|Date and place of publication of this newspaper article was not recorded.|
WILLIAM JAMES STEVENS, 73
Services are 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 28 at Campbell-Aman Chapel for William James Stevens, 73 who died June 25, 1989. Rev. Russell Terman will officiate. Burial will be in Blair Cemetery.
William James Stevens was born November 20, 1915 to Samuel and Nelle Stevens at Tekamah, Nebraska. The family moved to Blair in 1916 where he attended Blair High School, graduating with the class of 1933.
He was known at “Willie” and played Little League Baseball, High School Football and served as lifeguard at the Blair Swimming Pool. He moved to Des Moines, Iowa, then to Omaha, where he had the franchise for John Manville Insulation Co.
He was drafted into the Army in 1943 and was sent to England, then to France where he was taken prisoner in the Battle of the Bulge December 20, 1944 and was released April 2, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. On November 11, 1988, he received the Ex-prisoner of War Medal.
Through the years he has suffered as a result of this imprisonment. The last few years he was in the Thomas Fitzgerald Veterans Home in Omaha.
On August 31, 1940, he was married to Virginia Kerr of Pleasantville, Iowa and to this union two children were born, John Kerr Stevens of Talent, Oregon and Nelle Marie Stevens of Long Beach, California.
He is survived by three sisters, Helen Arnold of Blair; Alice Bassett of Oak Harbor, Washington; and Clarice Whitaker of Omaha; one brother, Arthur G. Stevens of Buffalo, New York; three grandsons and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Lillian of Spokane and Elsie of Lyons, Nebraska.
Pilot 26 April 1945
Blair Men Freed from Prisons
Servicemen Liberated As Armies March Across The Reichland
Among the thousands of prisoners-of-war, liberated by American armies in their spectacular advances across the German homeland, are listed two Blair men. They are Staff Sgt Leonard King and Pfc. William J. Stevens.
Pvt. Stevens, who was reported missing in action on Dec. 20 and later (Mar. 11) was learned to be a prisoner, was liberated last week. His wife received a telegram from him on Monday. Pvt. Stevens is the son of Sam Stevens of Blair, and a brother of Mrs. Elsie Chard.
Sgt. King, meanwhile, has been freed from a German prison camp and has returned to his unit. A war department telegram containing this information was received, Saturday, by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James King.
Note: He is buried in the Blair Cemetery in Blk 94 Lot 3 Gr 7. Find a grave #117772156. Says Cpl. on his stone.
The following is the experiences of William Stevens, brother to Helen Stevens Arnold, as dictated to his sister, Clarice Stevens Whitaker. I have copied the story as Clarice had it typed. Here is Uncle Bill’s story:
This is the story of a civilian upon entering the Army, and the trials, troubles, thoughts & experiences until his release by the Army. It is not written with the idea of wanting sympathy from anybody but to try and express some of the true feelings as he went through the different experiences. This story was written during the writer’s stay at a German P.W. Camp and all events do not appear in this story in their actual sequence.
The time arrived for me to report to the induction station where I was just one of hundreds. Here we got our first real taste of Army life and everybody had the opportunity of spending hours on benches in the waiting room not knowing just what was going to happen next. Here we got our first real taste of Army life such as bed making retreat, reveille, saluting and the well-known Army K.P. Most of us spent the evenings in the service clubs or the P.K. At the induction station “chow” was exceptionally good and plentiful and we decided that the Army was O.K. as far as food was concerned. However, we were to learn late that all camps do not feed as well as the induction stations.
Finally the day arrived when we were to receive our Army clothes and “shots”. Of course, everyone was skeptical about receiving that “long needle” but we passed through the line and received three or four shots so fast it was over with before we realized it. Passing through the clothes line went just as fast and you soon found yourself fully dressed in a suit of Army Khaki standing in front of an officer for inspection. At his station I received my first G.I. haircut and left the barbershop hoping that I would never have to get another one.
After a few days at the reception center I found myself aboard a troop train headed for basic training camp. Time on the train passed fairly fast as we were trying to get accustomed to wearing our G.I. clothes and breaking in those new pairs of Army “kicks”. Naturally there was much speculation and many rumors as to just where our destination was and what kind of a camp it would be. Of course, eating on a troop train for the first time with an Army mess kit is the first experience in actual “combat” and many a solder should be awarded the “purple heart” before he ever reaches his first camp and anyone who survives this ordeal should be awarded a medal for hazardous duty or something of the kind.
The first feeling of loneliness and despair struck with the sight of our camp. Having received its only snow of the winter just two days before our arrival, Camp Fannin, Texas, was a mire of red sandy mud puddles! The welcoming efforts of the band playing “Lay That Pistol down” were spent in vain and we shouldered our barracks bags and marched off in the mud to move into our new Army home.
Our spirits were not raised much as we were lined up to answer roll call and receive our sleeping quarters assignment. Here we got our first taste of the much-publicized, hard-boiled 1st Sergeant and had our first contacts with the Army’s much talked about “30 day wonders” – the 2nd Lieutenant.
The next few days were spent in taking examinations and classification and the moving of men to newly assigned companies and battalions in the camp. During this time most of us served on K.P. duty in battalion mess, and I dare say, finished the job with a dislike for K.P.
In a maze of bewilderment we moved into our new Company barracks and a lot of new experiences lay ahead of us in making friends with our new bunkmates and new surroundings. Everybody waited in anxiety when we were assigned to our new platoons and squad positions but the next few days passed quickly as we spent most of the time looking at movies to acquaint us further with the Army and in trying to live up to all of the Army rules and regulations. We all welcomed this end of the day when we could retreat within ourselves, write to our loved ones, and be alone with our thoughts of past life and events. Without a doubt, thoughts of home and loved ones paramount in everyone’ minds as we crawled into bed at night, weary from the day’s events. I think one of the most trying times in the Army was this period when we were trying to adjust ourselves to Army life. Our minds were filled with thoughts of past livelihood and also plans of the future. It was not an uncommon sight during our lecture classes in the daytime to see some soldier sitting in class, seeing, but not hearing the lecture, and you knew his thoughts were many miles from there.
Before we realized it, several weeks had passed and we were getting used to the idea of “falling out” for reveille and getting our beds made and floors swept and scrubbed before going to morning chow. The ordeal of changing clothes for retreat at night in just a few short minutes was also becoming routine. We were getting better acquainted with our schedule and our instructors so “Army life” became easier as this change gradually took place along with the man other changes in our lives, such as struggling along with ones own laundry for the first time and the many other chores of Army life that we had not had to do for ourselves in civilian life.
