17th Armored Engineer Battalion in World War 2

17th Engineers during World War Two

Sergeant Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 – 1997

The story of

Sergeant Harry Oliver
Thompson Sr

 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, B-Company
Army Serial Number: 14033115

Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 - 1997

Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 – 1997; post war photo in summer uniform, on the left the 2nd Armored Patch, on the right the USAF patch. On the sleeves the chevrons of the rank NCO; Sergeant.  (Newspapers.com)

Born: 4 May 1919Baxterville, Lamar County, Mississippi, USA
Deceased: 31 Mar 1997 (aged 77)

Enlistment record

(second time for the Airforce in 1946)

United States World War II Army Enlistment Records
Name Harry O Thompson
Event Type Military Service
Event Date 16 Oct 1946
Term of Enlistment Enlistment for Hawaiian Department
Event Place Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi, United States
Race White
Citizenship Status citizen
Birth Year 1919
Education Level Grammar school
Civilian Occupation Skilled occupations in manufacture of electrical machinery and accessories, n.e.c.
Marital Status Married
Military Rank Corporal
Army Branch Air Corps
Army Component Regular Army (including Officers, Nurses, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men)
Serial Number 14033115
Affiliate ARC Identifier 1263923
Box Film Number 01482.5


US Sensus 1930

Harry Thompson

United States Census, 1930
Name Harry Thompson
Event Type Census
Event Date 1930
Event Place Beat 3, Lamar, Mississippi, United States
Gender Male
Age 11
Marital Status Single
Race White
Race White
Relationship to Head of Household Son
Relationship to Head of Household Son
Birth Year (Estimated) 1919
Birthplace Mississippi
Father’s Birthplace Mississippi
Mother’s Birthplace Mississippi
Sheet Letter B
Sheet Number 3


Robert T Thompson Head M 48 Mississippi
Ella Thompson Wife F 45 Mississippi
Magdelene Thompson Daughter F 22 Mississippi
Mickee L Thompson Son M 20 Mississippi
Carsey M Thompson Son M 16 Mississippi
Clarcy Thompson Daughter F 16 Mississippi
Rhudolph Thompson Son M 15 Mississippi
Hyram Thompson Son M 13 Mississippi
Harry Thompson Son M 11 Mississippi
Hallie Thompson Daughter F 9 Mississippi
Arendia Thompson Daughter F 7 Mississippi
Aaron Thompson Son M 5 Mississippi
US Sensus Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 - 1997

US Sensus Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 – 1997

Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 - 1997 (source: newspapers.com)

Harry Oliver Thompson Sr 1919 – 1997 Columbian-Progress (Columbia, Marion, Mississippi, United States of America) · 2 Jun 1994 (source: newspapers.com)

Veterans recall D-Day landings

Fifty years ago. Harry 0. Thompson was among the soldiers who stormed ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6 1944. At the time, Thompson, now 75, of Lamar County, said he was a heavy equipment operator in the 2nd Armored Division with the 17th Armored Engineers. D-Day is remembered by others who were there inside today’s edition. Thompson participated not only in the June 6, 1944, D-Day in France, he said, but in two other D-Days, one on Nov. 11. 1942 In North Africa and the other on July 10. 1943 in Sicily. In France Thompson said they did not meet resistance until 200 yard inland because the invasion caught the Germans by surprise. Thompson said he drove a half-track nicknamed “Berlin-Bound” A half-track is an Army truck or armored vehicle with tractor treads in the rear but with a pair of wheels in front. They pushed inland four miles and set up at the front lines, he said. Thompson fought in France and Germany and for a year in Belgium. He said is company had 179 men when they landed in France but by war’s end there were only 36 left. Thompson still sports a hat with a 2nd Division “Hell on Wheels” patch. The motto of the 2nd
Armored Division was “Hell on Wheels – Blood and Outs.” he said. The “Blood and Guts” referred to their commanding officer, Gen. George S. Patton Jr.. he said. “Our blood and his guts,” Thompson said. Thompson said he was trained at Fort Bening, Ga., under Patton, who was then a lieutenant colonel. Thompson recalled first meeting Patton in person while trying to drive a vehicle up a hill. He had to roll back down the hill In order to shift gears to get over the hill. Patton was standing near where his vehicle stopped and asked if Thompson was
having trouble getting over the hill. Thompson replied “No, sir!” and said he promptly drove over the hill. When Thompson drove back around. Patton called him over and asked his name. Thompson said he saw Pat-ton several times afterward while in North Africa. standing in line to eat chow with the troups. He said Patton always remembered him and stopped to talk to him. Thompson said. “I think it’s a good thing” when asked about the 50th year observance of D-Day. But he added that it took every citizen, behind the lines in the United States as well as the soldiers, to win the war.

Harrry O Thompson – Number 1 Summer 2019 of the Hell on Wheels bulletin (Source: John Evans)


Halftrack from B-Company 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, that Harry O. Thompson drove on as a heavy equipment operator. 

(Enhanced photo) 

On the far left is William F Emerson standing on the side of the Halftrack. The Halftrack is named “Berlin-Bound”. The bumper marking indicates 17th Armored Engineer Battalion. Tha name of the vehicle starting with the letter B, shows that this is B – Company. Harry O. Thompson drive on this Halftrack as a heavy equipment operator. He seems to be the engineer sitting on the front bumper, on the far right (Courtesy: Personal archive Ronna Lynn)

Original photo

Detail with the name “BERLIN BOUND”


Parents: Robert Thomas Thompson and Ella Rayborn

Spouse: Gertrude Alma Wright Thompson

Children of Harry and Gertrude:
1. Patricia Ann Thompson
2. Harry Oliver Thompson Jr
3. Walter Cecil Thompson


Caney Church Cemetery, Lamar County, Mississippi, USA