Winnebago County, Illinois
SAW GERMAN TROOPS ON MOVE, THOUGHT WAR WAS UNDER WAY
Two Rockford girls, who witnessed German troop movements toward the Polish border, a mock air raid in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the effects of terrorism in Austria have returned home from a seven weeks’ tour. Miriam Wetherell, 2827 Knight avenue, and Ethel Carlson, 1429 Fuller street, visited 12 European countries and agreed: "We are glad to be American citizens after all we have seen."
"If others could share our experiences, they would express the same opinion," Miss Wetherell said, adding, "and grumblers would soon learn that Uncle Sam is mighty good to us."
Many Stores Closed
"Effect’s of Hitler’s anti-Semitic drive were most visible in Austria where many stores have been boarded up and only those displaying the Nazi emblem are operating." they related. Hungary proved a slightly better atmosphere, according to the two girls. "In Budapest, people were most gracious and nothing was too nice for an American, it seem", Miss Carlson said, "They think a great deal of America and wish they were citizens here. When we displayed our passports, one Hungarian officer said: "You don’t know how I wish that was mine."
The Rockford girls had planned to stay in Germany several days, but altered their plans because they saw train after train carrying armed soldiers, flat cars loaded with artillery craft and tanks being rushed toward the Polish border.
Thought War in Progress
"Our train, headed for Germany, was loaded with boys of school age who here headed for some military training camp. We had not seen a newspaper for several days and thought surely war had been declared. Troop movements were being made during the night," Miss Wetherell said. In Edinburgh, they tried on gas masks and witnessed a mock air raid. In London they saw Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Sir John Simon and Yugoslavia’s Prince Paul at various parliament buildings. Miss Norma Olson, 220 Welty avenue, who was also a member of the party, will return at a later date. [--Rockford Register-Republic, Thursday, August 3, 1939]
Pvt. Clark Wounded in German 88 mm. Barrage
Details of the action in which Pvt. Albert H. Clark of Rockford was wounded Aug. 25 in France were received here today in an army press dispatch from a general hospital in England where the 32-year-old Rockford infantryman is recuperating. Private Clark was wounded during a German 88 milimeter artillery barrage while crossing the Seine river.
"Private Clark's shrapnel wound in his right chest is healing rapidly and he sould be able to return to duty within a few weeks," said his ward surgeon, First Lt. Amistead P. Booker of Charlottesville, Va. Landing France last July, Private Clark's infantry division was thrown into the American flank of the Falaise gap and helped close that trap on thousands of Germans. From there they pushed on through Normandy to the Seine river.
"We crossed the river at night and began our drive early the next morning," the Rockford soldier related. "The Jerries opened up with a heavy barrage from their 88's and I was wounded by shrapnel." He was removed to a battalion aid station by medical soldiers of his unit and there recieved treatment and was evacuated to a field hospital in the rear of the lines. Later he was flown to the general hospital in England. The son of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Clark, 502 Howard avenue, he was employed at J.I. Case company prior to his induction into the army Dec. 7, 1943. He embarked on foreign service last June. [--Rockford Register-Republic, November 27, 1944]
Mrs. Wayne E. Wolfe (Bette Bietau) is living here at 1310 1-2 Parmele street while her husband, who is a seaman, first class, is on active duty with the navy. Wayne is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Wolfe, 1211 Taylor avenue. The senior Wolfes and their young daughter, Joyce, moved here recently from Elmhurst. Bette is the daughter of the Clifford Bietaus, 2534 Auburn street. [--Rockford Morning Star, 07-09-1944]
CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE BULGE
MEMORIES ARE VIVID FOR ROCKFORD TANKMEN
Enjoying civilian life again after five years in the army, Arthur R. Carlson of Rockford had good reason to look back with relief today and hope that never again will he have to relive the events of Christmas week a year ago. Carlson, an ex-sergeant and tank commander in the 15th tank battalion, part of the "Super Sixth" armored division, recalled the "battle of the bulge" in Belgium with a vivid memory. Twice he had 26-ton Sherman tanks blasted from under him and twice he was wounded.
"We were up in the Saar valley when they told us about the breakthrough in Belgium," Carlson related. "Christmas eve we were pulled out of the line and informed that we were going back to get new tanks, reinforcements, equipment and rations.
"They didn't tell us we were going into the bulge. Our reports were that the Germans had been stopped," continued the ex-sergeant.
That Christmas Day
"Then we hit Metz about 5 p.m. Christmas day and had a big turkey dinner and drank cognac and some beer our officers got. They collected five barrels of Frem beer somewhere.
"That night we got orders to pull out at 6:30 in the morning...we were going into the bulge. Two guys heard the news and took off over the hill. There's a limit to the amount of combat a man can take." he added grimly.
