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17th Armored Engineer Battalion in World War 2

17th Engineers during World War 2

Introduction of the Roll of Honor

 

The “Roll of Honor” is our humble way to pay respect and gratidute,
to pay trubite and above all to Honor the men of the
17th Armored Engineer Battalion
who have fallen during the Second World War.

Grave stone 17th Armored Engineer AMBC Colville sur Mer Normandy France

Grave stone 17th Armored Engineer Elmo C Farrow, AMBC Colville sur Mer Normandy France, Courtesy Martijn Brandjes


 Total of casualties of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion

Period 8 November 1942 to 12 May 1945

Killed Missing Captured Wounded Injured Died Totals Returned to duty
42 5 22 210 22 14 315 129
tal-casualties-list-2nd-AD-Source-A-history-of-the-2nd-US-Armored-Division-1940-1946

Total casualties list 2nd AD. ( Source Book:  A history of the 2nd US Armored Division 1940-1946)

During all the campaigns in the Second World War an total of 61 men* of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion had fallen.
(*NOTE: our research reveals different numbers and totals)

First name: Middle name: Laste name: Rank: Born:
1 Eldon W. Akins Rank: Private (Private First Class by Temp. Burial info) Born: 8/25/1921
2 Peter   Bacle Rank: Staff Sergeant, halftrack-driver Born: 4/7/1922
3 Stanley   Bardyszewski Rank: Private Born: 1910
4 Roy L Basham Rank: Staff Sergeant Born: 1907
5 Harold J Blackford Rank: Private Born: +/-1924/1925
6 Fred J Blevins Rank: Technician 5th Grade Born: 01/01/1919 Tennessee
7 Ralph   Blevins Rank: Staff Sergeant Born: 1924 (?), place: Winfield, Scott County, Tennessee, USA
8 Bill William Henry Lejeune Bobo Rank: Private Born: 11/13/1924, Texas
9 Francis J. Bonitatibus Rank: Private Born: 5/21/1916
10 John T Bowman Rank: Private First Class Born: 02/04/1920
11 Richard H. Boynton Rank: Private First Class Born: 07/21/1921
12 John Michael Cabey Rank: Private Born: 01/26/1914
13 Amado P Castro Rank: Private Born: 06/30/1919
14 Richard   Chavez Rank: Private Born: 03/28/1922
15 Albert F Clark Rank: Private First Class Born: 1919
16 Francis Joseph Crimmins Rank: First Lieutenant Born: 1904
17 George H Davisson Rank: Private Born: 03/18/1913
18 Anthony   Di Bartollo Rank: Private Born: 1915
19 Ralph E. Engle Rank: Corporal Born: 10/20/1917
20 Elmo C. Farrow Rank: Sergeant Born: 1919 (+/-)
21 First name : Unknown   Feldman Rank: Private Born: Unknown
22 William   Fink Rank: Staff Sergeant, platoonsergeant Born: 1911
23 Earl T Forbes Rank: Private Born: 1912
24 Charles L Franch Rank: Private Born: 12/11/1918
25 Joseph (Giuseppe) Silvio Fumagalli Rank: Technician 5th Grade Born: -/-/1923
26 John W Harrison Rank: Sergeant Born: 1918
27 Frederick J Hartig Rank: Private First Class Born: 1923
28 John   Hoffman Rank: Private Born: 09/26/1906
29 Henry Wright Hurley Rank: Lieutenant Colonel Born: 11/26/1911
30 Raphael E Jannuzzi Rank: 2nd Lieutenant Born: 04/15/1913
31 Randolph Clifford Jennie Rank: Corporal Born: 09/21/1921 Lookingglass, Douglas County, Oregon
32 Adam F Kauchis Rank: Sergeant Born: 08/16/1915
33 Thomas Wallace Kelly Rank: Captain Born: 10/30/1920
34 Edward C Kenny Rank: Private Born: 05/28/1914
35 Kenneth W Kenyon Rank: Private Born: 09/22/1923
36 Charles J Kildea Rank: Corporal Bron: 1916
37 #2 Missing 01/04/1945 – 01/06/1945   KNOWN BUT TO GOD Rank: Unknown Born: Unknown
38 #3 Missing 01/04/1945 – 01/06/1945   KNOWN BUT TO GOD Rank: Unknown Born: Unknown
39 #4 Missing 01/04/1945 – 01/06/1945   KNOWN BUT TO GOD Rank: Unknown Born: Unknown
40 #1 Missing 01/04/1945 – 01/06/1945   KNOWN BUT TO GOD Rank: Unknown Born: Unknown
41 Thomas N Koliopulos Rank: Private First Class Born: 01/05/1919
42 Raymond V Larkin Rank: Private Born: 01/05/1924
43 William Stanley Majewski Rank: Sergeant Born: 11/13/1915
44 Charles W Mantha Rank: Corporal Born: 02/07/1912
45 Joseph F Masterson Rank: Private Born: 1917
46 Cecil Earle “Buddy” McMahan Rank: Captain Born: 07/17/1918
47 Dan Donald Mikovich Rank: Private Born: 02/28/1920
48 Donald L Mitchell Rank: 1st Lieutenant Born: 1915
49 George M Natale Rank: Private Born: 1908
50 Cleon   Neal Rank: Private Born: 04/04/1918
51 Clyde H. Nugent Rank: Staff Sergeant Born: 01/19/1907
52 Andy   Pasztorcsak/ Pasturick Rank: Private Born: 11/2/1908
53 Chester L Patcyk Rank: Private Born: 1922
54 Burnett M “Bud” Payson Rank: Private First Class Born: 12/24/1918
55 Leroy C Proctor Rank: Private Born: 1922
56 Harry R. Rothenberger Rank: Private Born: 06/21/1921
57 Rodger P Russell Jr. Rank: Sergeant Born: 09/05/1919
58 Ralph   Sirico Rank: Corporal Born: 1910
59 Farris D Smith Rank: Private First Class Born: 06/03/1922
60 Paul F Snider Rank: Private First Class  
61 Thomas H Snyder Rank: Private Born: 03/15/1945
62 Lloyd D Sublett Rank: Private Born: 1913
63 Frederick Jr. C Summers Rank: Private First Class Born: 1919
64 Henry Gladston Taylor Rank: Corporal Born: 07/04/1914
65 James G Waldron Rank: Corporal Born: 07/29/1910
66 Henry   Walker Rank: Private First Class Born: 03/23/1920
67 Gordon F Walker Rank: Sergeant Born: 05/05/1918
68 Albert F Walsh Rank: Private First Class Born: 1917
69 Lawrence P   Woodside Rank: Private Born: 1911

