Welborn Griffith

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Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr.
Birth nameWelborn Barton Griffith, Jr.
Born(1901-11-19)November 19, 1901
Quanah, Texas
DiedAugust 16, 1944(1944-08-16) (aged 42)
Lèves, France
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
UnitHeadquarters, XX Corps
Battles/warsBattle of Chartres, World War II 
AwardsSilver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Purple Heart, Légion d'Honneur, Legion of Merit
MemorialsCommemorative plaque at Lèves

Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. (November 19, 1901 – August 16, 1944) was an American officer who served during World War II in the United States Army. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the Class of 1925.

Colonel Griffith is best remembered for being instrumental in saving France's Chartres Cathedral, one of the most important monuments of medieval civilization, during the battle of Chartres (16–18 August 1944) in World War II.

As Operations Officer (G-3) with Headquarters, for XX Corps, Griffith and his driver searched the cathedral, and climbed to the top of its bell tower. Finding no Germans there, he was able to rescind the order to shell the monument. Later that day, he was killed in the neighboring town of Lèves,[1] 3.5 kms north of Chartres. The people of Lèves[1] set up a plaque on a building next to the spot where Griffith was killed.[2]

On 21 October 1944, Griffith was awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.[3] He was also awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit, the French Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'Honneur.[4]


  1. ^ a b Site officiel de la Ville de Lèves
  2. ^ "The American hero who saved Chartres Cathedral".
  3. ^ "Valor awards for Welborn Barton Griffith , Jr".
  4. ^ Eugene G. Schulz, The Ghost in General Patton's Third Army, USA, 2012. ISBN 978-1477141441