– 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division –
He was one of seven children. His father served in World War I and 2 of his brothers also served in World War II.
William V. “Slim” Hamner was in the Navy and served as a fireman first class, also serving in the North Africa Campaign. His other brother, Samuel D. Hamner, served in the Army and fought in the South Pacific This military family influence might have been why Charles wanted to join the Army at an early age.Charles enlisted on November 25th, 1940 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The enlistment record says that Charles was born in 1922, but it can be assumed that he lied about his age so he could enlist in the Army. He told the US Army he was 18 years at the time, but actually was only 16 years old. When he joined he became part of the National Guard first.
Charles took part in the first Battle Campaigns for the 9th Infantry Division and went to North-Africa.
Here he participated in the actions on March 28th, 1943 near El Guettar, Tunisia. The 9th and 1st Divisions were to seize opposite sides of the El Guettar Pass, enabling the 1st Armored Division to roll through without being fired on from its flanks.
At “H-Hour”, 6 A.M. on March 28th 1943, the 47th Infantry Regiment was in position to take that day’s objective, being Hill 369. Although the objective area was reached quickly, darkness and poor maps had led the 47th Infantry Regiment astray to El Hamra Ridge.
There was no need to worry the commanders thought: 2nd Battalion of the same Regiment had been sent on a flanking movement and would get the job done. However, 2nd Battalion was caught in a murderous crossfire decimating Company E. The Battalion’s Commanding Officer and Communications Officer were captured, as was the commander of Company E and 175 of his men. The Commanding Officer of Company F and 6 men along with one officer of Company H and an aid to General Eisenhower were captured too.
It was during these events that Private Charles Hamner went Missing In Action.
Two articles were published in the Tuscaloosa news about Charles:
Private Charles W. Hamner is now mentioned on the Wall of Missing at the North-African American Cemetery at Carthage in Tunisia.
For his service Pfc. Hamner was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and will never be forgotten.