Pfc. Cyrill A. Matelski, 21, son of Mrs. Anna Winkels, 1152 Washington Avenue, has been officially reported as killed in action [December 4, 1942], according to word received Saturday night in a telegram to his mother from T. Holcomb, lieutenant general of the United States Marine Corps.
Private Matelski is the sixth Racine man to be officially reported as killed in action since war was declared.
The telegram to Mrs. Winkels read:
“Deeply regret to inform you that your son, Private First Class Cyrill A. Matelski, U.S. Marine Corps, was killed in action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country. To prevent possible aid to our enemies please do not divulge the name of ship or station. Present situation necessitates temporary interment in locality where death occurred, and you will be notified accordingly . Please accept my heartfelt sympathy. Letter follows.”
Private Matelski enlisted in the Marines Dec. 29, 1941. He left St. Catherine’s High School during the middle of his senior year in order to enlist.
Private Matelski participated on Aug. [17-18] in a raid on Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii. The force had Major James Roosevelt, the president’s eldest son, as one of its leaders and succeeded in destroying a Jap seaplane base.
Seized by the Japanese at the outset of the war, the formerly British-owned Gilbert Islands lie on the equator, just below powerful enemy bases in the Marshall Islands and 1,100 miles northeast of the Solomon Islands, scene of bitter fighting.
Since the Makin Island raid, Private Matelski had been in almost constant action. A letter that he wrote last September was received by his mother in October. It was the last word she got from him.
Private Matelski was graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic Grade School and is the first boy from St. Mary’s to lose his life in action. His death was announced from the pulpit at church Sunday, and prayers were offered up for him by the congregation.
Private Matelski also attended Franklin Junior High School and Washington Park High School, where he was active on the track team. He transferred to St. Catherine’s during his senior year. His mother is an active member of the Navy Mothers Club.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his step-father, Henry Winkels, and an aunt, Jane Ebertoski.