Military History of William Warren Oakes (b. November 1, 1917–d. 1995)
William Warren Oakes was born in Harworth, Mississippi, November 1, 1917 to Charles Franklin and Sophie Dose Oakes. He was the youngest child. Other siblings included Fred F., John Christian, Robert Grantham and sister, Laura Annis. The house at right is the house where he was born. His siblings and parents are included in the photo. L to R: Fred, Laura, Charles, Sophie, Grantham and John Christian. He and his parents moved to Vicksburg, MS around 1923 when his father was hired by the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. They moved in with Fred who had come the year before.
Warren attended school in Vicksburg. His mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and he continued in that faith throughout his life. He attended Southern Junior College, an Adventist school in Collegedale, TN. One of his closest friends was Robbie Wilson, while not an Adventist, chose to go with him to the college after high school. In a 1937 SJC newsletter, it mentions Warren and Robbie returning from a vacation in Vicksburg. She later worked in the US Foreign Service for most of her life. The 1940 census has Warren still living with his parents. He likely is helping his brother, Fred, in his auto mechanic shop.
Warren enlisted in the U. S. Army on November 11, 1941, in Oglethorpe, Georgia. He had graduated from high school and listed his civilian occupation as “Skilled Mechanic and Repair Man.” Less than four months after enlisting, Warren shipped out for “APTO” (Asia Pacific Technical Operation) on March 4, 1942. He arrived at his destination on April 6, 1942. He likely arrived in Australia. The US and Australian armies were involved with an effort to recapture New Guinea which had been taken by the Japanese from the Dutch. Warren served as a Medical Technician. As part of the strategy to capture New Guinea, the American and Australian forces would first capture bases in the Bismarck Archipelago. These campaigns were part of MacArthur’s pledge to retake the Philippines.
New Guinea: January 24, 1943–December 31, 1944
Luzon: December 15, 1944–July 4, 1945
Southern Philippines: February 27–July 4, 1945
Chronological History of Military Service:
November 11, 1941: Enlisted U. S. Army in Oglethorpe, Georgia.
March 4, 1942: Shipped out for Asia Pacific Technical Operation.
April 6, 1942: Arrived at destination, probably Australia.
The above information comes from Warren's military record which primarily consist of his discharge papers. His records were part of those that burned after the war. However, the following entry by an Army nurse which was excerpted from the book, "No Time for Fear: Voices of American Military Nurses in World War II", I think her entry fills in the missing details, the dates in her entry match exactly those of Warren.
Edith Vowell, U. S. Army 153rd Station Hospital
“After joining through the Red Cross in 1941, “Edie" remained an army nurse for a career that lasted twenty years.
“We sailed from New York on March 4, 1942, and everyone thought we were going to Europe, but after we were at sea, it was announced we were headed for the Paciﬁc. When we reached the Panama Canal some chief nurses went ashore under cover of darkness for security reasons to buy summer clothes for some of the nurses. We didn't have uniforms that matched, but when we marched off the ship in Brisbane, we all wore suntan culottes, matching shirts, and helmets.
“The 153rd may have been the first army hospital to operate in Australia. We arrived in Brisbane April 6, 1942, and the nurses were kept on the ship, out-of-sight until it was dark. When we debarked, we climbed into covered trucks and were driven to the hospital in Gatton, Queensland. Our first casualties were from the important Battle of the Coral Sea, which was fought in May. By October we had moved to New Guinea, near Port Moresby.
“The nurses were first off the ship at Port Moresby, and the press was there. We made news because we were the first non-native women to arrive since the evacuation of the plantations. Pictures and articles about us appeared in papers all over the world, and many anonymous people sent copies to my parents. After six months, our hospital was back in Australia, where we were moved from one location to another during the next two years, until the war ended.”
Note—I found so far one troop ship that left New York in March of 1942 that went through the Panama Canal en route to Bora Bora Island, Australia and New Zealand. This was the USS James Parker shown below.
Note the troops on deck in above photo.
