Westbrook-based Company D has two 'last men'

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Westbrook native Ralph Allard Jr. is pictured in his World War II uniform. He served in the Pacific during World War II with Company D of the 103rd Infantry Regiment in Maine National Guard.

WESTBROOK — The old Westbrook-based Company D that fought in the Pacific jungles in World War II now has two known survivors.

Inan article in last week’s American Journal, 96-year old Harold Smith of Buxton wondered whether he might be the unit’s last man left alive. After the article appeared in print, Smith and the newspaper both heard from a daughter of a former Westbrook man, Ralph Allard Jr., now living in Florida.

Janice Allard said her dad also served with the unit and observed his 97th birthday on Feb. 17.

Allard and Smith are both listed on the Company D roster in the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the Maine National Guard. It was federalized 78 years ago, Feb. 24, 1941. The regiment’s motto was “To the Last Man.”

“My dad thought he was the last one,” Janice Allard said.

After hearing from Allard, Smith said, “My responsibility of being the last man has now been divided.”

Allard hasn’t shared much about his Army duties and deployment. “He does not like to talk about the military at all,” his daughter said.

Before shipping out by railroad to Florida months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Company D soldiers drilled at American Legion Post 62 on Dunn Street in Westbrook. Following extensive training in southern states, the unit saw action at Guadalcanal among other key campaigns in the Pacific Theater.

Allard last week read Smith’s account of some if the unit’s history. “Smitty got it 100 percent correct,” Allard’s daughter quoted her father as saying.

Janice Allard said her father served in a machine gun platoon. He contracted malaria and spent a year hospitalized in New Caledonia.

Ralph Allard is a Westbrook native and as a youth took a rowboat to school when his family once lived on Park Hill. He worked at S.D. Warren, built his own home in Westbrook and raised four children. Allard relocated to Florida in 2009.

Smith said he’s putting a unit history together for Allard. “I was pleased to hear from Ralph,” he said.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.

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