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Frank Dabney Peregoy, T/Sgt., U.S. Army

Frank Dabney Peregoy, US Army

Name:  Frank Dabney Peregoy, T/Sgt., U.S. Army

Date:  1944

Image Number:  FDP01cdFDP01

Comments:  Frank Dabney Peregoy (sometimes spelled Peregory) was born on April 10, 1916, in Esmont, Virginia; he was the son of James Eligh Peregoy (1892-1935) and Susie Allen (1890-1931).  Frank grew up with 10 siblings, and his mother passed away in 1931 and his father in 1935.  On 3 February 1941, Frank enlisted in the National Guard in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a Private First Class.  He married Bessie Geneva Kirby in Charlottesville, Virginia on 5 July 1941.

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Frank's unit was activated as a part of the U.S. Army's 29th Division and began training for participation in the war.  While patrolling a beach in North Carolina shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Frank rescued a drowning comrade.  In recognition of his action and disregard of danger to himself, Frank was awarded the Soldier's Medal, the highest non-combat award that a soldier can receive for saving a life. 

The 29th Division was then sent overseas to train in Scotland and England for the next two years.  The 29th Division was selected along with the Regular Army's 1st Infantry Division to attack one of five fortified beaches, code named "Omaha." On June 6, 1944, after the assault had been postponed several times, T/Sgt. Frank Peregoy landed with the 116th U.S. Infantry as part of the Normandy invasion, also known as D-Day.  His unit was among the first wave of troops to assault the beach, but despite fierce enemy resistance that included heavy shelling and machine gun fire, his unit made its way to the town of Grandcampe by June 8, 1944.

While his unit advanced on the German defenses, the leading elements of his unit began receiving fire from German forces.  The Germans were firmly entrenched on high ground overlooking the town and were able to inflict severe damage to allied forces as they approached.  Numerous attempts to neutralize the enemy position by supporting artillery and tank fire had proved ineffective until Frank risked his own life by advancing up the hill under heavy enemy fire.  He worked his way to the crest of the hill where he discovered an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications 200 yards away.  Without hesitating, Frank leaped into the trench and moved toward the emplacement.  When he encountered a squad of enemy riflemen, Frank attacked them with hand grenades and his bayonet, killing 8 and forcing 3 to surrender.  Frank then continued along the trench, forcing more than 32 German soldiers to surrender, including the machine gunners.  This action opened the way for the leading elements of the battalion allowing them to advance and secure its objective.  For Frank's actions at Grandcampe, he was recommended and approved for the Medal of Honor.

Frank's Medal of Honor citation reads: "On 8 June 1944, the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry was advancing on the strongly held German defenses at Grandcampe-Maisy, France, when the leading elements were suddenly halted by decimating machine gun fire from a firmly entrenched enemy force on the high ground overlooking the town.  After numerous attempts to neutralize the enemy position by supporting artillery and tank fire had proved ineffective.  T/Sgt Peregory, on his own initiative, advanced up the hill under withering fire, and worked his way to the crest where he discovered an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications 200 yards away.  Without hesitating, he leaped into the trench and moved toward the emplacement.  Encountering a squad of enemy riflemen, he fearlessly attacked them with hand grenades and bayonet, killed 8 and forced 3 to surrender.  Continuing along the trench, he single-handedly forced the surrender of 32 more riflemen, captured the machine gunners, and opened the way for the leading elements of the battalion to advance and secure its objective.  The extraordinary gallantry and agressiveness displayed by T/Sgt. Peregory are exemplary of the highest tradition of the armed forces."

Six days later on June 14, 1944, Frank was killed while fighting in the hedgerows.  He is buried at the American Battle Monuments Cemetery in Normandy, also known as Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer Basse-Normandie Region, France.  The grave of Frank Dabney Peregoy (aka Peregory) is located in section G, row 21, grave 7.

On June 5, 1945, Peregoy's widow, Bessie G. Peregoy, was presented her husband's Medal of Honor in the New City Armory in Charlottesville, Virginia.  A building complex at Fort Pickett in Virginia was dedicated to Peregoy in 1984.  In June 2010, a rededication ceremony was held and a new monument was unveiled with descriptions of his actions regarding the Medal of Honor and the Soldiers Medal.  The Frank D. Peregory United States Army Reserve Center, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, is named in his honor as well as the Frank D. Peregory Fitness Center located in Camp McGovern, Bosnia.  The street on which the Virginia National Guard Armory in Charlottesville lies was also named Peregory Lane, in his honor.  In 2016, the name of the street was changed to Peregoy to correct the spelling of that name.  The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution to declare his birthday "Frank Peregoy Day."

In 1994, the Department of Historic Resources erected the following historic marker honoring Technical Sergeant Frank D. Peregory in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The marker is located at the intersection of Emmet Street (Business U.S. 29) and University Avenue and Ivy Road (Business U.S. 250).

The photo of Technical Sergeant Frank D. Peregoy was provided by Ashley Shepherd via Ancestry.com.

The photo of Frank Peregoy's Grave marker in Normandy, France, was included in the Headstone Inscription and Interment Records for U.S. Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, 1942–1949. Series A1 43, NAI ID: 7408555; and Records of the American Battle Monuments Commission, 1918–ca. 1995. Record Group 117. The National Archives at Washington, D.C..

The photo of Frank D. Peregory's marker erected in 1994 by the Department of Historic Resources is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series (Marker Number G-27).

References:
a) Frank D. Peregory's  US Army Enlistment Record:  National Archives and Records Admistration, Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; ARC:1263923; WW II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park, MD.

b)  Certificate of Marriage, Charlottesville, Commonwealth of Virginia, 15155; Frank Dabney Peregory and Bessie Geneva Kirby, 5 July 1941.  Virginia, Marriages, 1936-2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.

c)  1930 U.S. Federal Census, Scottsville, Albemarle County, VA, Dwellling No. 291; ED 2-14, SD 4; Sheet 14B.

d) Headstone Inscription and Interment Records for U.S. Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, 1942–1949.  Series A1 43, NAI ID: 7408555.  Records of the American Battle Monuments Commission, 1918–ca. 1995.  Record Group 117.  The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

e)  U.S. War Department, Press Releases & Related Records for Frank D. Peregory, Box 13(B6654-B950), SIS Release B-856.

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Top Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD FDP01
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Middle Image Located On:   Capturing Our Heritage, CD FDP01
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Bottom Image Located On:   Capturing Our Heritage, CD FDP01
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