Here is a description of the trip from New York to Melbourne from the book, The Medical Department: Medical Service in the War Against Japan by Mary Ellen Condon-Rall and Albert Cowdrey, " The summer was an anxious time as the chief surgeon waited for the personnel of twelve more hospitals, all of whom had sailed from the United States on an Army transport. “I counted the days,” Carroll reported to Surgeon General Magee, “until that ship docked and the personnel with it.” The doctors, nurses, and corpsmen who made the trip probably had similar feelings. Leaving the New York Port of Embarkation in a convoy, the ship was crowded; “quarters can be adequately described by three words, standing, sitting, and reclining room,” wrote a unit historian. The first blackout at sea, with “weird blue lights, dark corridors, and passing human shadows,” brought home the reality that a war was on. Running under Navy protection, the convoy arrived safely at the Panama Canal. Blimps hovered over the docks, the sun was fierce, and the air was humid. In the Pacific, a cruiser and a destroyer took over the task of guarding the transports, and, for a time, the trip was idyllic amid “flying fish, the phosphorescent ocean, and the Southern Cross.” Then an epidemic of diarrhea struck. The number of cases reached four digits, and the voyaging medics coined such names as the “turkey trot” and the “mess kit blues” for the malady. Often ill, their drinking water rationed to two glasses per passenger each day, their baths cold showers in seawater, they finished the trip as an uncomfortable, jam-packed, often miserable lot. But they did not encounter any Japanese submarines or planes, and docked safely in Melbourne after thirty-nine days at sea. The long voyage ended anticlimactically, as they traveled from the docks to their first billets in Australia by electric tram. For the chief surgeon, the anxiety was not over. The equipment of the hospitals was on another ship, which broke in two and sank near Brisbane. “I feel that my heart is in pretty good shape,” wrote Carroll, “because when I was called on the phone and told that the ship with the equipment of twelve hospitals was lost, I still survived the shock.” But the equipment was salvaged, and on 1 September, the medical service passed something of a landmark: After that date more Australian military personnel were being cared for in U.S. Army hospitals than the reverse.
April 1942: Likely sent to Gatton Hospital in Queensland where they cared for casualties of the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Gratton Hospital was in the Queensland Agricultural High School and College near Gratton. The 153rd Station Hospital was apparently the first Army hospital to operate in Australia. While there Warren contracted typhus.
October 1942: The 153rd was sent to Port Moresby, Papua, New Guinea. There was intense fighting in this area. Both men and women medical personnel were sent. Here is a little background of the war that Warren was involved. In January 1942, the Japanese, moving southeast toward the American-Australian line of communications, had captured the harbor of Rabaul on the northeast coast of New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago. Entering the Solomon Islands, they took Tulagi in May and thereafter planned the seizure of Port Moresby on New Guinea’s south coast. Their advances threatened Australia, separated from New Guinea only by the Torres Strait, and provoked Allied counteraction. The struggle to halt Japan opened with an inconclusive naval battle in the Coral Sea, which turned into a war of attrition on land, sea, and in the air. Geography made it a logistical nightmare, and climate and disease harassed the contending armies. On 2 July, in order to dislodge the Japanese from New Guinea, the Bismarcks, and the Solomons, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered a two-pronged counterattack. One offensive was to move up the Solomon chain and the other toward northern New Guinea from Port Moresby, with the recapture of Rabaul, the heavily defended main Japanese base, as the final objective. For both the Army Medical Department and the theater medical service, the projected operations meant their first experience in supporting attacks on Japanese-held islands in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas and a long, exhausting encounter with jungle warfare at its worst.
