Sunday, 20 December 2015

Do You Ever Wonder about Christmas for your Military Ancestor?

Last month, I began my journey in tracing my dad’s movement during WWII. I discovered I have some records to obtain, but I do have the basic information for being able to hopefully find his whole story.

What I do know…First, he was with the Army Corp of Engineers Company 1308th Engineers GS Regiment.  Second, He enlisted in 12th of August 1943 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  His oral history gave the reason for enlisting as no choice. He had been working for the Santa Fe Rail Road line as a Construction Foreman and trackman. 

This had exempted him from military service since September 1941, because he was in the group of men “keeping the infrastructure of the United States running for the purpose of shipping troops, and war related materials.”  He was fine with that, but it depended on his turning in a monthly report of employment.  He had left this to his wife to keep up to date.  She failed to do so, and he received a draft notice.  To keep from not having a choice of where to serve, he went to the war office and enlisted to work with the engineers regiment to keep the troops safe, and moving. He blamed her and later found out she was having an affair with a differed guy.  This was not a happy period in his life., but now you know why he enlisted.
He was trained in the Army at South Carolina where he made Rifle Marksman. Nov 1943.  He was a Private then.  This was not surprising as he was an excellent hunter from the age of 10. 
The GO 33 WD 45 in front of the Northern France, Ardennes, and Rhineland puzzled me.  A man writing a blog about a 82nd Airborne Veteran had the same question and helped me out immensely by putting links to actual army pdfs that gave the documentation I needed.
They were in the Battle of the Bulge.  
Next I turned to the old Newspapers searching for the 1308th Regiment.  There I found some solider’s stories of  what happened at the Battle of the Bulge and where my father was. 

The Republic13 Feb 1945, TuePage 1

Christmas Eve Dec 24th 1944, my father was in Ardennes, France cold and freezing.  He always said that it was miserable but he never talked of this time.  Looking at the one fellow soldier’s account.  I would guess it really wasn’t something to talk about.  I have included a snipit from the soldier’s account. Reading this helps me appreciate where my father was and what the men had to endure to keep the war from turning at that point. 
This is one account of a miracle that happened on that night in the Ardennes.  These men had to endure so much. Here is the story from the
I am getting ready to embark in a cruise with my daughter in 1 hour, so I will leave at this point and will pick up when I have more information on his after the Bulge.  
Merry Christmas to all.  May you and your family be blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Fran - I have enjoyed reading this post - and your November one - as my father too experienced the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Dad served as an RAF Cipher & Codes Clerk and was attached to the USA Army under General Bradley. Dad was happy to talk about this period in his life, but what we heard I now realise was a sanitized version. One apocryphal family story related to the shortage of food supplies in the depths of winter and having to exist on a meal of "five boiled sweets". Dad wrote down his wartime memories for me and these have provided the basis for many a blog post - the latest one on Dec 8th at:

    Family History Fun


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