By now we all looked forward to the daily “mail call” as the most important event of the day and we waited eagerly for those precious letters from home and loved ones. Many a soldier left mail call with a heart-broken expression on his face, disappointed at not receiving his letters that day.
Seven weeks of basic field training passed by and we had all made many new friends to talk with and spend the evening with, either playing poker, shooting craps, or at the P.X. or the service clubs.
After basic training we started our so-called “specialized” training and the first day of this was very similar to the first day in the Army. Code in the radio room all sounded the same and all other subjects such as wire, I.&R., messenger training, etc., were all strange and meaningless. But as we studied these and the days rolled by, these subjects all found their respective places in the operation of an Army. We found out just what an important part the communication boys play in actual combat. During this time Army life was not half bad as most of our time was spent in the classroom with only an occasional “Speed” march and an hours physical training every day. Then our six weeks of special training was over and our bivouac was ahead!
Sunday afternoon was spent in making up our pack and in preparation for spending the next two weeks in the woods. Everything was to be in readiness for early start on Monday morning.
We left camp early Monday morning and stated our hike to the bivouac area, surviving there in time to pitch our tents before noon. After an early chow, we took off for our first problem. About dark it started to rain and blow. The storm grew in intensity until we were forced to quit working on our night problem and start for camp. This turned out to be quite an event a we were wading in water over our legging tops and hanging on to each other’s packs to keep in the road. We finally reached camp about two in the morning and crawled into bed on wet blankets. Our clothes were soaked so we spent a miserable night. We were out of communication with the camp all night and everyone was very excited when we learned the next morning that one of our radio men had been killed by a falling tree on our march to camp. We soon had fires started and as quickly as we got dried out and warmed we forgot the events of the night and our minds raced on to the problems ahead of us. We usually had a problem every night and it would be late when we got in. We got up early every morning and hiked about 10 to 12 miles every day.
At the end of our first week of bivouac we had hiked over 80 miles and still had another week ahead of us yet. We really welcomed Sunday for the rest it offered and the chance to get some laundry done, and most of all, a chance to doctor up the blisters all of us had on our heels and feet.
The last week of bivouac was climaxed by our 3-day problem in Tyler state Park. It was quite successful, as was our entire bivouac, so we were to be honored by returning to camp dressed in Class A uniforms and to be greeted by the Battalion Band. Alas, it rained during the entire hike back to camp so we were one sorry looking, muddy bunch that pulled into camp. The first thing we did was to change into clean clothes and head for the P.X. and that first bottle of beer in two weeks.
Our Army training was now officially over and we untied with anticipation to see where our next assignment would be an also for our delay enroute, with 10 days at home, which we had been looking forward to for seventeen long weeks.
Shipping notices finally arrived. Thirteen of us received the same assignment so we got to travel home and back to our new camp together. For the time being Army life was forgotten and all talk was of home and how we were going to spend the next nine or ten days.
The thrill of walking into the front door of ones home after seventeen weeks of separation from your family will long be remembered. And after Army life, the sensation of crawling into your own bed again, between white sheets, and onto an inner spring mattress is beyond all words.
All too soon the ten days were over and we found ourselves returning to camp and realizing that we only accomplished a small portion of all the things we were going to while we were home.
On June 6 – D Day – our gang all met and we started our return trip to our new Army home, the 63rd Division at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. Our disappointment upon seeing our new camp at the break of day was just as great as when we saw Camp Fannin for the first time. However, we had breakfast at a Company mess and decided at least this would be one advantage we hadn’t enjoyed so far in the Army. But lo and behold, we found out we had to eat out of mess gear and had outside kitchens in use, regardless of the fact that fully equipped mess halls were there. For the first two days we lived out of the P.X. and did enjoy the milk and sandwiches. It didn’t take us long to learn that our Company mess was none too clean and much of the food served was not fit to eat. Many a night we decided the food from the P.X. was a better deal.
One thing about Camp Van Dorn for which we were thankful was the cold beer before retreat. The weather was always so hot and humid our tongues were always hanging out for one. Another think I will never forget was the nickelodeon in the beer garden which was always turned on so loud we could hear it in our barracks. Many a night I fell asleep listening to the trains of TOO LATE TOO WORRY and TRY ME ONE MORE TIME. Never will I forget the large tale that was built on a tree stump in the beer garden, for it was here that all the boys gathered for large crap games that ran continuously from morning until late at night then moved to the nearest Company latrine to continue into the early hours of the morning.
At Camp Van Dorn we celebrated the activation of the 63rd Division and also “Infantry Day”. It was here that I received my first and only 3-day pass in the Army and I certainly enjoyed the weekend at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the respite from the heat of Van Dorn.
On July 17th we left Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi, with its “Mess Kit Louie” and its “ideal adverse” training conditions and headed for Fort Meade, Maryland, which we all looked forward to with much eagerness and we had heard so much about this soldier’s paradise.
And that is what Fort Meade turned out to be especially in the way of food and entertainment. Company mess was very good and they served the best food we had had in the Army. Every night there were dances and shows at the P.X. and “Boom Town” turned out to be a bunch of beer joints and novelty stores looking for G.I. suckers and their dough. Here we got a six-hour pass to Baltimore and while it was a hurried trip we did enjoy the chance of getting to see the town. The memorable thing here was the number of times we had our clothes checked and the cry of “fold it neatly and place it in the barracks bag” was the by-word by which we lived the next few weeks.
On July 30th we took our leave of Fort Meade spending the night on a miserable train. However, we did have good luck of passing through all the large cities at night. We awoke the next morning listening to a loud speaker at a station platform telling us that we were now at a secret destination and not to write or call until further notice. It took us just about five minutes to discover that we were at Camp Miles Standish, a few miles out of Boston and would remain here for transportation overseas. Here we spent most of the time playing ball. We did receive a six-hour pass to Boston but our trip was so hurried that we didn’t get to see much. We all celebrated our last night at this camp by drinking hundreds of 5-cent beers and eating dozens of hot dogs, as we knew this would be our last chance for some time to come.