The struggle that followed imposed terrible burdens both on the troops who fought and on the medics who attempted to preserve their lives in some of the world’s most hostile terrain. New Guinea is, next to Greenland, the world’s largest island—over 300,000 square miles of dense jungles, reeking swamps, and towering cloud-swathed mountains. In shape, it appropriately resembles a prehistoric creature, with the beaked head of the Vogelkop Peninsula turned to the west and the tail of the Papuan Peninsula, scene of the fighting, extending to the southeast. For Army medics, the climate was a nightmare. Many parts of Papua’s 90,540 square miles receive 150 to 300 inches of rain a year, and 8 to 10 inches a day during the monsoon season from November to March. The northern coastal areas, where the Allies’ ultimate objective lay, consisted of dense jungle, marshy floodplain, and fields of tall kunai grass, giving way at the edge of the sea to a sandy coastal ridge dotted with palms. The heat of the lowlands contrasted sharply with the cold of the higher elevations in the Owen Stanleys. Besides malaria, troops encountered dengue, scrub typhus, dysentery, and tormenting skin diseases that they described as “jungle rot.” Port Moresby, a small copra port on Papua’s south coast, was the key to supply and communications for the campaign. Army engineers built airfields in northern Australia and others in New Guinea to defend it. In late August, the Australians turned back a Japanese move down the coast, securing the Allied base for the time being. Several weeks later, they halted the Japanese advance toward Port Moresby at Imita Ridge on the Kokoda Trail. Meanwhile, troops filtered in during June and July, including Australian and American air, anti-aircraft, engineer, and service units. On 11 August 1942, the USASOS created a base section, called Advance Base, under Brig. Gen. Dwight F. Johns. The Advance Base aided in the operation of Moresby and other New Guinea ports, directed the activities of U.S. service personnel in the area, and supplied U.S. troops in the combat zone. To consolidate U.S. and Australian supply services in New Guinea, General Headquarters, SWPA, on 5 October, established on Papua the Combined Operational Service Command. By this time, Port Moresby was on its way to becoming a major base, with new roads, airfields, and harbor facilities. In public health, it resembled a frontier town. American and Australian units put up latrines along the beach, dumped their refuse into open pits, and burned their garbage. The soldiers ate most of their food from cans, discarding the containers. A plague of flies beset the town, and soon almost all troops passing through Port Moresby could report experiences similar to those of the 4th Portable Surgical Hospital, which debarked in November. Seventy-five percent of its personnel contracted diarrhea, “from which several . . . never completely recovered.” At first, there was little malaria, but the troops, by creating a multitude of small water catchments exposed to sunlight, provided perfect breeding spots for the local anophelines.
Note lower left that 153rd Station Hospital is at Port Moresby. In November, it was a 500-bed hospital but was greatly inadequate; however, over the next weeks, the capacity was greatly ramped up. From 21 November 1942 to 29 January 1943, the hospital units at Port Moresby area cared for over 10,000 casualties, nearly 6,000 from the 32nd Division alone.
Below is information on Wlliam Warren Oakes provided by Lori Miller, Redbird Research. She combed the microfilm files to extract Morning Reports for Warren's outfits.
November 1, 1943: Attached 153rd Station Hospital, Southport Queensland. He is in Company H. 135th Medical Regiment. Southport is on east coast of Australia, adjacent to the Coral Sea and south of Papua New Guinea. The 153rd Station hospital, commanded by Dr. Robert B. Hope arrived at the Southport School building on March 2, 1943. The school buildings acted as a hospital. That year, the Australian Civil Construction Corps built three long single-story ward buildings, an annex to the gymnasium and a large garage. Several tents were erected on the front lawn.
Dr. Hope described the hospital in his diary, "Southport March 2: We are all a little dazed by our good fortune, afraid we'll wake up to find it was only a dream. The 153 has acquired the very attractive ivy-covered buildings of a boys' school, built to house 200 boys and their masters —not very adequate as a hospital that must expand to 650 beds. However, we are back in the land of plenty: lumber, nails, mosquito netting and lots of help. After New Guinea this is a pleasure.
"To top off our good fortune, Southport is a heavenly spot. It is full of friendly people, a clean, sleepy little town (in peacetime, a prime summer resort)…The 153 medical unit served the 32nd Division fighting the rough New Guinea and Island campaigns. When our patients were discharged they went on R & R to Coolangatta, a resort town on another unbelievable beach."
Comments by Dr. Hope that may help with Warren's chronology, "Robert B. Hope of Laguna Hills was an Army anesthetist in a tent hospital at Port Moresby, New Guinea. "I, like many others, wrote home nearly every day. Towards the last, after 3-1/2 years, one was hard-pressed to find words. Of course my wife kept them all."
Some of his recollections, distilled from old letters for Forum on Medicine, sound hauntingly like scripts for old MASH sequences:
"We began to get casualties from the 32nd Infantry Division fighting in the jungle. . . . They were all very sick boys. Besides being wounded, most of them had dysentery, malaria, and macerated, infected feet. . . .
"Surgery under the prevailing conditions was a unique experience. Humidity was formidable; we were all drenched with sweat. One attendant was needed just to mop brows. . . . You can imagine how a bloody surgical field unit would attract flies; yet, despite the flies and the sweat, we had surprisingly few infections. . . .
