Andrew Haldane

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For the Bank of England banker, see Andy Haldane. For other Haldanes, see Haldane.
Andrew Haldane
Birth name Andrew Allison Haldane
Nickname(s) Ack Ack
Born (1917-08-22)August 22, 1917
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Died October 12, 1944(1944-10-12) (aged 27)
Hill 140, Peleliu, Palau  
Place of burial Section 12 Site 5367 Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942–1944
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit King Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (The Old Breed) (Blue Diamond)
Battles/wars World War II
*Guadalcanal Campaign
*Battle of Cape Gloucester
*Battle of Peleliu

Andrew Allison Haldane (August 22, 1917 – October 12, 1944), known as Andy and nicknamed "Ack-Ack",[1] was an officer in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He was shot and killed during the Battle of Peleliu. Haldane is "one of the most revered figures in the history of the U.S. Marines."[2]

Haldane was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and lived in Methuen, Massachusetts most of his life. He graduated from the Searles High School in 1935. He attended St John’s Prep in Danvers, then Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine.[3]

He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine,[4] where the memory of Captain Haldane is honored annually by presenting the Haldane Cup to the graduating senior who has displayed outstanding qualities of leadership and character. At Bowdoin he was captain of the football team and president of the student council,[5][6] and he was voted most popular senior in 1940.[7] He became assistant football coach at Bowdoin in October 1941 after graduating that June. He had planned to coach for a season before joining the Marine Corps, but he was called up after coaching for a mere two weeks.[8][9][10][11]

He became a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1942, graduating from the Reserve Officers' Training School in Quantico.[4] He served with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal,[12] and was commanding officer of Company K at Cape Gloucester, where he received the Silver Star for leading hand-to-hand combat in a fight on Walt's Ridge. He led Company K through most of the fight for Peleliu. Haldane was shot by a Japanese sniper on October 12, 1944, while assessing the area of Hill 140 during the Battle of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, three days before the Marines came off the lines.[1][6] A Sea Scouts Ship was named in his honor at his old college.[13]

In Eugene Sledge's With the Old Breed[edit]

Eugene Sledge, a mortar-man in Company "K", describes what happened to his company's commander in his book, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa:

At the time of Captain Haldane's death, the bulk of Company K was operating with its parent battalion (3/5) on Hill 140 within the Umurbrogol Pocket. In an attempt to orient himself to the strange terrain his company was occupying, Haldane was peeking over a ridge and was shot by a Japanese sniper and was killed instantly.[14] First Lieutenant Thomas J. Stanley succeeded him as commander of K/3/5. Stanley led Company K through the remainder of the Peleliu campaign and on to Okinawa the following spring.

In his book, Sledge pays his leader a tribute:[15]

Capt. Andy Haldane wasn't an idol. He was human. But he commanded our individual destinies under the most trying conditions with the utmost compassion. We knew he could never be replaced. He was the finest Marine officer I ever knew. The loss of many close friends grieved me deeply on Peleliu and Okinawa. But to all of us the loss of our company commander at Peleliu was like losing a parent we depended upon for security – not our physical security, because we knew that was a commodity beyond our reach in combat, but our mental security.... So ended the outstanding combat career of a fine officer who had distinguished himself at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. We had lost our leader and our friend. Our lives would never be the same. But we turned back to the ugly business at hand.

Haldane is portrayed by actor Scott Gibson in the 2010 HBO miniseries, The Pacific, which used Sledge's memoir as source material.[2][6]

In R.V. Burgin's Islands of the Damned[edit]

Romus Burgin, another mortar-man in Company "K", also speaks highly of Captain Haldane in his book, Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific:[16]

(Captain Haldane) was as well liked as any officer I knew. I never heard him raise his voice at any man. He was firm, but he was a gentleman, and compassionate.

His death is also described in this book. When Third Battalion arrived to relieve the Second Battalion on Hill 140,[17]

Everybody was warning them not to show their heads over the top. Jap snipers on the far side were alert, and deadly. But someone needed to see what was beyond the hill in order to direct the battalion's fire.... Second Battalion's own machine gunners were dug in so low, they could hardly see what they were shooting at. They had to sight their guns by looking under the barrels. This was not satisfactory to Captain Haldane, who was himself an old machine gunner. He slithered forward a few feet and cautiously raised his head. Everybody heard a sharp thwack and knew instantly what it meant. Those who were close enough said his head just exploded. There was no point in even calling for a corpsman.


  1. ^ a b Sloan, Bill (2006). Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944. New York: Simon & Schuster. 
  2. ^ a b Myles, Ruth (7 April 2010). "Canada's Scott Gibson heads to The Pacific". Canwest News Service. Ottawa, Canada. Retrieved 2010-06-16. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Gagnon, Dan (March 2010). "Andrew Haldane". Methuen Life. 
  4. ^ a b "Gus Rooney is trying to line up baseball club". Lewiston Daily Sun. 28 April 1942. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  5. ^ "Andy Haldane should come into his own this fall". Lewiston Evening Journal. 11 September 1940. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  6. ^ a b c Abbruzzese, Kelsey (9 February 2007). "Miniseries 'The Pacific War' to feature alum war hero". The Bowdoin Orient. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Bowdoin's Ivy Day is Held Indoors". Lewiston Daily Sun. 18 May 1940. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  8. ^ Associated Press (7 October 1941). "Bowdoin Assistant". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  9. ^ "Haldane Appointed To Bowdoin Staff". The Hartford Courant. 7 October 1941. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  10. ^ "Andy Haldane added to Bowdoin staff". The Lewiston Daily Sun. 7 October 1941. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Haldane Called to Service in Marines". The Lewiston Daily Sun. 25 October 1941. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Capt. Andy Haldane now a veteran and hero of Guadalcanal". The Lewiston Daily Sun. 14 October 1943. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  13. ^ "Sea Scouts meet". The Lewiston Daily Sun. 8 March 1950. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  14. ^ Sledge, Eugene B. With the Old Breed. pp.151
  15. ^ Sledge, Eugene B. With the Old Breed. pp.140–41.
  16. ^ Burgin, R.V. Islands of the Damned. pp.112.
  17. ^ Burgin, R.V. Islands of the Damned. pp.180-181.