William F. Madden

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My grandfather Hyman Dan Daniels became a Marine on January 29, 1942, after one year with the Army. He wanted more and wanted to do more to help the war effort, so he became a Marine. I am sure he didn't know where he was going but, I feel he was honored to go and serve his country. Right after Camp Lejune he was shipped out for the Pacific to some tiny island jungle filled with bugs and snakes and the enemy. He was assigned to the 22nd Marines 2nd Battalion Fox Company and obtained the rank as a platoon Sgt. I have seen many photos of his service buddies taken on islands such as Samoa, Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands. I am sure he made a great many friends that became his family because he was raised in an orphanage with his twin brother at the age of 9 after both there parents died. His brother George, decided to stay with the Army and fought in the European theater, while Dan was sent off to Okinawa, the last and greatest battle fought throughout the entire war. It was on that island infiltrated by mosquitoes, snakes and Japanese, constant bombardments, sniper attacks and kamikaze attacks at night through the camps my grandfather put his life on the line for one of his men.

PFC. William J. Madden. Enclosed is the front page newspaper article from the Malden News dated July 6, 1945. It reads as follows:


Brother-in-law of Lieut. Charlie O'Rourke of Navy and Football Fame Writes Home of Mishap in So Pacific and Credits Sergt Hyman "Dan" Daniels, Cousin of ALD Rosenblatt, With Saving His Life After Receiving Machine Gun Wounds. Daniels Himself Wounded.

A real story of heroism and suffering on the part of Malden boys in the So Pacific is told in a letter from Pfc. Wm. J. Madden, 21 Desmond rd, to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Madden. Pfc. Madden writes he was rescued form certain death after being thrice wounded by Japanese machine gun bullets, by his buddy, Sergt "Dan" Daniels, 34 Clayton St., cousin of ALD Rosenblatt, with whom he made his home before service.

Daniels Hit Performing Rescue. The Madden family had had no official word from their soldier son and were stunned when the letter came from a hospital cot on the Mariannas saying that he was gaining steadily from the machine gun bullet wounds in both legs and in the left elbow, on June 23. Pfc Madden wrote that he owed his life to his Marine buddy, Sergt "Dan" Daniels of Clayton St., who dragged him from the line of fire to a place of safety, administered first aid although he (Daniels) sustained a shattered elbow in the rescue. Both Marines have been serving in the South Pacific for many months and have been in six major engagements according to the letter. Sergt Daniels said nothing of his rescue work in his recent letter, but did mention that he had been wounded slightly. Pfc Madden is a native of this city left Malden High to join the Marines after graduating from the West Side Parochial school and has three brothers in the service: Lieut John R and Radioman Donald R. Madden both in the Navy located in the Pacific and Sergt Edwin J. Madden in France or enroute to theSouth Pacific.

My grandfather spent 5 months aboard hospital ships from his wounds and dengue fever till he was discharged. He received the Purple Heart for his injuries that day as well as PFC William Madden. I never had the chance to meet my grandfather nor did my mother. After being sent home he lived for a few more years, settled down, got married had 1 daughter and another on the way when he suffered a fatal heart attack due to never recuperating from Dengue Fever three weeks before my mother was born. In his belongings that were saved throughout his time in the war he saved this newspaper article that his cousin had saved and passed onto him, He spoke kindly of PFC Madden according to my grandmother. Their bond that day was a lasting friendship that continued till the day my grandfather died when, PFC William Madden and his brother honored my grandfather by attending his funeral. I have never met Mr. Madden nor have found him through several years of endless searching. This brown, tattered and torn, as well as taped, newspaper clipping passed on from my grandmother to my mother to me is and will always be treasured.


A few years after me posting this to Sgt. Grit's website I decided to give it one more go around.  I started to look more at Charlie O'Rourke in hopes to find out if William Madden's sister was still alive if not maybe a family member. 

I searched online and noticed that Charlie O'Rourke had a few mentions in web sites and that he was a College Football Hall of Fame member & he played professional football for the Bears, Los Angeles Dons, and the Baltimore Colts.  I found out  he had passed away in April 2000 which I then went and found his obituary which it listed his wife and several children.  I tried one of his daughters that were living in Natick and gave her a phone call. 

After contacting the daughter of Charlie O'Rourke & Mary (Madden) O'Rourke I had a phone call from another sibling this time of William F. Madden.  His sister Anne called saying she was the sister of Billy Madden.  She mentioned that her sister had called her and inquired if she remembered Dan Daniels, (my Grandfather) at that time Anne confirmed that she did recall him and she went on saying she is still living in Malden she moved back over the years and that Billly had passed away at the age of 56 of cancer.  Anne is  now 82 years old. She went on that Dan came over the house several times to have dinner and went to a few family functions even a wedding.  Billy was a messanger which he sent the mail from one company to the next and was badly injuried during the battle of okinawa, she also knew he was a flame thrower as well with is time with the 6th marine division.  She has some photographs of Billy which he lived in Malden till his death we spoke of her other brothers and how i came to look for her.  We then started to correspond by mail  and we agreed to send photographs and I would send the newspaper article that I have of the Malden Times 7/6/1945.  
Billy enlisted in the USMC when he was 17 got fixed up in the hospital on Okinawa and finished his duty with the USMC until discharge. 
Below is a letter dated 6-13-2004 from Anne:
Dear Karen,
   You probably thought I forgot all about you, but I received all the info you sent me and many thanks.
After many days of searching, I felt badly that I had no additional info to send you.  Finally I thought why not send all to my brother Don, in FL!  So I mailed him the whole "kit & kaboodle" to him.  Yesterday I received two snaps back from him.  He had Billy's englarged for you.  He also sent back Dan's snapshot.  I am enclosing both. 
According to Don, the picture (above) was taken in 1945 on Guadalcanal where they were on R&R after the Guam and Marshall Island battles.  He said to tell you he knew your granfather and he was a real nice man.  Billy was wounded near the capital city of Naha on Okinawa.  He was running a message after normal communications were taken out.  Don knew nothing of  Billy being saved by Dan, He and Billy rarely spoke of the war, so he cannot shed any light.  ( I have been taking this info from the letter Don wrote to me-word for word.)  He kept all the info you sent with the exception of Dan's picture.  Should you need any of it you could write to him. 
Karen, I hope the enclosed picture of Billy and Dan will add a little more to your records.  I am much happy to have helped in a small way.
Just as an aside, I had 4 brothers, but Billy was always my favorite and we were close when he returned.  He was shot in both legs and his elbow.  He never spoke about his experiences.  War took its toll on him.  He did not marry and spent his life being generous and helping others.  I still miss him.
                                                                    Be happy & God Bless
                                                                      Anne Harrington
                                                                May 4, 1922-August 8, 2012