On August 11th we left Camp Miles Standish to board the boat at Boston. For most of us this was our first experience riding on a big boat. On the dock we enjoyed the Red Cross coffee and doughnuts with much anticipation of boarding the “Thomas Barry”. We joined a convoy of approximately 70 other ships and headed out to sea.
Aboard ship we were served chow only twice a day but this was plenty as the awful odor and stench from the kitchen just about made us sick every time we went down for chow. However, I’ll never forget the swell mustard pickles they served. On this boat we could buy all the candy bars and smokes we wanted. Some of the fellows just knocked themselves out eating so much candy. Most of our time was spent on the deck watching the other ships in the convoy or listening to the Negro bands play or watching their card games, but after 11 days life on the ship began to get monotonous and we were glad to dock on August 22 at Liverpool, England. Here, again we were glad to get the Red Cross coffee and doughnuts that were dispensed from the Club mobile Missouri” before boarding our train. On our march through Liverpool we had our first opportunity of seeing first-hand the bomb damage of the German Luftwaffe on a large city.
After two days and nights aboard the train we landed at our first Army camp in England that was at Heathfield. Here we were really fed royally. Everyone was surprised at the good chow we received overseas. Guess we were all expecting to get C rations instead of the good chow we were getting. For most of us, this too was our first experience with English tea and crumpets and beer with “fish and chips”. We all enjoyed visiting the “Cider Hill” while we waited for our next move that was to a camp at Codford, England. On arriving we learned we were to take another seven-week basic training course that we didn’t look forward to with much relish as it would be our third such course.
Codford turned out to be a very small English village. There was a Y.M.C.A. here and also a Red Cross canteen for which we were very thankful because outside of the dances on Friday nights there was not any other form of entertainment.
Never to be forgotten are the cold nights we spent in our tents that were pitched on a very high hill. The wind used to howl right through them and we had to sleep with our clothes on to keep warm. When it rained the water ran in rivulets through our tents. We had no lights of any kind except candles that we would buy when we could get them.
Here we had to wash and shave in our steel helmets and never had warm water to do either with. I believe the only hot shower I had here was about 4 A.M. one Sunday morning before the rest of the camp was awake. The latrines were nothing but large buckets and, of course, very unsanitary. This condition we could never figure out existing in a country that was supposed to be so civilized.
At Codford we spent most of our evenings in the NAAFI drinking tea and eating cakes. It was much better than our tents for letter writing and often we went there just to keep warm.
Never to be forgotten are the crap games that used to run in front of tent No. 1. They started at daybreak in the morning and often times were played by candlelight at night. The fellows shot craps with no regard whatever to the value of English money.
The chow here at Codford was of the poorest quality and very often it was not even fit to eat, so when on K.P. we all used to steal corned beef, peanut butter and canned fruit to help out on the times, which was often, that the food was so bad that we could not eat from the mess hall.
I was here we met our most egotistical and military-minded lieutenant, a young fellow by the name of Hodder, whom we immediately dubbed “Clark Gable” because of his mustache. We all got a big kick out of his strict military discipline and his classes in hand-to-hand combat.
At Codford we received a 24-hour pass and too a quick trip to London which we had been looking forward to since landing in England. While we enjoyed looking at the city and its historical spots, we were more or less disappointed in the trip. Of course, our time was so limited that we really didn’t have a chance to thoroughly inspect the most interesting places.
On October 27th we took leave of Codford and England, boarding the English ship “Cheshire” at South Hampton and took off across the channel to France and, of course, new sights and experiences. The channel was so rough that we did not debark. Our stay aboard ship was not too pleasant as it was very crowded and the English chow was not too good. We all looked forward to making the beach landing in an LCI.
When we landed at Omaha Beach we got to see part of the results of the battle that took place on D-Day. There were sunken ships, wharf, debris and scattered material, and there were still huge quantities of supplies and ammunition stacked up on the each waiting to be transported inland. After a short hike through the ankle-deep mud, we pitched our tents in a field of it along with about 15,000 other G.I.s. We made our first acquaintance with the Army’s cold fat port loaf, and to our dismay, found it was to be our chow for the next three days.
After all the blackout precautions used in England, we were quite surprised to see hundreds of bonfires at night. And it was amazing how fast the G.I.s got rid of the farmer’s hedgerows and apple trees. Here we had our first chance to scout over some of the battlefields and the places of activity but our stay here was very short. We boarded a train for LeMans.
We spent a day and two nights on the train then we were dropped off at LaMans in the early hours of the morning. We set about and pitched our tents in the rain. We did received a good breakfast with oatmeal and white bread, which helped make up for some of our discomfort. After two days here and more clothing checks we took off again, this time in the 40 and 8’s and headed for we knew not where.
This proved to be quite a trip. We were issued enough rations for 30 men for one day. There were 37 men and we were on the train for five days. Thanks to the Frenchmen’s apple orchards we didn’t starve and we did trade some of our smokes for bread and cakes. Our train was held up in the outskirts of Paris so we got to see that part of the city but we missed the main part of it as we passed through at night. In going through France and Belgium the people as a whole treated us very nicely and whenever we stopped in the village the women often gave us bread and cakes without wanting smokes or chocolate in return, but it was with a sigh of relief that we ended our trip in Verviers, Belgium.
Here we took up residence in an abandoned textile factory. There was no heat so we were rather uncomfortable but the civilians treated us very kindly. We were able to talk on lady into letting us use her house for our first hot bath in weeks, even though it was just a sponge bath. The pubs and stores here resembled our at home very much and the people seemed more like Americans than any place so far so we felt more or less at home here. Our good fortune didn’t last long and we soon found ourselves lined up and waiting for trucks to move us on. The Belgian women were very good to us and brought hot coffee for which we were very grateful, as it was snowing and quite cold.
This truck ride turned out to be a very miserable affair as we were very crowded in the trucks and each one had full field pack and horse show roll besides our arms. After riding in the rain and snowstorm for six hours our overcoats and gloves were thoroughly soaked and our feet were also wet and cold. We were a sorry-looking, miserable bunch when we unloaded from the trucks at Vamoose, Germany. We were very grateful for the quick manner in which they got us housed and served with a warm meal. Here I received my first real fried Army spuds and hot biscuits since being in the Army and they were very tasty. It was here I lost my pal and friend, Trussell. He went to the hospital with an infected hand. On the second morning we moved out after receiving a heavy shelling from the Jerries the night before.
