Dorothy L. Swart Tatum
Most would assume that anyone who died during World War II received an Purple Heart. However, that prestigious award was only given to those injured in battle. Thus, it was possible to die while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and not receive a Purple Heart.
Buried in the Oneida cemetery is one of those ‘death non battle’ individuals. Dorothy L. Swart Tatum’s grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Louis Swart. Dorothy was the daughter of George Swart who moved to Texas and then to Oakley, Kansas. While living in Texas, Dorothy volunteered for officer’s training in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Texas newspapers provide a wealth of information about her service.
Donna Woman Will Get WAAC Training
Donna — Miss Dorothy Swart of Donna and Elsa has been notified that she has been accepted for officers’ training in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She will report at San Antonio on August 10.
The Monitor (Brownsville, Texas) – 26 July 1942
Will Join WAAC
Donna — Miss Dorothy Swart of Donna and Elsa will report in Aan Antonia August 10, having been accepted for officers’ training in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) – 2 Aug 1942, page 16
Off to WAAC officer’s training today is Miss Dorothy Swart of Elsa, former Donna resident and one of two Valley women to try for membership in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps. Miss Swart, employed by F. H. Valhsing Inc. at Elsa, will be sworn in Monday at San Antonio and from there will go to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for officer’s training. She was a corporal in the Weslaco women’s defense corps and has about five hours solo flying to her credit.
The Monitor (Brownsville, TX) – 9 Aug 1942, page 9
Is Accepted by W.A.A.C.
Miss Dorothy Swart, who arrived last week from Elsa, Texas to spend a short vacation with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. M. Swart, recently was accepted by the W.A.A.C. as a candidate for officers training and was sworn in at San Antonio, August 10. She is to report at Des Moines August 24 for duty.
For the past four years, Miss Swart has been doing secretarial work for F. H. Vahlsing Inc., a grower and shipper of fresh vegetables in the Rio Grande Valley. She reports that this company shipped over 5,000 cars of fresh vegetables from Texas the past season.
She also was a member of the Texas Women’s Defense Corps, holding the rank of a Corporal. Each Valley city has organized the Corps for the purpose of learning first aid, motor mechanics, fire fighting, military drill and other duties which may be of aid in case of emergency.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 21 Aug 1942, page 1
Miss Dorothy Swart, who is in training at Fort DesMoines, IA., in the W.A.A.C. as officers’ candidate, received her commission last Saturday.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 9 Oct 1942, page 5
Dorothy Swart, Third Officer of the W.A.A.C., who spent a few days at home with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart and other relatives on her way from Fort Des Moines, Ia., left last Thursday for her new destination, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 30 Oct 1942, page 10
3rd Officer Dorothy Swart, of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, former resident of Oakley, is among the 500 officers and auxiliaries selected to activate the 2nd WAAC Training Center at Daytona Beach, Fla., which will receive its first recruits early next month. 3rd. O. Swart received her training at Fort Des Moines and was assigned to the Florida post on November 1. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart of Oakley.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 11 Dec 1942, page 8
Donna — Lieut. Dorothy Swart of Elsa and Donna, the first Hidalgo county woman to join the W.A.A.C. has arrived in London.
The Houston Post (Houston, TX) – 28 Feb 1943, page 45
The Lady Mayoress and the Lord Mayor of London hand a luncheon invitation to two newly arrived WAACs, Lieut. Dorothy L. Swart of Elsa, Texas, and Capt. Zelma Hanson, right, of Los Angeles, during a brief leave from their bomber command duties.
The San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) – 5 Mar 1943, page 10
Canadian and Texan at Luncheon
Captain Riley (initials and address unavailable), who led the first contingent of the Canadian women’s army to arrive in England, and Second Officer Dorothy L. Swart of Elsa, Texas, first United States W.A.A.C. to be assigned to the European theater, are shown at a recent luncheon of women leaders of the United Nations war effort at the Mansion house, London. (AP Photo)
The Houston Post (Houston, TX) – 7 Mar 1943, page 15
Texas WAAC Shows WAAF How — Second Officer Dorothy L. Swart, right of Elsa, Tex., a WAAC officer stationed at the headquarters of the Eighth U.S. Bomber Command “Somewhere in England,” teaches Section Officer Frances Ahalt, a WAAF married to an American Air Force captain, how to pitch horseshoes.
