Cleauthor Sanders
U. S. Marines
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 06/10/1944 - 08/08/1946
Rifleman, 7th Marine Division

Clearthur Sanders was born at home in 1926 in Mansfield, Louisiana to Beatrice and Matthew Sanders. His family lived on Route 3 in the country and he grew up in a large family with four brothers and two sisters. His father, who was a farmer, served in WWI and but he died in 1939 when Clearthur was twelve years old. His mother raised seven children by herself. They lived in a shotgun house with three rooms and they heated the house with a wood fireplace, cooked on a wood stove and had coal oil lamps for light. They did not have telephones or automobiles but had a horse named Snowball that they would ride to the store to pay bills. His mother made lye soap and they would draw water into a tub or an iron pot over a fire to wash their clothes and then hang them on a clothesline. When the clothes were done, they would use the tub of water to take a bath. Clearthur had to help his mother on the farm while all of his brothers and sisters went to school. They grew cotton, corn, peanuts, peas, potatoes, okra and tomatoes. They also had peach trees. They did not have refrigerators then so they preserved meat by putting it in a churn and pouring salt over it. Growing up, he had to work to help his mother with the family and he milked cows on a neighboring farm, also churning and then he was able to bring milk and butter home to the family earning fifty cents a day. He remembers going to see the movie Gone With the Wind, which cost a nickel. Later, he worked in a shoe store and also went to Orange, Texas and worked in the shipyard. When he was eighteen, he received his draft notice joining the Marine Corps in 1944. He was sent to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina for basic training. He did not learn to swim or shoot a gun until he joined the Marines, serving in the 2nd Division, which had both black and white Marines. He remembers the time that Mrs. Roosevelt came to camp to observe their training. Before being shipped out, they had a short leave, returned to Camp LeJeune, and went to Camp Pendleton where they trained a few days. They sailed on a battleship to Iwo Jima but stopped in Hawaii on the way and Clearthur remembers seeing the battleships that had been overturned from the Pearl Harbor attack. Then they sailed to Tinian and Saipan. After Saipan, they were shipped to Guam and remained there until the atomic bomb was dropped. Clearthur returned to the United States on the USS William Mitchell. After settling in Mansfield he traveled to Houston and Chicago and then decided to go to Detroit where he had friends and cousins and worked at the Ford plant. He was injured in a plant accident and returned to Mansfield. He worked at the Ralston Purina Company in Shreveport retiring in 1989 after 35 years of employment.