Staff Sgt. Denney volunteered for service January 1, 1941 and received his basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. He was shipped overseas in January 1944 and served with the 119th Infantry in Belgium, England, France and Holland. He was wounded in action in Holland October 2, 1944 and was awarded the Purple Heart. He then joined the 30th Division in Germany and was killed in action January 15, 1945 in Holland. Before entering the service he was employed with Franklin Fabrics in Elizabethton. He was the son of John Henry Denney and Lydia Bell Bradshaw. He married Laura Sams in 1942 and their daughter Betty Jean Denney was born on 22 March 1943.
The Elizabethton Star, 31 July 1949:
Word has been received here that the body of Staff Sgt. Willliam E. Denney, 29, will arrive in Johnson City. He was killed in Holland January 15, 1945.
He is survived by one daughter, Betty Jean Denney of DeJarnette Street, Elizabethton; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Denney of 1801 Locust Street, Elizabethton; three brothers, Howard, Jack and Carl all of the home; seven sisters, Mrs. Pearl Scarbro of Naoma, West Virginia, Mrs. Cleo Scarbro of Montcoal, West Virginia, Mrs. Mary Baines of Elizabethton, Mrs. Mildred Ritter of Beckley, West Virginia; Mrs. Myrtle Pitts of the home; Mrs. Katherine Stout, of Bluefield Avenue, Elizabethton, and Mrs. Mable Dickerson of the home.
- Rank: Staff Sergeant
- Date of birth: 18 December 1916
- Date of death: 15 January 1945
- County: Carter
- Hometown: Elizabethton
- Service Branch: Army
- Division/Assignment: 119th Infantry, 30th Division
- Theater: Europe
- Conflict: World War II
- Battles: Battle of the Bulge
- Awards: Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
- Burial/Memorial Location: Highland Cemetery, Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee
- Location In Memorial: Pillar VIII, Top Panel
- Sponsored by: John Romeiser
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