"The whole Moresby area was hit by air raids nearly every moonlit night. There were slit trenches by each ward tent, and the tent sides were always raised (except in rainy weather) to make it easy for patients to pop out into a trench when the alarm sounded. Between air raids and emergencies, we lost a lot of sleep. Sometimes there was humor in this, other times just plain stress.”
The Main Building of The Southport School.
View of the 153rd Station Hospital, Southport, Queensland, Australia. John Bennett, Brisbane resident and former student at The Southport School (TSS), kindly sent me the following comment, "When I boarded at TSS one of the dormitories where I slept was in the building under construction in the this photo. We called it the Overflow and it was not demolished until the early 1980’s – not bad for a “temporary” building."
The November Morning Report stated there were 107 US personnel attached to the hospital. Here is a description of a Station Hospital,
" Station Hospital: A fixed hospital of 25–900 beds, corresponding to a post hospital in the United States, provided highly-skilled care in medicine and surgery both to casualties evacuated from the combat zone and to garrison troops stationed in its vicinity. The great variation in size reflected the fact that a station hospital might serve anything from a small islet to a major base.”
A Detachment of "H" Company, 135th US Medical Regiment provided medical services at Livingston Airfield in the Northern Territory. They were there in June 1942.
Here is a rare film of the 153rd Station Hospital at Southport School. Sadly, the resolution is not high; otherwise, we would likely have seen Warren in some of the clips. He would almost certainly be among the soldiers in the film. The film gives us a window into his duty there.
January 21, 1944: Morning Report shows that "William W. Oakes, Serial No 34149048 was from duty to sick in Hospital LD." Discharge papers say he had cholera.
January 27, 1944: Morning Report continues to list Warren in hospital.
February 17, 1944: The unit is aboard the Transport Andrew E. White. They left Southport Queensland 0625 by Motor Transport to Brisbane (about 60 miles from Southport) arriving 0850. Boarded Transport at 0915 left Brisbane 1200. Weather rainy and camp morale excellent.
February 18, 1944: They are aboard the USS Andrew D. White, They have travelled 330 miles. There are 80 men in their unit. Weather rainy and damp. Morale excellent. The USS Andrew D. White was a Liberty Ship named for the first president of Cornell University and Ambassador to Germany. Liberty Ship was the name given to the EC2- type ship designed for "Emergency" construction by the United States Maritime Commission in World War II. Liberty Ships were nicknamed "ugly ducklings" by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The first of the 2,711 Liberty ships was the SS Patrick Henry, launched on Sept. 27, 1941, and built to a standardized, mass-produced design. (2,710 ships were completed, as one burned at the dock.) The 250,000 parts were pre-fabricated throughout the country in 250-ton sections and welded together in about 70 days. One Liberty Ship, the SS Robert E. Peary was built in four and a half days. A Liberty cost under $2,000,000. The Liberty was 441 feet long and 56 feet wide. Her three-cylinder, reciprocating steam engine, fed by two oil-burning boilers, produced 2,500 hp and a speed of 11 knots. Her 5 holds could carry over 9,000 tons of cargo, plus airplanes, tanks, and locomotives lashed to its deck. A Liberty could carry 2,840 jeeps, 440 tanks, or 230 million rounds of rifle ammunition.
February 21, 1944: They arrived Armstrong Paddock Camp in Townsville, Australia. Townsville is about 800 miles north of Brisbane on the coast. They disembarked at 2030 hours then travelled by motor transport to Armstrong Paddock arriving hour and a half later. Temporary change of station. Weather rainy and fair.
Armstrong Paddock, Townsville.
Armstrong Paddock. above, in area just above the cliffs on Castle Hill. This was a stageing camp; by 1943 it could handle 4500 men.
February 25, 1944: Pfc Emery J Normand, Pfc William W. Oakes and Pfc Owens Burtis, "Above three Enlisted Men for duty to SD Wharf guard per VOCO Co H 135th Med Regiment, Left 1000 hours. The same day the three men are listed as "from SD to duty 1150 hours." The unit left the Paddock by motor transportation 1030 hours and boarded the USS Andrew D. White 1130 hours. Ship left Townsville Harbor 1500 hrs. Approximate miles travelled 90. Weather clear and warm—morale excellent.
