feet high. Behind this barrier German general Heinrich von Vietinghoff placed the 35,000 men of the XIV Panzer Corps directly in front of Fifth Army, while the equally formidable LXXVI Panzer Corps opposed the British Eighth Army along the Trigno River. General Mark Clark ordered a general assault on the Volturno line for 13 and 14 October. It was during this assault that Private Reeves C. Brittain was killed in action on October 13, 1943 near Gransvillar, just a few days after having seen his first action. Another Atco resident who was serving in the 45th Infantry Division, Major James Pitman, would be killed in action on December 18, 1944.

News of his death was reported in the February 4, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post. He was survived by his wife, Ann Brittain, his parents, and surviving siblings. Reeves C. Brittain was brought home and buried at Berlin Cemetery on May 19, 1948. He is memorialized at the War Memorial at American Legion Post 311 in Atco NJ. 


May 17, 1948