Richard V. Buck

Branch: ARMY
Rank: Private First Class
Outfit: 816th Tank Destroyer Battalion, HQ Co.

Richard Vincent Buck was born on October 15, 1915 in Philadelphia, PA to parents William and Lydia (Bowes) Buck. The family lived in the Germantown section of Philadelphia when he was a young boy along with his 3 brothers, William Jr, Edward, and Victor. 
On February 17, 1920, Lydia passed away at the age of 39 due to pneumonia, leaving father William to care solely for his children. Times were then very tough for the Buck family. William Sr. was in such a destitute state, that on July 17, 1924, he took his own life with a gun while at a boarding house in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. At the age of 8, Richard and his brothers were now left without either parent. 
The next day, Aunt Elizabeth (Bowes) Denof (sister of Lydia), and her husband, Joseph were granted custody of the 4 Buck children. By 1930, the Denofs and Buck brothers were living on Bell Road in Mt. Ephraim and Richard and younger brother Victor were attending grade school. According to the 1940 census, Richard was working at the Campbell Soup Company in Camden and living with his aunt and uncle who had now moved to 212 Fifth Avenue in Mt. Ephraim. 
On April 8, 1942 Richard entered in the army at Fort Dix, NJ. After completion of basic training, he was sent to Camp Cooke in Santa Barbara, California (now known as Vandenberg Air Force Base) and assigned to Headquarters Company of the newly formed 816th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The tank destroyers were created to assist the infantry by taking out enemy armor units. 
It was 3:30 in the afternoon of August 13, 1942 and Richard had been into his second month of training at Camp Cooke. The truck he was riding in suddenly overturned, killing him instantly. I don't yet know the details to this incident that led to this death or if there were other occupants and their fate, but I am working on this. His body was returned to the area with a military escort on August 20th and the funeral arrangements were carried out by his uncle, undertaker William Denof. On August 22, 1942, Private First Class Richard V. Buck was laid to rest at the New St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bellmawr, NJ. He was survived by older brothers William and Edward, younger brother Victor, and his foster parents Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Joseph Denof. You can find Richard’s name is inscribed on the memorial at Veterans Triangle on Davis Avenue. 
Just a note about the 816th Tank Destroyer Battalion. It was one of only 6 that remained in the U.S. during World War II. By February 20, 1945, the battalion had disbanded and some 600 of their men had been shipped to the Philippines as replacement infantry men for the the 112th Cavalry Regiment.


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