San Angelo Standard-Times (San Angelo, TX) – 15 Apr 1943, page 9
WAAC Officers in Britain to Prepare Large-Scale Force
London, June 27 (AP) — Additional WAAC officers have arrived here to prepare for a large-scale U.S. feminine military force in Britain, it was learned today.
The first WAAC force sent overseas when tot North Africa in January.
It was also disclosed that the first two WAAC officers to arrive in Britain were Capt. Zelma Hansen of Los Angeles, and Lt. Dorothy Swart of Elsa, Tex.
San Angelo Standard-Times – 28 Jun 1943, page 5
Valley WAC on Foreign Duty Can Keep Secret
Lt. Dorothy Swart
By Ruth Cowan
London — Who says a woman can’t keep a secret? two WACs proved it but almost landed in the guardhouse doing it.
At first, Capt. Selma Hansen, Los Angeles, and Lt. Dorothy Swart, Elsa, Tex. were very hush-hush when assigned to the European theatre of operations of the U.S. army, but now that a WAC battalion is in Britain they can come out into circulation.
They arrived some time back, under secret orders to report directly to Maj. Gen. Ira C. Eaker of the U.S. Eighth Air Force headquarters. They took the orders both seriously and literally. But when they arrived in Britain they found they did not know where the air force headquarters was.
They tried to find out through U.S. Army headquarters, but when they refused to show their orders no one there would help them. Army regulations are that military personnel coming into an area report to the adjutant general’s office.
Col. Ralph Pusifer of the adjutant general’s office knew that the WACs were expected. He told his assistant that there should be two WACs in town and they would just see how long it took the women to check in.
They waited and they waited.
Finally, Pusifier decided he had better go find the WACs. He ran into Captain Hansen just outside U.S. headquarters.
“Don’t you know you are supposed to report to the adjutant general’s office?” he asked.
“No, sir,” she replied, “my orders were to report to General Eaker.”
He finally persuaded her it would be okay for her to come in — in fact he ordered her to report to his office — and then helped the two secretive WACs on their way.
The Monitor (Brownsville, TX) – 26 Jul 1943, page 2
Valley WAC Becomes Communications Officer for British Fortress Base
A U.S. Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, England — To WAC 1st Lt. Dorothy L. Swart of Elsa, Texas, goes the honor of being the first of the khaki-clad American girls to be stationed at an Eighth Air Force bomber base. Most of the WACs in England have been assigned to various headquarters.
She is serving temporarily as a communications officer on this Flying Fortress station. A graduate of Wichita Business university and a former secretary for F. H. Vahlsing, Inc., shippers at Elsa, Lieutenant Swart volunteered for officers candidate school at Ft. Des Moines, Ia. in August, 1942. She was among the first WAC officers to arrive in this theater.
She has completed a communications course here and has been in communications work throughout her service in the European theater of operations.
The Monitor (Brownsville, TX) – 23 Sep 1943, page 1
Women in Service
Elsa — Lieut. Dorothy L. Swart of Elsa, who recently completed a communications training course in England, is now serving as communications officer to a Flying Fortress bomber station of the Eighth air force.
The Houston Post (Houston, TX) – 3 Oct 1943, page 40
Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart received a telegram from the British Broadcasting Corporation in New York City, that their daughter, Lt. Dorothy Swart, who is with the WACs in England, would be interviewed on the Mutual network last Saturday afternoon.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 25 Feb 1944, page 1
Word was received from Dorothy Swart that she was promoted to Captain. Congratulations.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 7 April 1944, page 12
Picture of WAC Capt. Swart Received
This newspaper received a photograph from the Eighth Air Force Headquarters in England, showing WAC Capt. Dorothy Swart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Swart of Oakley as a spectator at the Eighth Air Force Championship swimming meet in England. Capt. Swart has been overseas since February 1943. She is a specialist in the communications section at Eighth Air Force headquarters and was one of the first two WAC’s to arrive in the European Theater of Operations. She is shown with Capt. John B. Trigg, of Great Falls, Mont., and WAC Capt. Mary P. Johnston of New York, N.Y., both of whom are stationed at the same headquarters as Capt. Swart.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 13 Oct 1944, page 1
It seemed so early in September and October to be sending Christmas packages to our service sons and daughters but it seems many of them just reached their destination in time for Christmas. Capt. Dorothy Swart wrote her parents of buying a small Christmas tree and trying to decorate it a little with odd bits she could find but any how it added to the Christmas atmosphere. And of course we realize more of the boys than not were not able to have even a symbol of Christmas unless it was their packages.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 12 Jan 1945, page 8
Capt. Dorothy Swart had the pleasure of having a nice visit with her cousin, S/Sgt. Max Krummel over in England recently. His wife lives at Belleville, Kans.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 20 April 1945, page 2
News of the Men and Women in Uniform
Captain Dorothy Swart and John M. Tatum ware married May 10 in England. The bride is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Swart, Oakley, and has been in the WAC’s nearly three years, overseas 27 months. The bridegroom is from Mississippi and is a civilian employ, a technician in a gunnery establishment. Details of the wedding have not been learned.
Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS) – 21 May 1945, page 1
Valley WAC Becomes Bride in Formal English Rites
Donna — Capt. Dorothy Lucille Swart, formerly of Donna and now serving with the WAC in England, had the distinction of receiving a toast from Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, commanding general of the Eighth Air Force, at the reception following her wedding May 10 at All Saints Parish church at Buckinghamshire, England.
Captain Swart became the bride of John M. Tatum, overseas technical representative in the service department of the Sperry Gyroscope Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Swart of Oakley, Kans., former residents of Donna and Elsa. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Tatum of Hattiesburg, Tenn.
Worked at Elsa
The bride is a graduate of Wichita Business university and before enlisting in the WACs in August of 1942 was secretary for F. H. Vahlsing Inc., at Elsa. Following service at Daytona Beach, Fla, she was one of the first two WACs to be assigned to overseas duty in February 1943. At present she is assistant operations officer at Eighth Air Force headquarters at Wycombe Abbey, one of England’s most famous schools.
Rev. H. E. Float officiated at the wedding assisted by Col. Walter Dorre of Wichita Falls, chaplain of the Eighth Air Force. The bride wore a formal gown of heavy white satin made princess style with a corded neck line, long fitted sleeves and a train. Her veil fell from a tiara edged with tulle. Her arm bouquet was of calla lillies, white iris, carnations, lilies of the alley and orchids.
Capt. Mary Johnson of New York City was bridesmaid. She wore a floor length dress of accordion pleated blue crepe with sequin girdle and carried a bouquet of shaded sweetpeas and a cap of the same flowers on her head. Capt. Nicholas Beckman of Monahans, Texas, was the best man. Ushers were Maj. Robert Peterson of Ogden, Utah; Maj. Madison Veazey of Birmingham, Ala.; Capt. Roger Russell of Worcester, Mass, and Capt. Robert Golz of New Milford, Conn.
At the reception which followed, General Doolittle was in the receiving line and gave the toast to the bridal couple. Maj. Mary Dixon of Ithaca, N.J., Louise Bain of Danville, Ind. Lt Mary Helen Trealer of New York City assisted in serving the wedding cake and punch.
The newlyweds spent their honeymoon at Berkeley Square, London. The bridegroom later returned to the United States and the bride remained at her station with the WAC.
The Monitor (Brownville, TX) – 17 Jun 1945, page 14
Mr. and Mrs. Geo Swart received word from their daughter, Capt. Dorothy S. Tatum that she was at an embarkment center near Liverpool awaiting transportation to the U.S.A.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, Kansas), 20 July 1945, page 4
Capt. Dorothy Swart arrived on Queen Mary
WAC Capt. Dorothy Tatum, oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart of Oakley arrived in New York on Aug. 2 on the Queen Mary along with 38 other WAC’s. She was one of the first two WAC’s in the ETO and returns now just short of 30 months overseas.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 10 Aug 1945, page 1
Mrs. George Swart had the pleasure of talking to her daughter, Capt. Dorothy Swart Tatum Saturday evening when she called her from Brooklyn, New York, Where she was with her husband since landing August 2. She came over on the Queen Mary.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 17 August 1945, page 19
Mr. and Mrs. George Swart received word from their daughter, Captain Dorothy Tatum that she has received her discharge. She is located at Brooklyn, N.Y., at present, where Mr. Tatum has employment.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) 21 Sept 1945, page 12
Former Valley WAC Hospitalized in East
Donna — Mrs. John M. Tatum formerly Dorothy Swart of Donna, is seriously ill in an Army hospital in New York, according to word reaching here.
The former Valley girl was on of the first two WAC officers assigned overseas duty and served as a captain with the Doolittle staff of the Eighth Air Force in England. She was given in marriage by General Doolittle last year in an English church. She is believed to have contracted her illness while overseas.