February 27 1944: Aboard USS Andrew D. White, Approximate distance travelled 200 miles.
February 29, 1944: aboard USS Andrew D. White, distance traveled 200 miles.
March 1, 1944: Arrived Finschhafen, New Guinea, APO 322 Unit 1. Disembarked at 1200 hours, weather clear and warm. Morale excellent. Finschhafen is a town located 80 kilometers east of Lae on the Huon Peninsula in Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea.
In October 1943, the Battle of Finschhafen was over. The Australian Army had defeated the Japanese in a fierce battle. The operation to capture Finschhafen was important to capture the western cape of the Vitiaz Strait for the construction of airfields and naval facilities for the upcoming New Britain campaign as part of Operation Cartwheel. Finschhafen was developed into "one of the largest bases in the Southwest Pacific area" according to Garth Pratten. Throughout 1944, the base saw considerable development with the establishment of a staging camp that had a divisional capacity, a wharf, tank landing ship ramps and piers. In addition, several airfields were established capable of hosting both fighter and bomber aircraft, as well as several fuel dumps. From Finschhafen, the Allies were able to project air power towards the main Japanese base at Rabaul and seal off the Vitiaz and Dampier Straits. In addition, the base became an important logistics hub, playing an important role in supplying the US war machine as it advanced through the Philippines in 1944–45.
May 1, 1944: Now at Aitape, New Guinea, a town about 250 miles north of Finschhafen. In 1942, the Japanese occupied the Aitape region in northern New Guinea as part of their general advance south. On 22 April 1944, however, United States Army forces—primarily the 163rd Regimental Combat Team from the 41st Infantry Division—landed and recaptured the area in order to help secure the flank of US forces fighting around Hollandia. Following this, Aitape was developed as base from which to support the continuing Allied drive towards the Philippines and the US forces in the area swelled to include elements of the 31st and 32nd Infantry Division. There was an unsuccessful effort by the Japanese to retake the area in July 1944. By that time, however, Warren's unit had moved out.''
May 20-22, 1944: Aboard an LST 245, APO705
May 23, 1944: Arrive Arara, Dutch New Guinea. Below is picture of the LST 245 unloading at Arara on May 17, 1944. Maybe it was shuttling between Altape and Arara.
LSTs landing in Arara, Dutch New Guinea.
There was intense fighting with the Japanese in the area at this time. Here is a link to a documentary film that contains footage and descriptions of the Battle for New Guinea. The last third of the film contain footage of the battles at Aitape and Arara. Warren's unit would have provided medical support for the soldiers shown in the film.
June 1, 1944: There were 74 patients in the hospital at Arara.
June 12, 1944: At Arara, Willam W. Oakes, Robert Kenne and George Wittwer were promoted to Corporal.
July 1, 1944: There are now 186 patients in the hospital at Arara.
July 11, 1944: There are 75 patients in hospital at Arara.
July 17, 1944: William W. Oakes, Cpl is in the hospital. The next day he returns to duty.
July 26, 1944: The unit is re-designated as 894th Clearing Company. Here is a description of a Clearing Company, " Clearing Company/Clearing Station also part of the medical battalion was the clearing company. The clearing station that it operated was, in effect, a small forward hospital providing fairly complex treatment and informed prognosis, on which further disposition of the casualty was based. In the Pacific, clearing companies often functioned as small field hospitals, because most battles were small and hospital units might be absent from the task force or remote from the fighting line. Here again, a portable surgical hospital might work nearby."
August 1, 1944–November 1, 1944: The 894th Clearing Company remains in Arara.
November 9, 1944: The 894th Clearing Company aboard the USS Louis Sullivan, a Liberty ship named for the famous architect. On the ship they are assigned "Unusual duties, Charge of Troop Mess.”
November 10, 1944: They stop at Camp Washington Casual Camp, Finschhafen, New Guinea.
November 14, 1944: They arrive at Cape Gloucester, APO 320. Cape Gloucester is on the island of New Britain, a part of the Bismarck Archipelago.