We still carried full packs and equipment and this time we were dropped off in a large muddy field where we were assigned to the 28th Division. For the first time in almost a year we found ourselves attached to a unit of the Army and a place we could call “Home”. We were much disappointed in leaving all of our clothes that we had been carrying in our packs in a pile in this muddy field but we were so cold, wet, and miserable that it was good to be rid of them and for the first time I put on the “Long John” works, just in case. Then without chow, late in the evening we took off again to a bivouac area in the woods and pitched our tents in the dark. We awoke next morning under a blanket of 6 inches of snow. We took down our tents an packed up again in the darkness and took off again in trucks for the front lines and our outfits.
We reached our outfit which was bivouacked in a heavy woods, which we were to discover later was the Hurtgen Forest. We were greeted by the Battalion commander who was very frank in telling us that in a very short time we would go to the front where they were trying to capture a hill being defended by two or three hundred Germans and that in the last three weeks he had already lost two whole battalions but he felt confident that with our assault in the morning we would take the hill. How different was this action than what had been taught us in training! With no experienced men in our ranks, we were lined up in squads and asked what position and job we wanted and were issued ammunition in preparation to going up. To me this seemed like a suicide deal so I immediately threw away my gas mask, pack, extra shoes, and wet, heavy overcoat and decided I would be better off carrying extra ammunition instead of this now useless equipment.
We soon discovered that the front at this point was in the shape of a horseshoe and that our Company was attacking in the center of the curve. There were approximately 27 men left up there fighting instead of the 180 that there should have been if the Company was at full strength. There were only 37 of us and so my spirits just took another drop of a few hundred degrees and when our guide came to take us up to the front and marched us off in a column of two’s, my spirit and hopes hit a new low. After walking about a quarter of a mile, we came out of the woods and started up the hill and were immediately met with a burst of enemy artillery that hit the front of our column. Eight of our men failed to continue up the hill! At this point I decided to continue to our position on my own and upon reaching a foxhole on the hill found another G.I. We started to work enlarging the hole and getting the lowdown on the situation. I was surprised to hear that there were no officers or even a non-com left among the men still thee, so we immediately appointed a new Sergeant. After finding out the direction of the enemy lines from this G.I. I started digging vigorously. I suddenly turned around and found myself face to face with a German soldier with his hands in the air. It took me several minutes to regain my composure after this startling surprise but the G.I. told me he was my prisoner and that I would have to take him back to the Company C.P. which was over another hill and hollow. So we started off, not knowing just where but it couldn’t make a whole lot of difference in that mess. On finding the Company C.P. I was told there was no one there to handle the prisoner so I was to take him over to ‘A’ Company which was over another hill in some direction. I didn’t know which way, but was lucky enough to run into some Medics going that way and finally dumped the prisoner into Company ‘A’ C.P. The Medics needed some help to carry two boys through the woods down to the road so after helping them it was almost dark so I stayed at ‘A’ Company that night. Early the next morning I started back to my own outfit but upon popping out of the woods discovered that there was nobody on the hill. On looking around I discovered them on a hill farther back. When I reached there I learned that they had attacked and been driven off and back to this hell with a counter attack. I dug in again with another G.I.
Late that evening a new officer wanted 32 men to attack a pillbox that was the basement of a house sitting on the side of a hill. After we had our assault team made up there were just enough men left to cover our attack with rifle and M.G. fire. At 4:00 A.M. we took off for the box and after crawling in the mud and snow we got clear up to the box without even so much as seeing a German or firing a single shot. We were very lucky on arriving at the box to catch a Heinie stepping outdoors for a little ‘personal relief’ so we walked right into the box and captured 4 or 5 more Germans inside. It was all so easy we just couldn’t believe it. It was quite foggy and misty and we were very glad for this protection. We stuck our heads out of the pillbox to start back to our lines with our prisoners and were instantly met with bursts of M.G. fire, then another volley and still another one. When we realized what had happened we knew we had walked into a box protected by six other boxes that we hadn’t seen in the darkness and fog. We immediately jumped back in the box and decided the only thing to do was to go back for help of some kind, or any kind as far as that part goes. After flipping coins to see whom the lucky guys would be, three fellows finally slipped out of the door and started crawling towards the woods some odd 50 or 70 yards away. In several hours two tank destroyers came up and soon silenced an enemy tank. We walked out of the box between the tank destroyers five at a time. Something like 17 or 18 of us returned from this trip. We were completely wet and thoroughly soaked through and very muddy when we returned to our own hill. Upon arriving there we were told to pull out at dark and come back to the Battalion area where we arrived a sorry looking mess. We found us a hole and crawled in only to get up early in the morning because of the cold. We spent the day policing up the area of ‘K’ rations, ammunition and clothes that the fellows had strung about the woods in careless, wanton waste. We must have salvaged at least three truckloads of the stuff. Along in the evening we were told that we would be relieved the next day and returned to a rest area. We spent a miserable night patrolling and guarding in the mud, rain and snow. It was also very cold, so when we pulled out of the Hurtgen Forest it was on cold, frostbitten feet that we started our long hike back to Oberfuelen.
The first night we slept in the woods and were given sleeping bags and a dry blanket. We were so exhausted that everyone crawled in without bothering to go to chow that our kitchen had brought up for us. We were to act as regimental road guards the next day so in the early hours we piled out to crawl into frozen shoes and jackets and started on our way back. After riding all day we pulled into Oberfuelen, Luxembourg and took up residence in homes. It was certainly grand to be able to get dried off and put on dry clothes. After eating a good hot meal we hit the covers, still not fully realizing how lucky we were to be out of that mess on the hill in the Hurtgen Forest.
At Oberfuelen, we reorganized the company, filling the vacant spots with new replacements. We started training to get a little teamwork in the Company. I found myself in the weapons platoon attached to the mortar section. We received new Lieutenants. And had the record of four Commanding Officers in two weeks. Here at Oberfuelen, we enjoyed our chow, as this was the first time we had enjoyed Company mess since being in the Army. We used to spend our evenings making toasted cheese sandwiches and coffee on our own stove. We also enjoyed the beer but we couldn’t stand the cognac, as it tasted like kerosene. Here we could even buy bread from the baker.
