Cars by the thousands pass by it daily on Highway 21 in Garden City. Some people may, in their hurry to get somewhere else, even notice the monument by the track at Groves High School. It’s hard to get a good look as you drive by. But, if you get stuck by a train, you’ll have plenty of time to read the monument and wonder how it got there.
The field is dedicated to 2nd Lt. Britt Cumming who died in 1945, during World War II. He was killed during a Japanese artillery barrage in the battle for Okinawa.
Cumming was born in Statesboro in 1924. His family later moved to Savannah and lived on East Park Avenue. He graduated from Commercial High School in 1942. And, like so many young men of that class, he joined the Army right after graduation.
After basic training, Cumming attended Officer Training School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry. After completing a Jungle Training Course in Hawaii, he was assigned to the 96tth Infantry Division, and joined the unit in April of 1945. He was assigned as a platoon leader in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 383rd Infantry Regiment, of the 96th Infantry Division.
He then became part of the American invasion force at Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of the war in the Pacific Theater. Cumming, who had just turned 21, was fatally wounded by shrapnel on April 29, 1945.
The young lieutenant was buried in a temporary cemetery on Okinawa until after the war. His body was returned to Savannah in May of 1949, and interred at Hillcrest Cemetery.
The Groves High School monument to his service and sacrifice was put up in 1963 and repaired and refurbished in 2003.
For more information about 2nd Lt. Cumming, please read the story at http://savannahnow.com/news/local/2006-05-29/familys-love-slain-world-war-ii-soldier-continues-flower.