AN AERIAL VIEW OF THE NEW BRITAIN COASTLINE AT CAPE GLOUCESTER, NEW BRITAIN IN 1944
December 31, 1944: Aboard the USS Frederick Funston. Frederick Funston (APA-89) was an attack transport that served with the US Navy during World War II. Before serving as a Navy APA, she had been the US Army transport USAT Frederick Funston. She is shown below:
January 9, 1945: Arrived Lingayen, Luzon, Philippine Islands. That night, a watchful lookout spotted and shot a suicide swimmer only 50 yards from the ship. This was part of the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf. Here is some background:
Beginning on 6 January 1945, a heavy naval and air bombardment of suspected Japanese defenses on Lingayen began. Underwater demolitions began, but found no beach obstacles, and encountered sparse opposing forces. Aircraft and naval artillery bombardment of the landing areas also occurred with kamikazes attacking on the 7th. On the 8th, it was observed that in the town of Lingayen, as a response to the pre-landing bombardment, Filipinos had begun to form a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags; fire was shifted away from that area.
At 09:30 on 9 January 1945, about 68,000 GIs under General Walter Krueger of the U.S. 6th Army—following a devastating naval bombardment—landed at the coast of Lingayen Gulf meeting no opposition. A total of 203,608 soldiers were eventually landed over the next few days, establishing a 20 mi (32 km) beachhead, stretching from Sual, Lingayen and Dagupan (XIV Corps) to the west, and San Fabian (I Corps) to the east. The total number of troops under the command of MacArthur was reported to have even exceeded the number that Dwight D. Eisenhower controlled in Europe. Within a few days, the assault forces had quickly captured the coastal towns and secured the 20-mile-long beachhead, as well as penetrating up to five miles inland.
January 10, 1945: The 894th Clearing Company disembarked the USS Frederick Funston at 0945 hours. No installation set up pending further orders. They would be providing medical support for casualties that occurred the day before and subsequently.
January 23, 1945: Unit left Lingayen to establish a new area.
January 30, 1945: Left Santa Cruz at 0900 to set up a company area hospital at Capas, Luzon. Capas is about 60 miles south of Lingayen. There are a number of cities call Santa Cruz.
February 1, 1945: They are still in Capas, Luzon.
February 6, 1945: Operation of Hospital discontinued. They left Capas Luzon at 0900 hours arrived Sa Fernando Luzon 1200 hours. Company area set up for the present. San Fernando is 25 miles south of Capas.
February 13, 1945: Left San Fernando, Luzon 1530 hours and arrived Dinalupihan, Luzon at 1730 hours. Company area set up for present. Dinalupihan is 25 miles south of San Fernando.
March 7, 1945: William W. Oakes promoted from T3 to T4.
April 11, 1945: Unit moved from Dinalupihan to Santa Rita, Luzon. Hospital set up and ready for operation at 1200 hours. Santa Rita about 20 miles northeast of Dinalupihan.
April 15, 1945: Warren departs Luzon, Philippines.
May 17, 1945: Warren returns to the US. He had spent 3 years, 2 months and 14 days abroad.
May 29, 1945: Warren is discharged.
May 31, 1945: Unit still at Santa Rita, Luzon, P. I.
Decorations and Citations: Good Conduct Medal AR600-68; American Defense Service Medal; APTO Med; One Bronze Star each for East Indies, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon Campaigns WDGO 33 45: Philippines Liberation Medal with Bronze Star GO 23 HQ USAFFE 1945.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Bill and Kimberlee Oakes, Warren's son and daughter-in-law for sharing Warren's discharge papers. Thanks to Lori Miller of Redbird Research for meticulously scanning the microfilm containing the Morning Reports. Thanks also to Peter Dunn whose web site Australia at War was very helpful and special thanks to him for providing me a copy of The Medical Department: Medical Service in the War Against Japan by Mary Ellen Condon-Rall and Albert E. Cowdrey.