After three weeks of this ‘paradise’ we loaded up and took off for Brandenburg. Here we lived in a little two-room shed. We were treated very nicely by the landlady who brought us pies, bread and cakes almost every day. Of course, we retaliated with chocolate and ‘smokes’ that may have had something to do with it. There was an old castle located on top of a large hill. We spent our time digging defensive positions and attacking pillboxes and also a small village across the river. AT the end of a week we moved from Brandenburg to a little village outside of Monarch. We immediately ransacked the town. Our spoils were 26 chickens and a rabbit. We really had a banquet that night – a chicken dinner complete with green onions, peas and the ‘works’! After one day here we moved over to Monarch. We again set up defensive positions and then settled down in a nice house. We gathered another supply of “Heinie food’ and here our evening repast would be hotcakes drowned in butter and jam.
On Friday night of the first week we were visited by some civilians who had come back to the town to haul out some hay for their cattle. While they were in the town we were blazed by several airbursts of enemy artillery and shortly after the civilians disappeared. That night we received a heavy shelling from the Jerries and were attacked by their infantry that we stopped at the edge of the village.
The next morning we were again greeted by heavy enemy artillery fire and by another infantry attack. We immediately went into action upon the lifting of the artillery. In a short time we were out of mortar ammunition and we had only one box of grenades to start with. We sent our jeep after more ammunition but it was several hours later when he returned. In the meantime, we had to use ‘D’ Company to hold off their infantry. By noon we were out of ammunition again. We sent our jeep out once more but we didn’t see anything of it again. Our Company commander had been shot early in the morning and was taken back to the Battalion aid station so there was no one to keep the Company organized. Later in the afternoon the infantry attacks were getting so much heavier in our right flank that several of us volunteered to go down and help out. We had just had time to get our holes dug before dark, stopping now and then to take a few shots at the Jerries.
Here, I had my first close call. A Jerry stepped out from behind the hedge and cut loose at us with a ‘grease’ gun. When I turned around a bullet knocked my helmet flying but I was lucky to see him and I ducked into my hole. In nothing flat, twelve of us were pumping lead into him so that he didn’t last very long. At dusk we received the expected artillery barrage from the Jerries. We thanked our lucky stars many times for the poor quality of the Heinie ammunition (probably intentionally by forced labor from conquered countries working in their ammunition factories). Several of the shells landed close enough to splatter water on us but they were ‘duds’. But the few seconds it takes to determine whether a shell is alive or a ‘dud’ seems like hours when you are under fire. It doesn’t take long for a person to learn the difference in sound. Before dark, 17 Germans walked out of the woods an surrendered to us and shortly after noon 11 more had given up so we didn’t expect much trouble that night. Late that night two huge spotlights were turned on somewhere in Germany. They didn’t play the sky as ordinary searchlights but remained stationary. They remained on the rest of the night and we men decided among us that that must have been a signal of some sort. Early the previous evening German motorized equipment had started rolling into the town and the two tanks and tank destroyer immediately took off for places elsewhere. After a short battle (all one-sided) we heard no more gunfire of any kind from German equipment in the town to our rear. Early the next morning our Lieutenant came around to see that we were ready for an early morning infantry attack. We couldn’t get much enthusiasm worked up, as we only had just a few rounds of ammunition left, in fact, I had four rounds. German equipment was still pouring into the town in a steady stream. Early during the morning we heard noise. After listening for a few minutes we decided it was worth wasting one of my two hand grenades to find out about it. Shortly after the explosion a Heinie popped up over the hedge with hands raised. I had him crawl through the hedge over to our hole. I immediately relieved him of his pistol, a .25 caliber automatic (which was one of my most wanted souvenirs). I started to take my prisoner to the C.P. but our lieutenant said that the town had fallen and our C.P. had been captured. I took the prisoner back and made him sit by our foxhole while I sat and polished the much-prized bun. We asked our Lieutenant for permission to take out through the woods and try to make connections with another unit since we were out of ammunition but we were told his orders were to hold at all costs. We resigned ourselves to waiting to see what would happen. We merely sat in our holes and watched the Jerry equipment roll in until about three o’clock in the afternoon when the Lieutenant decided to surrender. I returned his pistol to my prisoner (all nicely polished) and asked to be taken prisoner after first destroying our rifles and other equipment which might be used. We had watched the Jerries bring in their ‘Tiger Royal’ tanks across a bridge just wide enough to let one of the big devils across, through the woods and down the road, and park them in the fields to the right and left of us. They pulled up so close to we five who dug into a cemetery that we could have reached out and touched them. They could have easily demolished us by running over us instead of beside us. They set up their anti-aircraft guns directly in front of us and were using our own 81 mm mortars on our own troops in the same field with us. It was with tears in our eyes that we realized we could no longer fight, that we had nothing to fight with, so we lined up to be marched off as German prisoners, a sad bunch indeed. The Germans were usually glad to surrender to our Americans so I don’t believe we felt any worse than my former prisoner who had to return to his own Army as he really looked like a sad-sack.
We were ignominiously marched off to the other end of the town by a little 14-year old boy not even armed and taken to a bowling alley where we were searched. We were relieved of our tobacco, our lighters, any food, knives or whatever we had and then marched on down the road to join the rest of the Company who had been captured. There were approximately 300 of us who started walking down the highway in the snow and slush with heavy hearts heading toward Germany and we knew not what.
It was pretty hard to take for us proud Americans to walk against the oncoming column of German equipment. We brought stares and jeers from the German Army and they seemed to be very surprised at the number of prisoners that they had captured marching down the road. They were ‘riding high’ and had thrown in 7 Panzer divisions in the break and were going forward with their destination Paris in 10 days. When we learned this our hearts became a little lighter as we knew this was practically an impossibility. And when we saw their equipment we felt ours was the last laugh anyway! One truck would be pulling another one! And we would see cars going by without any motors being towed! And it was nothing to see trucks without back wheels using skids to replace them! So our concern was more for the moment with what would happen to us.
Not caring a whole lot what did happen next we just kept marching down the road and my thoughts began to wander. I thought of how the ‘old’ man of the Company had pulled out and left when the going got a little tough – and the officers. And to the poor job of equipping our company and the organization, or rather lack of it, on the part of the 1st Sergeant. I looked back at all the training I had gone through, the miserable train rides, the 40 & 8’s, the mud flats, the cold, muddy foxholes and I wondered if it had all been worth the few days fighting I had done. And those few days fighting were done under orders completely contrary to training.
