Commemorate and honoring
By empathizing as a re-enactor in the role of 17th Engineer and realizing the heavy and dangerous work they have done, you naturally get a certain bond with the unit. Talking to 17th Engineers who survived the war makes the bond even stronger. By speaking to and keeping in touch with family and relatives of a fallen 17th Engineer, he will acquire a face and personality. But when you see his white marble headstone you realize that there are also 17th Engineers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of Europe. The fallen 17th Engineers deserve to be never forgotten and we do that by commemorating and honoring.
Honor Guard with ceremonial firing party
We regularly commemorate and honor in many ways, for example by adopting a grave such as that of 17th Engineer TEC 5 Joseph Fumagalli at the Henri-Chappelle cemetery, which is dedicated to this on a separate page.
On this site we have created a “Roll of Honor”; an overview of all men and women who actively served their country in the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion and died during World War II.
Personal and service details of all the fallen are listed with a photo of his tombstone and the location of the cemetery. A passport photo of several fallen has been added and where known additional information of his life, before the war and during his service as 17th Engineer. The Roll of Honor is our way of expressing recognition, respect and appreciation.
The fallen 17th Engineers resting at the following ABMC American cemeteries:
– Colleville sur Mer France; 8 graves
– St. James (Brittany) France; 2 graves
– St. Avold (near Metz) France; 1 grave
– Henri-Chapelle Belgium; 8 graves
– Margraten Netherlands; 8 graves
– Cambridge England; 1 grave
– Carthega (near Tunis) Tunisia; 1 grave
– Nettuno (near Anzio) Italy; 2 graves
A total of 31 known graves at the ABMC American cemeteries.
Our research revealed a total of 70 fallen 17th Engineers.
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.
Of the 405,399 American fallen, “only” 176,399 are registered with the ABMC. Many war dead were (re) buried in the United States during and after the war, which means that the trace to find them has largely disappeared.