William Bayliss finally got his Purple Heart – 24 years after he was wounded on Iwo Jima.
It came through the mail a few days ago. He was wounded on Iwo Jima in April 1945.
During World War II, Bayliss was with the 147th Infantry Regiment of the 37th Division, which was attached to the Third Marine Division at the time it went into Iwo Jima. Bayliss was an automatic rifleman. He suffered shrapnel wounds in his back and legs along with phosphorous burns.
Bayliss had treatment right in the field and went back on ambush the same night.
About three months ago he wrote Washington, D.C., about the wounds and the prospect of a medal. They forwarded the inquiry to Philadelphia. Bayliss’s discharge papers showed his wounds, but did not have the date. Bayliss said he probably could have gotten the medal after he was discharged but he didn’t think about it then.
Bayliss spent 22 months overseas. He took his training at Camp Barkley, Texas, and at New Caledonia. He was discharged at Camp Atterbury Jan. 26, 1946.
He is a carpenter. He was later injured in a fall on a roof while at work in Columbus, Ohio. Two back surgeries followed and according to Bayliss, he is getting along fine now. His wife Ruby, works at the General Tire and Rubber Co. They have two sons, Carl David, 5, and William II, 10. He also has four daughters by a first marriage, who live in Florida.
Bayliss is a member of American Legion Post 15 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the IOOF in Ohio.
Photo by Harold Chatlosh
This article was written by Earleen Ulery and published in the Wabash Plain Dealer in 1969. William H. Bayliss passed on Jan. 24, 1994.