 

 

Grave stone 17th Armored Engineer AMBC Colville sur Mer Normandy France, Courtesy Martijn Brandjes

 AMBC Colville sur Mer Normandy France, Courtesy Martijn Brandjes


Why we made the Roll of Honor

We know 42 Engineers of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion were Killed in Action. We know 5 Engineers went missing. We know that 14 Engineers died during the Second World War, period 8 November 1942 to 12 May 1945. These are the official numbers. 
(These official numbers were not correct, our research revealed a higher number of 17th Engineers that were Killed in action, died or went Missing.)

But now the years passed on,  what do we excatly know? One can read the names of the fallen 17th Engineers on the white marble Crosses on the American War Cemetries, but that are only 31 names of the total of 68. Who are the other 17th Engineers who never came home? We think we managed to identify all of the fallen 17th Engineers. 

Not only the names themselves gives the fallen 17th Engineers their identity back. They were young boys and older men, living with family in their homes, had girlfriends, sometimes married and had childeren. They were skilled men in mostly technical craftsman. They had friends, hobbies and interests. They had a religion, or not. They sometimes were from foreign descent, like Canada, Poland and Italy and so on. They shared love for the family, and friends. That gives the Silent Engineers, who paid the ultimate price for our Freedom, their personal identity.

And that is excactly what we aim for with the Roll of Honor, give them back their name, their identity and sometimes their appearance with the help of a photograph. 
We all can at least know a little of who they were, maybe we recognise ourselves in them. That will make it easyer not to forget these Engineers. 

Because: “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them”

 

Amidst the desert sands dawnings just begun,
battle rages on, bombing veils the rising sun.
A boy not yet a man holds a picture to his heart,
of loved ones not forgotten though oceans keep them apart.
Called to serve his country, land of freedom home of brave,
risking his existence for the lives that he may save.
Concealing his dismay he holds his head up high,
his arms embrace a trusted friend watching him slowly die.
A boy he is no more, on that day there stood a man,
his heart filled with rage, his mind fights to understand.
Raised to be a man of God, taught thou shalt not kill,
now placed upon the battlefield where there tis his only will.
Resting beneath the sunset, wounded he dreams of home,
lying on the desert’s floor a soldier died alone

(Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com)


What is the Roll of honor; introduction

Years of ongoing research have led to this Roll of Honor about the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion..
Of each casualty we have an photograph of his grave, from all over the world.
Then all the info we have found is mentioned under his Grave, his family and house in the States, his Enlistement records, photographs.
Through all the research over years about the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion we have collected a fair amount of information and managed to write an papragraph about how, and when the 17th Engineer got killed, or died and under what circumstances, sometimes impressively accurate.
Then copies of all the official papers, like deathlists and US Sensus, gravestone application cards, enlistment draft records, just to name af few, are added. 
We still keep finding information about the casualties and hope to get in contact with more relatives and people who have relevant information, so feel free to get in contact with us.

