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Cleon NealUnit: 17 Engr Bn 2nd Armd Div, Company Unknown Rank: PrivateBorn: 04/04/1918
Location grave at the Temporary Cemetary Private Cleon Neal
Where and how was Private Cleon Neal killed in action?
Phase: Phase I – The “Break-Through
All Companies were employed as infantry in the area north of Barentan 8 August until 16 August. This was one of the hottest areas yet reached. Capt. George Youngblood, CO of Co. ”D”, and a demolition squad in the face of enemy fire blew a bridge in Lonlay-l’Abbaye on 8 August which halted an enemy column and enabled its destruction by friendly airplanes, thus earning his first Silver Star Medal. His patrols also demolished two bridges near Rouellé to nights later. Meanwhile, near Barenton, Co. ”B” under Division Reserve sent its platoons in line on the West of town, and to the north .
Co. ”C” had its platoons clearing mines, setting up road blocks, ands working with the Infantry . the 1st Platoon, working with Co. ”H”, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment on what became known to the men as “Purple Heart Hill”, had their first introduction to the “Screaming-Mimi” (Nebelwerfer) and suffered several casualties. In all, one man was killed and 13 wounded. (source: 17th Armored unit History)
The book “Hell on Wheels 2nd Armored Division 1942-1945” by Donald Houston mentions an operation with the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, D Company.
The division was orderd to attack the norh on August 12, cutting the Ger-Mortain road, while Division Reserve was to take over and defend the Comabat Command B zone. The attack by the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment started at 11:00 AM, the terrain was so rugged that the tanks could support the infantrymen ony from a distance.
The left flank was caught in intense artillery fire and small arms fire. The attack continued to the Night. Seeking something to divert the enemy’s attentio, General Brooks conceived a plan to destroy the enemy escape routes deep in to their own territory. To carry it out he designated a platoon from A Compny of the 82nd Recon supported by Captain George L Youngblood of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, D Company. The patrol reached the bridge at Loulay ‘l Abbaye and silently prepared to destroy it. The bridge was destroyed including some nearby houses. The explosion brought instantanious reaction from nearby tanks and infantry. The Hell on Wheelers hid to the woods, an captured some 65 Germans who entered their area. The small taskforce returned to their lines the next day.
It is not known in what Company Private Cleon Neal was in so we can’t tell specific what happend to him. The sources mentioned “one man killed” in this period in August 1944, our research revealed that there are seven 17th Engineers killed in august 1944.
Was Private Cleon Neal part of the D Company on August the 12th 1944 special taskforce on the day he got killed? It well could be but nontheless he also could have been killed on “Purple Heart Hill” (Hill 329), hopefully one day we find out.
The region the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion were active in was around Barenton, Normandy, France.
Region where Private Cleon Neal was killed in action:
Official casualty list
Temporary grave at he Le Chêne-Guérin American Cemetary in Normandy France:
The location of the house in the year where Cleon Neal lived with the family, as an 22 year old “Farmer”:
Adress: Gibson Road, Glascock County, Georgia, United States
US Sensus 1920
|Thomas J Neal||Head||M||46||Georgia|
|Mary Iness Neal||Daughter||F||16||Georgia|
US Sensus 1930
|Tom J Neal||Head||M||56||Georgia|
US Sensus 1940
|Event Place||Militia District 1168, Glascock, Georgia, United States|
|Relationship to Head of Household (Original)||Son|
|Relationship to Head of Household||Son|
|Birth Year (Estimated)||1918|
|Last Place of Residence||Same House|
|I J Neal||Head||M||66||Georgia|
|I J Neal||Male||66||Widowed||White||Head||Georgia||1874|
|Cleon Neal||Male||22||Single||White||Son||Georgia||1918||Same House|
|Nellie Johnson||Female||41||Widowed||White||Daughter||Georgia||1899||Same House|
|Ruth Johnson||Female||17||Single||White||Granddaughter||Georgia||1923||Same House|
Father Neal and son Cleon Neal were both Farmers.
Father Neal was married with Jennie Neal, who died between 1930 and 1940.
Father: Thomas (Tommie) Joseph Neal
Mother: Jennie Neal
Mary Iness Neal
Nellie Neal- Johnson
Draft Registration Card
|Name||Gender||Raltionship to veteran||Birth||Residence||Father||Adress Father|
|Cleon Neal||Draft Registration||1940-1942||Gibson, Glascock, Georgia, United States||Male||Father||04 Apr 1918||Glass Cock, Georgia||United States||Thomas Joseph Neal||Gibson, Glascock, Georgia||147|
|Name (Original)||NEAL CLEON|
|Event Type||Military Service|
|Event Date||22 May 1941|
|Event Place||Ft Mcpherson, Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Education Level||4 years of high school|
|Civilian Occupation||Farm hands, general farms|
|Marital Status||Single, without dependents|
|Army Branch||Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA|
|Army Component||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
Research © by: Martijn Brandjes
Text © by: Martijn Brandjes
Photos © by: Findagrave.com, familysearch.org, NARA