"We formed our task force and hit the bulge the 26th. We advanced toward Bastogne and got on the outskirts the 28th. I remember it was colder than Billy Hill there, too.
"Next day," said Carlson, "we received our first shell fire on the fringe of a woods. Shortly afterward our commander called a meeting of all officers and tank commanders and outlined the plan of attack.
"The actual push didn't begin until New Years day. It was snowing like the devil then and I couldn't see more than 75 yards ahead.
"Bastogne was still encircled after the push began. I believe they broke the siege about Jan. 3, although part of Ninth and Tenth armored divisions broke through earlier to reinforce the 101st airborne troops." The Rockford man explained.
"We got about eight miles outside, but artillery fire was too heavily concentrated on the roads for an advance. We took to the fields, although they were heavily mined, and supported the 50th armored infantry battalion toward a village called Marguerite.
"The Germans had a heavy concentration of Tiger tanks and troops in there. They were solid. We finally got in and held the town for a day and a half until they chased us out. We had to leave in a big hurry.
"Four days later we had to retake the same town again. They were in there waiting for us with Panzerfaust, the nazi bazookas," he explained. "Afterward, our commander took county and figured we had suffered about 35 per cent casualties. About 10 tanks our of 20 in each company were gone, mostly hit by German 88's" Carlson related.
"Then I was wounded for the first time Jan. 7. It was in the morning. My tank hit an anti-tank mine that blew off the left tread. We abandone the tank and took off in the open field. There was a very good 'burp' gunner somewhere and he hit me across the left hand. They sent me back to the rear lines for that.
"The second time came Jan. 26, the day headquarters announced the battle of the bulge was won. I couldn't tell you how I was wounded. We were heading east toward a crossroad where the whole detachment had stopped because of 88's and other high caliber stuff was coming our way. It seemed to be landing off at a safe distance but some German gunner must have corrected his range in a hurry. I didn't come to until I was in an aid station.
"That got me a cracked skull, a ruptured right eardrum and a lot else, so they sent me to England for hospitalization. Later after I had recovered they assigned me to the 14th base post office outside Paris," he concluded his story of combat. A former employee of National Lock company, Carlson volunteered for induction in the draft Oct. 14, 1940. He served first with the Fifth (Red Diamond) infantry division, spending about eight months doing guard duty and patrolling for possible German paratroops in Iceland. Returning to the states, he went overseas again Sept. 27, 1944, as a replacement for the Sixth armored and traveled with the outfit from Normany to Germany. Carlson, who lives at 2241 9th street, returned to the states Oct. 21 and four days later got his honorable discharge at Fort Sheridan. [--Rockford Register-Republic, December 25, 1945]
THREE DIE IN BATTLE ACTION
TWO OTHERS REPORTED WOUNDED
Three Rockford soldiers have been killed and two others have been wounded in action, all in the European area, families of the men have been informed by the war department. Those killed are Pfc. Richard J. Stage, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Stage, Chicago, formerly of Rockford, in Italy on March 12, Lt. A. Clifford Shirk, whose wife is the niece of Mrs. Walker F. Hull, Simpson road, in Germany on March 11, and Pfc. Charles Voseles, whose wife lives at 322 North 1st. street, March 3 in Germany. The men reported wounded in action are, Pvt. George Rathke, whose wife lives at 1012 18th street, in Germany, and Pvt. William M. Thompson, whose wife lives at 1919 15th avenue, March 5 in Germany.
Pcg. Stage in a former student at St. Patrick's parochial school and attened St. Thomas high school one year. He was serving with the 10th Mountain division when he was killed. He is survived by five brothers and two sisters.
Lt. Shirk, whose wife is living in Dubuque, Ia., was the head of a tank battalion and had been overseas one year. His wife, the former Marjorie Schneider, is a graduate of Rockford college. Mrs. Hull's husband, Lt. Col. Walker F. Hull, is serving with the army in New Guinea
Pfc. Voseles was serving with an infantry division of the Seventh army when killed. He had been overseas since last November. The son of of Peter Voseles, 1609 South West street, he is a former employe of the Rockford Drop Forge company. He was the father of Charles Voseles, Jr., 2-years-old.
Pvt. Rathke, wounded sometime between March 4 and 11, is now convalescing in a hospital. He had been overseas just one month and served in an anti-aircraft unit. He was formerly employed as a cost accountant by the Rockford Drop Forge company.
Pvt. Thompson was serving with the 8th armored division of the Ninth army when wounded. He had been overseas since January. He entered the army in July, 1944, and was formerly employed by Greenlee Brothers and company.--[Rockford Morning Star, March 30, 1945]
BACK -- HOME
Copyright © Genealogy Trails