Private First Class William Robert Best was born in Pennington Gap, Virginia on 12 February 1921. He was the son of Walter Garfield Best and Elsie Elizabeth ( Estella) Greenlee. He was the brother of Wallace Harold Best, Roger Best, Nadine Best, and Walter Jerome Best. By 1930, he was living with his family in Knoxville. Prior to joining the military, he worked as a mechanic or repairman. He enlisted in the military on July 4, 1942 in Camp Forrest, Tennessee. He died of wounds on 11 March 1944 in Italy.

Buried at Highland Memorial Cemetery, Knoxville, TN

36th Engineers Regiment, Company G

“I knew Bill when I was in Old Knoxville High School. He came to see me and talk, in his uniform, so the Teacher let me go out to talk, because he was going overseas. I have several letters from him while he was in the Army. He was sent to Italy and was in the battle at Anzio Beachhead. He was wounded and later my last two letters came back, marked as being deceased.
I think of him always and wished I had written more and sent more pictures.
If there are any family members alive I would be glad to share these letters. I am 87, now so I do not know if any family members are still alive.”
-Submitted by Mattie Galyon, high school friend

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 12 February 1921
  • Date of death: 11 March 1944
  • County: Knox
  • Hometown: Knoxville
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 36th Engineers Regiment, Company G
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Anzio
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Highland Memorial Cemetery, Knoxville, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XV, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor William R. Best

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