Collage papers of Elmo C Farrow. Courtesy Martijn Brandjes

Collage papers of Elmo C Farrow. Courtesy Martijn Brandjes


Graves of the men of 17th Armored Engineer Battalion at the American Cemeteries from the American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC):

Name American Cemetery Location American Cemetery Number of Graves
Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France 8 Graves
Brittany American Cemetery Saint James, France 2 Graves
Lorraine American Cemetery Saint Avold, France 1 Grave
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery Hombourg, Belgium 8 Graves
Netherlands American Cemetery Margraten, Netherlands 8 Graves
Cambridge American Cemetery Cambridge, United Kingdom 1 Grave
North Africa American Cemetery Tunis, Tunisia 1 Grave
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Nettuno, Italy 2 Graves

In total there are 31 Graves of the fallen men 17th Armored Engineer Battalion at the American Cemeteries from American Battle Monuments Commission. 


Graves of the men of 17th Armored Engineer Battalion burried in the United States 

Many of the fallen have been (re)burried at Cemeteries in the United States, mostly near their hometown, by request of the relatives,  next-of-kin or by request of the deceased as stated in his last will.
Of the 405.399 American Casualties only 176.399 are registerd by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Many of the deceased men have been re-burried in the United States, and not registered by the AMBC. With that we had done lots of research and found more graves of the fallen 17th Engineers that the was stated in books. 

The book “A history of the second United States Armored Division 1940 – 1946” states a table with a total of 61 fallen during World War Two of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion but we have now 68 graves established in the Roll of Honor of which 4 (digital) graves that are “Unknown But to God”.


Sources used for the Roll of Honor

1. Draft registration Cards

(Source: FamilySearch.org)

A lot of pages about a the Engineers dont have any “Draft Registration Cards. The original draft registration cards for the following states were destroyed several years ago and were never microfilmed before they were destroyed. Therefore, there will never be records for these states in this Roll of Honor.

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

Example of a Draft Registration Card of Frank Thomas Russo

 

2. Enlistment Records

(Source: FamilySearch.org)

The Army Enlistment Records a the logical way to start with and give the most essential details about the 17th Engineer. 

Example below: 

 

Enlistment details

Frederick C Summers

United States World War II Army Enlistment Records
Name Frederick C Summers
Name (Original) SUMMERS FREDERICK C
Event Type Military Service
Event Date 02 Dec 1941
Event Place Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Race White
Citizenship Status citizen
Birth Year 1919
Birthplace MARYLAND
Education Level 2 years of high school
Civilian Occupation Structural-and ornamental-metal workers
Marital Status Single, without dependents
Military Rank Private
Army Branch Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Army Component Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source Reference Civil Life
Serial Number 33068929
Affiliate ARC Identifier 1263923
Box Film Number 06062.270

 


3.  United States Population Sensus 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940

(Source: FamilySearch.org)

The United States Sensus records gives some crucial information about the location the Engineer lived before the war, and also the family who billeted in the house at the moment they visited the house.
It also tells us what the civilliab occupation was before the war, not only of the Engineer but also what his father and siblings did. Mostly it is a occupation that clarifies the later assignment to the Branch of Engineers. We see that Chauffeurs, Crafstmen, Railroad workers, Steel workers, carpenters, farmers, Automobile repairman etc were being transferred to the Engineer Branch. 

Peter Bacle 1940 US Census

Example: Peter Bacle 1940 US Census

 

4. Official Deathlist; World War II – Honor List of Death and Missing – by State and County 

(Source: FamilySearch.org)
These lists were made up in June 1946 and were made for each State and then divided by County and the names in alphabetical order. 
The intersting thing is that in this document one can relate the ASN number and the name to the “Military Casualty Code” (more information below). 
So we know what the cause of death was and gives us more details we use to clarify ot the Engineer died during a specific mission, during artillery barrage or somekind. 
Most of the time we know the Company the Engineer served and by the unit history we can relatively accurate tell were he died. 