Warren WWII Photos
The Fifth Detachment
When Warren prepared to leave for the service he received a letter from a woman he had known in school in Tennesee. She had recently married and moved to Colorado. She had met a young woman that she thought might be a match for Warren. She passed along her name and address. She was Elizabeth Jane “Beth” Johnson. Beth was born in Wellington, Texas, 1916. She was a registered nurse and an elementary school teacher. She and Warren corresponded during the war. They exchanged pictures, however, after the war, Warren said he worried about his career. He thought as an orderly in a hospital he thought he would not be paid a living wage. He concluded that he needed to go back to school which he did. He worried that if he continued a relationship with Beth then he might be tempted to shelve his school plans. He chose to stop the correspondence, sadly without any explanation to Beth. In 1993, he received a card from her saying she recalled those days and wondered what happened to him. She married John T. Brackett and they lived in Grand Valley, CO. She had a very successful career as Director of Nursing at various hospitals and as an elementary school teacher. Her husband died in 1987 and she died in 2007. Warren said in a taped letter in 1993 that he was going to answer her card.
After the War
Warren was discharged on May 29, 1945 at Camp Shelby, MS. Following his separation from the Army, he returned to Southern Missionary College (SMC) in Collegedale, TN to study biology. While there he met Mildred Elizabeth Eadie. She was a pre-nursing student at SMC. They were married May 27, 1946, in Maude Jones Hall, at SMC. The wedding party is shown at right. The best man was brother Robert Grantham Oakes. The bridesmaid was Miss Langdon Elmore, an accountant at SMC.
Elder J. F. Ashlock read vows. Dorothy Evans, contralto, Clifford Ludington, violinist and Charles Pierce, pianist, provided music. The bride’s brother Robert Eadie gave her away.
Mildred was born September 15, 1917 in Beaufort, South Carolina to Renny Bozeman and Emma Elinor "Ellie" Lastinger. Renny was a farmer. Soon after Mildred was born, the family moved to Hickory Head, Brooks County, Georgia. Her siblings included Elinor English, Rene Bozeman Jr., Lloyd D. and Edward Henry.
In 1936, Mildred was a first year college student at Southern Missionary College. Here future husband, Warren and his brother, Robert Grantham were there at the academy. Warren was a sophomore, Grantham was a senior and their friend Robbie Wilson was a junior.
Mildred graduated from Pisgah Academy in NC and in 1940, finished her nursing RN degree at Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences–Orlando (now Adventist University of Health Sciences). She next attended Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, MI where she earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing. She was in Orlando from 1939-41. A quote from an SMU newsletter “In 1946, she returned to SMC as head of the pre-nursing course and student health service. While Mildred Eadie Oakes, R., was director of the Health Service from 1946 to 1949, she made laboratory facilities available on the campus. This was a definite help to the doctors who came from a distance to the campus. Several acute surgical cases were practically diagnosed by way of telephone, and emergency surgery was done soon after the patient had been admitted to the hospital. A good immunization program was started through co-operation with the Public Health Service and has been continued through the Health Service.”
Warren graduated from SMC in 1949, he had taken some courses at Andrews Univeristy, likely in the summer, while Mildred completed her studies.
Following Warren’s graduation, he enrolled at George Peabody College and earned a master's in 1950. Following that study, he and Mildred, daughter Frances Lucile and son, William Warren Jr, returned to Madison College, where he was appointed dean of men and director of student personnel.
Warren and Mildred next decided to serve as missionaries in Africa. They sailed on October 26, 1953 on the SS Robin Locksley from New York to Capetown, South Africa. The ship, part of the Robin Line, is shown above. Below is the line's brochure and interior shots of the cabins from about the time of their passage. The ship had served as a supply ship during WWII.
Above, we see Mildred with Frances in front, fourth from the right, with other passengers aboard the Robin Lockley.
Frances and Warren Oakes aboard the Robin Locksley.
Here we see Mildred and Frances aboard the Robin Locksley.
Bugema Missionary College
Their first post was at Bugema Missionary College in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa.Warren held many position there. In 1954 and 1955, Warren was in charge of the Normal Department, which was the teacher's training program. After 1956, he was the College Registrar and Dean of Men. He taught Biology (1958); Bible, Biology, History (1957); Bible, Biology, History and was Librarian (1956). They served there for five years.
Warren and Mildred served in many capacities while at Bugema. Mildred was head of the dispensary at Bugema College and taught Domestic Arts. Warren contracted malaria while there and had to be moved to a more modern facility for treatment. Floyd Oakes thought he was sent to Europe, however South Africa would be closer.
