Santa Clarita War Memorial

Errata: Misattributed Casualties.

The following individuals have been identified in news reports or included in lists of SCV war casualties over the years but either did not live in the Santa Clarita Valley or did not die in a war zone.



LT Lee B. Nolton, Army Fighter Pilot — LT Lee Blackstone Nolton [cq: not Lee "M." Nolton], son of Owen Wilson "Jack" Nolton and Ruth A. Yarbrough, both of Los Angeles, was serving with the 378th Fighter Group when his P-38 Lightning was shot down during a bombing run over Engelskirchen, Germany, on February 23, 1945. Lt. Nolton was credited with shooting down 9 German planes in combat, blowing up an ammunition factory, 2 bridges, and a railroad station. He was awarded a citation for destroying twice as many grounded planes, trucks and tanks by any other pilot at one strafing. Nolton was a captured POW [data file] and released by the Germans at war's end [L.A. Times] [The Signal]. He was a captain in the Air Force in 1955 when he died as a result of burn injuries he sustained when the B-25 bomber he was piloting out of Nellis AFB in Nevada collided in mid-air with an F-86 Sabre jet. The recipient of the Air Medal and Purple Heart, he was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles under a military headstone. He was survived by his wife, Margaret M. Nolton, and two daughters, Linda and Patti.

More family history: During the war, Lee's father, Jack Nolton, an LAPD motorcycle officer, was no longer married to Lee's mother. He had remarried Ruye McClain (Scown) and was living and ranching in San Martinez Canyon (Val Verde area); they later moved to Newhall where Ruye worked for the telephone company. It was also not the first marriage for Ruye; her son by a previous marriage was Newhall optometrist Dr. Wentworth "Bill" L. Scown, who in 1953 would marry Shirley Packard, daughter of Tony and (Lady) Linda Packard of San Francisquito Canyon.

Research by Tricia Lemon Putnam, 2019.


Bill Osborne — He is mentioned in a newspaper article about Tom Ross, who was missing in action. No further information at this time.


PVT Malcolm Lawrence Potter, U.S.M.C. — Born September 28, 1921, in San Fernando to Wilbur L. Potter (1882-1934) and Amy M. (Harteau) Potter (1890-1979). Married Althea Cummings on Oct 13, 1940, in Yuma, Arizona. Wilbur Potter was the proprietor of Potters Milling Co., with feed store locations in Newhall and Pacoima. (Milling, as in feed mill.) Wilbur Potter's Newhall location was a building he erected in 1931 at Railroad Avenue and 12th Street. To our knowledge, Malcolm Potter never lived or worked in the SCV. The building later became Newhall Lumber Company and still stands (2019). Malcolm Potter lived in San Fernando and worked at the Pacomia store when he registered for the draft in February 1942. He was assigned to A Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. He was killed in action September 15, 1944, and was laid to rest at Fort William McKinley in Manila, the Philippines. His widow, Althea, lived at 2014 6th Street in San Fernando. His mother, who was widowed (Wilbur died in a 1934 car crash), lived at 1559 Grandview Avenue in Glendale.


U.S. Army Air Force CAPT Milton Edison Soward — Although his parents and some of his siblings lived in the Santa Clarita Valley and various sources identify him as a Saugus or Los Angeles County resident, evidence suggests otherwise. CAPT Soward was born in Lebanon, Missouri, on May 17, 1918, to Missouri natives William Arthur Soward (1882-1964) and Lue Bertha Hamilton Soward (1887-1954). In 1920 the family lived in Missouri; by 1930 they had moved to Pasadena. Before 1940, CAPT Soward (who went by "Edison") was living with a sister in Avondale, Arizona, outside of Phoenix. Local news reports indicate he played basketball at Litchfield Park High School in Avondale in 1937-38. His draft card, filed October 29, 1940, is probably the source of confusion. He apparently picked it up in Saugus on October 16, 1940, and filed it in Buckeye, Arizona (the local recruiting station for Avondale).

Assigned to the 386th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group, known as the Hell Hawks, CAPT Soward was flying his 19th mission when on April 24, 1944, he took off from Beaulieu, England, to provide aerial support for 8th Air Force bombers returning from Southern Germany. He was last seen that afternoon north of Amiens, France, after strafing a Heinkel He 111. The official War Department report lists the cause of his disappearance as "unknown;" a German report is said to confirm he was shot down by flak and crashed near Arras in northern France. The Los Angeles Times reported him missing in June 1944, and he was still MIA in April 1945 when his mother received medals. His final resting place is Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France. It is unclear whether the headstone his father ordered is a grave marker or a cenotaph. No date is given on the interment card, and no death announcement has been discovered.

Exactly when CAPT Soward's family members first came to the SCV is unknown, but they had done so by 1942. At some point his parents divorced. His mother worked at Bermite Powder Company in Saugus during the war (as did his sister Nadine) and lived at 2111 Sierra Highway in Mint Canyon, probably until her death in 1954. His father lived in Pasadena when he ordered the headstone; he came (returned?) to the SCV about 1962 and lived at 26844 Sand Canyon Road until his death two years later.


Wallace Irving Willett Jr. — Born in Hollywood on October 3, 1926, to Wallace Jones "Jonesy" Willett (1898-1970, originally from Missouri), and Velma Simpson Willett (1898-1970, from Pennsylvania). A week after his 17th birthday in 1943, he enlisted in the Navy Seabees and was sent to basic training at Camp Peary, Virginia, where he was trained to operate a bulldozer. Three months later, en route home to visit his parents, he fell ill and was taken to an army field hospital near Needles where he was diagnosed with appendicitis and pneumonia. He was subsequently transported to Corona Naval Hospital in Riverside County where he died February 4, 1944. Although his obituary states he lived in Newhall his whole life, in 1930 the family was living in the San Fernando Valley. By 1940 (probably in 1934) the Willetts had moved to Rice Canyon, southwest of Newhall. Wallace Sr. was a ranch manager at Orcutt Ranch on Oat Mountain while young Wallace Jr. attended Newhall School and then San Fernando High School. The 1946 high school yearbook lists Wallace Jr. on a Gold Star service roster, and he was buried at Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth with full military honors despite being too young for active service. His mother died on what was reportedly her 50th wedding anniversary in 1970, and his father followed her three weeks later.

Research by Tricia Lemon Putnam, 2019.

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ] is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV
The site owner makes no assertions as to ownership of any original copyrights to digitized images. However, these images are intended for Personal or Research use only. Any other kind of use, including but not limited to commercial or scholarly publication in any medium or format, public exhibition, or use online or in a web site, may be subject to additional restrictions including but not limited to the copyrights held by parties other than the site owner. USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for determining the existence of such rights and for obtaining any permissions and/or paying associated fees necessary for the proposed use.
comments powered by Disqus