The Monitor (Brownsville, TX) – 5 Feb 1946, page 3
Former Donna Resident Dies
Donna — Mrs. Dorothy Swart Tatum, 28, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Swart of Oakley, Kans., formerly of Donna, died Tuesday at the Mitchell Field hospital on Long Island, New York, after a four-month illness.
Her mother and a sister had been with her since November. Mrs. Tatum will be buried at Oneida, Kans.
Born in Seneca, Kans. on Christmas day, 1917, she came to Donna, in her early girlhood with her family, living here for many years. When her family returned to Kansas she remained to continue her work in the office of F. H. Vahlsing Co. of Elsa. A captain in the WAC, Mrs. Tatum spent two and one half years in England in the headquarters office of the 8th Air Corps working in an office about 40 feet below the ground. It is believed that she contracted her fatal illness at that time.
Mrs. Tatum’s grandmother, Mrs. Louis Swart, is spending the winter here with her daughter, Mrs. Thomas P. Johnstone, on the Val Verde Road. Mrs. Roy Holley of Donna, Glenn Johnstone of Alamo and Clarence Johnstone of Elsa are her cousins.
The Monitor (Brownsville, TX) – 15 Feb 1946, page 2
Dorothy Swart Tatum Dies in New York
Mrs. John M. Tatum, 28, passed away Tuesday afternoon Feb. 12, at station hospital, Mitchell Field, Long Island, N.Y. where she had been a patient since last October 25.
Dorothy Swart Tatum was the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. M. Swart of Oakley and received her honorable discharge from the WAC as a Captain in September, after three years service with two and one-half years overseas in England. She returned from England in August and was on terminal leave at the time of her death.
Funeral services and burial will be at Oneida, Kansas Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS) – 15 Feb 1946, page 1
Mrs. Dorothy Swart Tatum
Donna — Mrs. Dorothy Swart Tatum, 28, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Swart of Oakley, Kan., formerly of Donna, died Tuesday at the Mitchell Field Hospital on Long Island, N.Y., after four months illness.
Her mother and a sister have been with her husband at Great Neck, Long Island, since November. Mrs. Tatum will be buried in the family lot in Oneida, Kans.
Born in Seneca, Kans., Christmas day 1917, she came to Donna in her early girlhood with her family. When her family returned to Kansas she remained to continue her work in the office of the Vahlsing Corp. of Elsa.
A captain in the WAC, Mrs. Tatum spent two and one-half years in England in the headquarters office of the Eighth Air Corps, working about 40 feet below the ground.
Valley Morning Star – 16 Feb 1946, page 2
Funeral for WAC Captain
Full military honors were accorded a young woman Sunday afternoon at Oneida where the funeral of Mrs. Dorothy Swart Tatum, a WAC captain, was held. Mrs. Tatum died Tuesday in New York City.
Captain Tatum was in service more than three years in England and with the Eighth Air Force more than two years. She returned to the states late last summer and became ill while on terminal leave.
One of the largest crowds ever present at a funeral in this county attended and the floral tributes were exceptional.
Attending the funeral, as representative of her branch of service was Lt. Lucy Davis, attached to the Personal Affairs division of the Eighth Air Force, New York. John Stark, now a civilian, former major and commander of Captain Tatum’s division in the Eighth Air Force in England during her service there, came from Denver to attend.
Rev. S M Finch, pastor of the Methodist church, Seneca, gave the sermon and a mixed quartet from the Oneida Methodist church, sang favorite hymns. Pallbearers were cousins, in uniform of the U.S Army: Robert Duncan, Lincoln, Neb., Max Krammel, Belleville, Kans., Donald, Lester and Everett Noble, Oneida, and Clarence Aeschliman, Seneca.
Earle W. Taylor Post, American Legion, Seneca, conducted the services at the cemetery. The American Flag was presented to Captain Tatum’s mother, Mrs. George Swart, Oakley, Kan. This is believed the first time the local legion has served at a military service for a woman.
Captain Tatum’s husband, John Tatum, New York City; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Swart and family, Oakley, Kans., and Mr. Tatum’s parents and brother, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Tatum and their son, Frank Tatum, Jr., Mississippi, were here to attend the service, also many other relatives and friends from this community and neighboring towns.
Sabetha Herald (Sabetha, KS) – 20 Feb 1946, page 1