Military Casualty Code

These codes are used by the Military during the Second World War to declare the status of soldiers who died or were missing and are being used in the Roll of Honor.

 

TYPE OF CASUALTY: This is indicated by the symbol at the far right of each column. An individual who was killed in action, whether at the front or by enemy action in the rear areas, or if a prisoner of war, whether by air bombardment of his prison camp or by being shot while escaping. is designated “KIA.” Persons who were wounded and later died are marked “DOW”–died of wounds. Those who suffered fatal battle INJURIES as opposed to WOUNDS, in combat or in combat areas, and died in a line-of-duty status, are designated “DOI”–died of injuries. Other line-of-duty deaths, such as from sickness, homicide, suicide or accidents outside combat areas (including training and maneuver deaths) are listed “DNB”–died, non-battle. Individuals who were determined to be dead under Public Law 490 are designated “FOD”–finding of death. Missing persons are marked with the single letter “M”.

(source: Foreword Honor List of dead and missng 1946)

 

KIA: Killed In Action. This is an individual who was killed in action at the front, by enemy action in the rear, or if a prisoner of war. (battle related)

DOW: Died Of Wounds. This is an individual was who wounded and later died. (wounds are battle related)

DOI: Died of Injuries. This is an individual was who wounded and later died. (injuries ar not battle related)

DNB: Died Non-Battle This is an individual who died in a line of duty death, such as from sickness, homicide, suicide, or accidents outside of combat areas (training). (not battle related)

FOD: Finding of Death. The missing in action person is declared dead, or Legal Presumption of Death, after missing one year or more. In the absence of a recovered body, soldiers that were determined to be dead under Public Law 490. After at least one year from time of disappearance, when there was either conclusive proof that the person is dead or equally overwhelming evidence that the person could not have remained alive. Findings of death under Public Law 490 and its amendments are made in the case of persons when–and only when–there Is either conclusive proof that the person is dead or equally overwhelming evidence that under the circumstances the person could not have remained alive. These findings are made only after review and after a lapse of least one year from the time of disappearance. (battle related) 

FOL: Finding of Loss. (Not in line of duty)

M: Missing. This is an individual who is reported as missing and later was determined to be dead. A missing person disappeared less than a year prior to January 31, 1948. As time passes the fate of some of these missing will become known and others will be declared dead in the absence of hope that they are living. A few–too small a number to be considered as a percentage of the missing–fall into a third category: persons who intentionally deserted the service and are bending every effort to avoid repatriation. Cases of this type have been discovered in the past but the number of these cases is exceed­ingly small.

World War II – Honor List of Death and Missing – by State and County

World War II – Honor List of Death and Missing – by State and County

World War II – Honor List of Death and Missing – by State and County

 

5. Headstone Application Cards (Source: NARA)

Gravestone Application Card Davisson

Gravestone Application Card Davisson

 

6. Military Official Burail documentation

Peter Bacle Burial Info detail

Peter Bacle Burial Info detail

 

7.  Report of temporary burial/ grave

Many of the fallen during World War 2 were burried in a temporary grave all over the ETO. At the time the AMBC erected the American Cemetaries they were re-burried at the AMBC Cemetary or were re-burried in the United States by request of the next-of-kin. There are some reports were some fallen 17th Egnineer are being mentioned and were burried at a temporary grave. Example below. 

Temporary Burial Masterson Joseph F detail

Temporary Burial Masterson Joseph F detail

8. Other relevent sources 

Sometimes we find aditionall information by the help of the World Wide Web, or official associations and offcourse family/ relatives. We even managed to get in contact with veterans of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion. We have received letters, photographs, stories and souvenirs. These give excellent information of the Engineer. Some Examples below. 

Naturalization Record

Naturalization Record

Honorable Discharge Papers

Honorable Discharge Papers

Citation Oak Leaf on Bronze Star Franks T Russo

Citation Oak Leaf on Bronze Star Franks T Russo

Orville Pete Cowart Berlin Aug1945

Orville Pete Cowart Berlin Aug1945

2nd Lieutenant Turmer his sister Justine on the left and right his cousin Arlene. Photo: S. Benninger.

2nd Lieutenant Turmer his sister Justine on the left and right his cousin Arlene. Photo: S. Benninger.

17th Engineer Heber L. McFall (far right) in Africa serving as a radio operator

17th Engineer Heber L. McFall (far right) in Africa serving as a radio operator

17th Engineer Private First Class, Henry Walker

17th Engineer Private First Class, Henry Walker


Written by M. Brandjes