National Archives War Memorial Plaque

National Archives Memorial Plaque (Photo courtesy of the National Archives History Office)

Photograph of National Archives Memorial Plaque, May 15, 2015. (Photograph courtesy of the National Archives History Office)

Hanging in the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance lobby of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is a small plaque with the names of four men:

Ralph Leroy Dewsnup, Charles Edward Lewis, Julius Mayers and Augustus Julius Siko.

These four men were National Archives employees who died serving the United States during World War II.

In 1946 the National Archives created the plaque to honor these men and their service to our country.

The plaque’s dedication ceremony took place on January 29, 1947, in the Pennsylvania Avenue lobby, although now the plaque is displayed on a different wall than where it was originally unveiled.

The ceremony, attended by more than 100 National Archives employees, began with an invocation. Two National Archives staff members then performed a rendition of Kipling’s “Recessional.”

Bess Glenn, the employee association’s president, then unveiled the plaque.

Performance of "Taps" at War Memorial Plaque Dedication,, January 29, 1947. (Records of the National Archives)

Performance of “Taps” at War Memorial Plaque Dedication, January 29, 1947. (Records of the National Archives)

She remarked, “To give expression to our feeling of respect and admiration for these lost comrades, the employees of the National Archives have erected this memorial plaque. In honoring these four men we honor also all members of our staff who were in the armed services of our country.”

Following the unveiling, Archivist Solon J. Buck received the plaque, noting that while the National Archives staff was small in size, they had a larger percentage of staff who served in World War II than any other Federal agency.

The ceremony concluded with “Taps” played by the bugler from the Ceremonial Detachment at Fort Myer, Virginia, and then the color guard withdrew.

Here are the biographies of the four men, as printed in the original program:

RALPH LEROY DEWSNUP

Ralph LeRoy Dewsnup, son of Hyrum E. and Jennie Ransom Dewsnup, was born on June 13, 1915, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received his early education in the public schools of Pocatello, Idaho, and Salt Lake City. Ralph graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in June 1936. Shortly thereafter he and his wife, Ruth Belnap Dewsnup, came to Washington and on August 30, 1937, he entered upon his duties at the National Archives. His military service began on August 21, 1941. At the time of his death on December 10, 1943, Major Dewsnup, Army Air Forces, was on a search rescue mission near Chabu, India. He was awarded posthumously the Soldier’s Medal for heroism on a similar mission between September 25 and October 25, 1943.

CHARLES EDWARD LEWIS

Charles Edward Lewis, son of Dorvel D. and Lillian E. Lewis, was born on May 23, 1923, in Elkton, Virginia, and received his education in the public schools of that town. On June 4, 1942, he began working at the National Archives, where his father was and still is employed. Charles, a resident of Vienna, Virginia, entered the service of his country on December 4, 1942. Serving as a photographer in the Army Air Forces with the rank of sergeant, he was killed in action over China on December 16, 1944.

JULIUS MAYERS

Julius Mayers, son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Mayers, was born on July 11, 1917, in New York City. His early education was received in the public schools of that city, and he graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1937. He obtained his Master of Arts degree in history from Columbia University in 1939. From May 26, 1941, until April 17, 1942, when he entered the service, he served on the staff of the National Archives. Lieutenant Mayers, Chemical Warfare Service, died on March 22, 1945, at Bani, La Union Province, Philippine Islands. His widow is Mrs. Caroline R. Mayers.

AUGUSTUS JULIUS SIKO

Augustus Julius Siko, son of Steven and Elizabeth Siko, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on December 19, 1921. He graduated from the Poughkeepsie High School in June 1940 and entered upon his duties at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, on June 27, 1941. His military service began on November 21, 1942. Lieutenant Siko was a member of the Army Air Forces at the time of his death on October 14, 1943, at Neighbors, California. His widow is Mrs. Frances Mazzarelli Siko.

Placard showing members of National Archives staff in armed forces, February 22, 1943. (Records of the National Archives)

Placard showing members of National Archives staff in armed forces, February 22, 1943. (Records of the National Archives)

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