Bugema University is located on a 640-acre piece of land in Luwero district, Bamunanika County, The institution started in 1948 as a training school for teachers and pastors for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in East Africa. At that time, it was called Bugema Missionary Training School. Later, the name changed to Bugema Missionary College and then to Bugema Adventist College. In 1978, the first class offering degrees graduated with the Bachelor of Theology degree. The college expanded, and, by the late 1980s, curricula for Business and Education were added. In 1994, Bugema Adventist College changed its status from "college" to "university". In 1997, Bugema University was granted a tertiary institution license from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
In 1959, Warren and Mildren and the children moved to the Kamagambo Training School at Kamagambo (via Kisii) Kenya Colony, Eaat Africa. This school was established in 1928. Here, Warren served as Principal and Business Manager. He was also appointed to the Board of Directors for Bugema College, his previous institution. In 1960, he became a member of the Board of Management at Kamagambo In addition to serving as principal and business manager, he also taught Bible and "Nature." He continued on the board at Bugema University. Mildred apparently worked as a nurse, however, she was not in charge of the dispensary here. The family returned to the United States in 1960, apparently after a visit to Egypt. Based on the photos, it is likely they sailed from North Africa and visited Holland and Germany en route home. The photos also suggest they landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and next visited Boston.
Following their return, Warren enrolled for a semester at Andrews University, and then he and Mildred joined the faculty at Madison Academy in Madison, Tennessee. Warren was Registrar and Director of Admissions and Mildred worked in the Nursing Program. On June 9, 1966, the family moved to Orlando, Florida where Warren accepted the position of Director of Personnel at Florida Sanitarium and Hospital. Mildred was on the nursing program staff. Mildred retired in 1970. Mildred suffered from diabetes and sadly passed away in 1976 at the age of 59. Following his retirement, Warrren enjoyed traveling and visiting with relatives. he married Virginia Jeane "Gini" Herndon July 16, 1977. They were divorced in 1993. Warren died July 23, 1995 in Alachua, Florida. He was 77. He and Mildred are burried in Highland Memorial Gardens, Forest City, FL
Few pictures survive from their time in Africa. Thanks to Kim Oakes, Warren's daughter-in-law, we have a few. Above, we see Mildred with a Bugema Primary Sabaoth Class.
William Warren and Mildred Oakes Africa Service
Warren Oakes, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1939, Academy Junior Class
Warren Oakes, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1940, Academic Junior Class
Warren Oakes, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1941 Senior Class
Warren Oakes, middle of front row, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1941 Triangle Club
Marie Arwood, right end, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1938. Marie married Warren's brother Grantham.
Robert Grantham Oakes, Standing second from right end, arms crossed, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1939, Hosiery Mill.
Marie Arwood 6th from left standing, Robbie Wilson 7th from left standing. Girls Chorus, Southern Junior College, Hosiery Mill, College yearbook, Triangle, 1938. Marie married Robert Grantham Oakes, brother of Warren Oakes.
Robert Grantham Oakes, Standing second from left end, arms crossed, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1938. Grantham was brother of Warren Oakes.
Robbie Gertrude Wilson, Southern Junior College yearbook, Triangle, 1938. Robbie was a Vicksburg friend of Warren Oakes, who, while not an Adventist, decided to go of to school with Warren and his friends. Robbie was there only a year. She worked in the cafeteria to pay her her fees. But, at the end of the yea,r she still owed money and had to work in the summer to pay off her debt. She still graduated high school with her class. My father, Robbie’s mother, Annie, and Cecil and Naomi went up on the train for the ceremony. Robbie wanted to be a writer from an early age and tried when she was in Collegedale, TN without much luck. I’m sure the inability to have things published was a bitter disappointment.
After she graduated, she went back to Vicksburg where she obtained a job as a secretary with the Red Cross. She also attended business school in Vicksburg. Anyway, somewhere along the way she got a job with the Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg. At some point
during WW II she transferred to a job with the Corps at the War Department in Washington.
Warren Oakes, Madison College yearbook, 1952
Mildred Eadie Oakes, Madison College yearbook, 1952,
Mildred Eadie Oakes, Madison College yearbook, 1952,
In 1961, Warren and Mildred returned to Madison College. It is clear from the pictures below from the yearbook that they were very critical to the success of the college. Warren had appointments in the College and was also Principal of the Academy.
William Warren and Mildred Eadie Oakes Album
Siblings of William Warren Oakes