I also marveled at the fact that all of this time the activity was going on that it never entered my mind that I might get wounded or killed or what kind of sensation I had when shooting the enemy or any of the other things I had so often wondered about before I got into combat. We all began to realize more fully that we were now German prisoners and our part of the war was over. Pushing that thought out of mind, tired and thirsty, you reached in your pocket for a consoling smoke only to realize that you no longer had any. No use to ask the G.I. next to you as he was in the same fix. You resignedly decide it was just another one of those things you could do without anyway.
We soon crossed the river and found ourselves marching on German soil again. We came to a large village where we were put into a barn for about two hours and then later taken to the top of a large mountain where we found ourselves walking under an elaborate camouflage net and into several large rooms which had been dug out of the rock. After being searched again we were taken down to the highway again. Another short distance and we found ourselves entering the side of another mountain where huge rooms were fixed up as barracks. Here we stayed for the night, another day and all night Monday. We were all thirsty and kept asking for water but the guard brought only a few small pitchers full during the entire time which was not nearly enough to go around such a large group. Needless to say we were glad when they took us out on Tuesday morning and started marching us down the road again. At least, we could grab a handful of snow and wet our parched tongues. We all drank water out of the ditches and small streams or any place else we could find it. We kept asking for food and they repeatedly told us what we would “essen” at the next town. We never seemed to get to the “next town” and the next day the whole process was repeated. We slept in a large church after the second day and here they fed us a third of a loaf of bread and a spoonful of jam. Next day we started marching again and had to stop several times to take cover form our own American planes. We were, later, joined by two more groups and our hearts grew heavier as our group now numbered close to the thousand mark. About 1:30 we stopped in a pasture for “chow”. Chow was one loaf of bread for every 75 men.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to get any of the bread as I have yet to see the color of any man’s hair who could divide a loaf of bread into 75 equal parts. However, I considered myself fortunate to obtain a good drink of water and even a few puffs of cigarette butt. We all felt better when we started off on our march again. After walking the rest of the day we stopped that night in a horse barn adjoining the railroad tracks. As it was only large enough to accommodate one-half of us at a time we took turns about going into the building and this arrangement worked out swell except for the fact that it rained or snowed all night. We were a sorry looking group of men that started down the road the next morning.
By this time many of the fellows were getting weak from waking and not getting any food so had to be helped along. Many were carried by their buddies for many miles. A number of men were simply left behind. During this time that we were walking down the road there was nothing to occupy our minds except the torturing thought of food. All efforts to satisfy our hunger by drinking water when it was available didn’t seem to do a bit of good. Around noon on Friday, after a short rest, we started to continue our journey but were turned back where we boarded a train, something like 50 to 80 men to each car – a 40 & 8 car. These cars were equipped with horse manure for straw on the floor. Of course there wasn’t room for everyone to stretch out and lie down so we had a choice of either taking turns or else all sitting up during the entire day and night. One on the train we traveled in short spurts during the day or else we didn’t move at all during daylight hours. Mostly our travel was night and the entire journey was very slow due to the fact that track clearance had to be checked at every town for recent bombings.
On boarding the train we were told several times by the German guards that in case of air attack we would be shot if we tried to escape through the ventilated windows in each end of the cars. But regardless of the fact that this warning was repeated over and over it was to no avail as during the next day or two we were strafed by our own P 47’s and several GI.s got panicky and tried to crawl out the ventilated windows and were immediately shot by the guards. In a small village which we passed through and stopped in, we tried to get the civilians to obtain water for us but our efforts were to no avail and when we asked the German guards when we would eat they would always reply at the next village a few kilometers down the road and it was not uncommon to hear many a G.I. fall asleep at night with a few sobs and maybe shed a few tears from hunger before he fell asleep.
Christmas Day found us still locked up in our boxcar and it passed very quietly as no one had much of anything to say and everyone seemed to understand what every other one was thinking about. We tried singing songs, reading from our testaments, etc. to keep our minds from home and food but it was only natural that on this day they think of home and with the thoughts of home came visions of the family table loaded with food for the Christmas dinner, and again, the more you thought of food the hungrier you got. But I guess the good Lord had heard our prayers for ten minute until twelve Christmas Night our box car door was opened and we were handed a slice of bread and we were indeed thankful for this food and so with another prayer of thanks we fell asleep dreaming of Christmas at home.
???? Water since boarding this train Friday noon so we were all grateful when we got off the train Tuesday noon and started for our prison camp which was several miles away. We were more or less disappointed to find out that this was not a regular prison of war camp but a concentration camp and did not have any of the facilities of a regular PW camp. However, we were indeed grateful to get there and to our first hot meal in 10 days. Our first meal consisted of a ladle of boiled carrots and, regardless of the fact that we had no eating utensils and we had to eat with our fingers like a cannibal, I believe I enjoyed this meal as much as any I can remember. Soon we were assigned to a building in which to sleep and the fact that we had to sleep on the cold floor with half the windows broken out made no difference as at last we had a spot we could call “home” for the time being and we were all looking forward to getting registered with the Red Cross mostly as a matter or guarantee of getting good and better treatment. The next days our spirits were lowered a few degrees when we went to chow and were served a delicious helping of greens that I cannot describe. They looked a lot like alfalfa, ragweed and the bark and roots from several shrubs all mixed up together – and even tasted worse. The kitchen was manned by the Russians who were prisoners in the camp and they couldn’t understand all of the boo’s that we Americans made about the greens that they served to us 3 or 4 times a week. Also the beverage that they called tea that was made form a similar looking kind of herb and shrub, with no sugar, tasked almost as good as the greens did. And with the above menu we were glad to receive our chunk of bread, in the afternoon, which was approximately 1 ½” thick and the width of an ordinary loaf of bread and weighed 200 grams. We were also give 20 grams of tasteless margarine with our bread.
We all had our hopes high that our hunger problem would be solved now that we were located in camp so it was quite a disappointment when we found our stomachs still growling for food when we finished our chow and we found ourselves going to bed every night still hungry and dreaming of food and meals of which we had partaken in the past while still in the states or at home. To many a G.I. this was the first time he ever knew the true meaning of the word hunger and the first time he had stopped and fully realized that in the past he had wasted lot of good food which he was now needing so badly. As this story goes along it might seem to the ordinary person hat a lot of emphasis is placed on food. However, our entire life here at camp was based on food. It regulated the monetary system, the tobacco market, as well as the market for clothing, etc. It also played an important part in why many men did not leave the camp alive.
At this moment, 4:25 P.M., March 31, 1945, comes the first wild rumor that our camp has been liberated. Bedlam has broken loose. Knowing that this rumor is only a rumor it has not affected me but I feel sorry for the hundreds of fellows that are going to be disappointed when they find out the truth because we have been sweating it out for 3 days and nights, listening to the battle draw closer and closer and all the time knowing that our Army was going to liberate us and not knowing exactly when.
And the scene shifts to several hours later, when, in order to quiet this large group of men, we have been sent a second ladle of soup and give a Red Cross box that we have had to divide among 20 men. It’s really a shame to take a box of this size and try to divide the same among 20 men because each box is so small that no one received any benefit where one or two men would get full enjoyment from the box. And it has been quite a job to divide 20 ounces of cheese into 20 equal parts without any arguments.
Our latrine in our barracks building was a sorry sight, with no flush box on the stool and the entire place was about 10x12 feet with only cold running water in the sink that froze from every night. After eating the Russian greens and tea for about a week, approximately 90% of all the fellows got a bad case of dysentery, commonly known as the “G.I.s” There were no lights in the building at night and only 1 stool to accommodate 300 men. The floor was used that became disgustedly dirty and was a filthy sight every morning. The outdoors latrines could not be used as we were locked in the building every night and when you looked on this scene in the morning, it was hard to take realizing that these people were educated Americans living in conditions like this. Many fellows got so weak they could not get up to go to the latrine and they could not help themselves. Our hospital was only a make shift with no medical supplies. The only treatment they received was a change in their diet that gave them white French bread. As a result of the outbreak of “G.I.s”, the doctors advised it was quite a sight to see many a fellow trying to toast bread on the side of a stove for the first time in his life, and this habit continues until our liberation. Also it was quite a problem for 300 men to try to toast their bread at the same time on 3 small stoves let alone get the metal hot enough to toast bread. In order to cut this solid loaf of bread into slices before toasting or to divide the loaf into 7 equal parts, we needed knives which had all been taken away from us when we were captured so the first thing we knew we were making knives out of everything imaginable you could steal or anything loose that could be found and these were sharpened on the rocks in the foundations of the buildings when the guard were not around. It was surprising at the results some of the boys obtained. As soon as we got knives, we started carving spoons and eating utensils out of our firewood and it is surprising just what kind of instruments you can eat soup with. After being in camp several days and out of tobacco several of the G.I.s started selling half of their daily bread ration to the men in exchange for one cigarette to the very few who were lucky enough to have any tobacco left. This price was more or less standard for considerable length of time. However, we were fortunate in bunking with some fellows who had some tobacco and we used to get their butts or “ducks” and soon learned to smoke them so short there was no tobacco left and we all had calluses burned on our smoking fingers but as far as tobacco went we fared quite well and better than most of the men.
These things all took place during a number of days and during this time when the greatest pastime of the men in the evening was to sit around and talk about what swell food dishes their wives, mothers or sisters could cook and it wasn’t long until men in the camp were exchanging menus and recipes, and later torturing themselves with these tempting dishes. It was pitiful to read some of the recipes they had copied for such simple dishes as hotcakes, baked beans and other dishes that their wives and sisters could probably make without even looking at a cookbook or that could be found in any baking powder folder. However, this fad soon wore out.
A big event in the camp was when the G.I.s took over the kitchen that had formerly been manned by the Russians and our diet changed from greens to potato soup. This soup was made from smashed potatoes and boiled in water for three or four hours and was really nothing but potato water. However, we did get an occasional horse or goat thrown into the soup whenever possible for the Germans to furnish the same. Sometimes we had our soup thickened with rye flour or rye grits and these were festive occasions. We were supposed to received cheese every other Saturday but seldom ever did and when we jumped the camp commander about it, he would always reply “We will be able to feed you better when you stop bombing our railroads.”
About the last of January we were moved into buildings with beds and straw mattresses and we thought we were in the Waldorf Astoria but in just a few days, we discovered the mattresses made a swell breeding place for their bed pets of which we had three varieties. The common bed bug, a body lice and a species of hopping flea. These pets waited until after your bed was warmed and then came out to play in swarms and you spent the rest of the night driving yourself crazy scratching and wishing you had four hands instead of two.
During this time we had received our first Red Cross box and this will be an event long remembered even though we had to divide our box among four people. We all appreciated the box and everyone sat up all night and talked and smoked and were as excited as a little kid with an ice cream cone. These boxes started the greatest game of swapping imaginable. Cheese for meat, meat for smokes, etc. but the largest trade was for smokes and some of the prices were six smokes for a square of D bar, four for cheese and the price of bread rose from one to six smokes for a half ration of bread. It seemed odd to see fellows nibble on a two ounce piece of cheese for a week and to do the same with his other food but it was necessary to make the food last as long as possible because you didn’t know how long it might be before you received more.
The Red Cross box put smokes in everybody’s hands and soon the G.I.s had created their own black market and the smokes were controlled by our own city hall and our cooks, who had access to the food supply and sold food for smokes and in turn sold the smokes to the G.I.s for money. Several of the cooks who were broke when they entered camp left with from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 and several good watches, trading their clothes, shoes and rings to the French and Russian elements in the camp for smokes rather than deal with our own black market and before long it was hard to tell whether a Russian was a Russian or a G.I.
One of the things that was looked forward to every day was the hauling of the potato peels out to the camp gate and there used to be so many fellows scrambling for a handful of peelings that it got to be dangerous and after several fellows had received broken arms, they no longer peeled the potatoes. It was a pitiful sight to see some G.I. cleaning out the kitchen sewer and picking out the half rotted soya beans that would lodge in the sewer trap. They would wash them and then reheat them and it was a wonder it didn’t make them sick or poison them.
A sad event was the day several of our own fighter planes chased a Heinie plane that took refuge over our camp and of course our planes could not afford to let his get lose so our barracks got all of the stray bullets and several G.I.s were killed along with some of the French and German boys in the camp and while an incident of this kind is regrettable, it is just another one of those things that happens during a war.
After we had been in camp for a little over a month, sickness started to break out all over camp and cases of the mumps, diphtheria, spinal meningitis and yellow jaundice was common and the death rate in the camp grew until by the first March, thirty-five Americans had passed away. Our hospital had practically no facilities and we had no medical supplies whatever to help anyone who became ill. Many of the fellows could have survived if they could just have kept up their hopes and spirits until their recovery but they gave up hoping.
One Sunday we were awake and find no tea prepared and no fires in the kitchen and German guards were supplemented by a force of infantry soldiers all fully armed and we first surmised that we were going to move to another camp. It had snowed recently and was bitter cold and we were told to fall out to the camp Quadrangle and prepare to be there some time. This included the sick as well as the men in the hospital and our barracks was the last to fall out and the first in the line facing the German guards. Fifty of us were counted off and told to march out to the front of the group and only then did the full meaning of the mounted machine guns in the towers and grounds and fully armed soldiers dawn on us. We were told that during the night two G.I.s had broken into the camp kitchen to steal bread and on being caught by the German guard, they struck him over the head eleven times with a hatchet and escaped and if they were not produced within a certain time fifty men would be shot and no one would receive food or water until they were handed over. The fear of being shot did not hit you just then but later in the barracks you started to realize just how close it was and it was with a sign of relief when we were told that the two fellows had been caught and had confessed and we ate our soup and bread that night with more than just prayers of thanks..
In the meantime we had organized our camp into several organizations, one for entertainment, education, etc. We received he German daily news when their radio worked and of course we couldn’t believe only part of it but our spirits were still high and every night before we went to sleep we always sang this song:
We are a bunch of Yankees living deep in Germany; Eating soup and black bread and a beverage they call tea, And we keep our hopes up high, cause we believe in liberty, As the days go rolling on. Hurry, Hurry, Georgie Patton; Hurry, Hurry, Georgie Patton; Hurry, Hurry, Georgie Patton and give us liberty.
On Monday morning April 2nd at about 8:00 the 2nd Cavalry rolled into camp and was heartily greeted by some 6,000 fellows who now know their liberation to be a true fact and so many fellows swarmed over the tanks, jeeps, half trucks, etc. they finally had to stop and they didn’t move again until all of their food, candy and smokes were gone and even then it was hard to keep the fellows out of their path so they could move on.
We were notified that they captured the town at 6:10 A.M. and that we were once again officially a part of Uncle Sam’s Army and that our “Chow” was already on the way as they knew in advance the location of our camp and had made preparations.
Our first Army chow was that famous “C” ration which arrived late the next afternoon and during the time we were waiting we tried to get our liberators to eat some of our soup and if they tasted it at all they spit it right out and that was the best soup we had.
With our own Army in charge again it seemed that our worries should be over but such was not the case, instead the water pumping system broke and we had to go without water for the next four days and with heavy food we were eating our thirst was greater than it ever had been marching into Germany. Our next problem was trying to eat the heavy “C” rations which our stomachs were not accustomed to and most of the fellows could not resist the temptation and ate a whole ration with the result that most of them had to be put to bed with “gas pains” or else found their stomachs too weak and vomited or else received a good case of the G.I.s and the next few mornings our latrines looked worse than they did when we were eating the Russian greens. With no water to clean the latrines it soon became a health problem and the place was not fit to put hogs in. However, the fellows continued to eat heavily and the sick list became longer every morning and the Red Cross was kept busy taking men back to the hospitals.
The first night of our liberation I’ll never forget as everybody who wasn’t ill or at least until he became ill sat up and smoked all the American cigarettes he wanted and we all sang “God Bless America” and “There’s a Flag Waving Somewhere” about fifty times and in between an accordion would play the latest tunes he knew and everybody was in good spirits. Before going to sleep that night Carl and I made up the following prayer in which we wished to express our own feelings.
“O Gracious God, we come to Thee, tonight, to offer our most sincere thanks for the freedom of body and soul, which we received this day. And, with your good grace, hope to enjoy in the future. Our thanks to the thousands of peoples who helped make our liberation possible. And, our Father, we offer thanks for the first American meal we have received in 108 days and for permitting us to rest this night without the torture of hunger. Please continue to bless our loved ones at home and he lives of our liberating soldiers. Amen.
On the 4th day of our liberation the Army risked bringing a red Cross Clubmobile to our camp and we were served coffee and doughnuts and it was a real treat to get real American coffee once again and everyone appreciated the risk the Red cross girls took in coming to our camp.
One of the tragic events was serving of “C” rations to the Russians and Serbians in the camp, who knew nothing of American food and one Serb sat down and proceeded to eat seven units at one sitting and of course it immediately killed him. Truly an untimely death after he had waited four years for his liberation.
Evacuation from camp was done on a percentage basis with the British and in order to get more G.I.s than British out of the camp we sent hundreds of our boys out in ambulances but the British soon caught on and this was stopped. On April 10 our “City Hall” officials barracks leaders, etc. all pulled baggage and left our P.O.W. camp after having previously agreed they would remain until everyone was out. It looked like the same old game so we proceeded to get out of camp the best we could and it was certainly a grand feeling to hook a ride with an Army truck and to go to the shower point where we threw the clothes we had worn for four months onto the pile to burn.
We enjoyed flying over Frankfurt as we had seen the city from our train passing through the first time and this gave us a comparison after our bombers had finished with it. In just two hours and 20 minutes we landed at Le Havre and were on our way to Camp Lucky Strike where we were to start our processing and the first leg of our journey home. At Lucky Strike they treated us like kings and fed us royally and gave us anything we wanted and the officers even helped us in and out of trucks, etc. That was the first time I ever experienced this in the Army. Here at Lucky strike we lost some of our gang because they could not resist the temptation of all the food and sweet stuffs and many were put in the hospital. On April 14th at 1:30 A.M. we fell out to start our journey to the boat and before noon found ourselves loaded onto the Coast Guard boat “General Richardson” a new boat with all the latest conveniences. We were served chow three times a day on this boat and it was really good to eat food that was clean and not greasy and they had plenty of it and of course more of the fellows were put in sickbay because they could not resist and they over ate.
After sixty days furlough we will return to Hot Springs, Arkansas for our medical checkups and we know not what lies in store for us in the future in the Army.
(Photo) (Caption – This picture is of William Stevens, the author of this Prisoner of War story. “Uncle Bill” lost the lower portion of his legs in alter years. It is believed the loss of his legs could very well be attributed to the fact that he froze his feet while he was a Prisoner of War. Just what do we owe to those who serve in our armed forces? Does the nightmare ever end for those who were prisoners or who were wounded in some battle? Do we fully appreciate what these men give up for us?
~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~