202nd Field Artillery Battalion
United States Army  World War II

United States Army World War II

In Memoriam


IN MEMORIAM



Thirteen soldiers of the 202nd Field Artillery Battalion (and one former member) died in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. We honor these selfless and heroic men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their families suffered greatly from the loss of a loved one, and we must always remain mindful of their sacrifice and celebrate the victory of their cause.



                                                                                         
                                                                           National World War II Memorial




“I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.”

President Ronald Reagan, May 21, 1982, Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetery


Joyce, Lester F., Pvt., 35 349 936, KIA 18 Aug 1944

McAnnally, Hoyt D., Cpl, 38 018 185, KIA 12 Sep 1944

Parker, William H., Pvt, 20 834 415, KIA 8 Nov 1944

Hathaway, Allen L., 1st Lt, 20 832 026, KIA 18 Nov 1944

Schleier, George T., 2nd Lt, 519 223, KIA 18 Nov 1944

App, Kenneth W., Sgt, 33 970 847, KIA 24 Nov 1944

Marzocco, Joseph L., Pfc, 33 405 500, KIA 24 Nov 1944

Herr, Orris E., 1st Lt, 1 179 441, KIA 4 Dec 1944

White, John W., 1st Lt, 1 172 333, KIA 4 Dec 1944

Shirley, William C. Jr., Sgt, 34 093 171, KIA 3 Jan 1945

Robinson, James Ovis, Pfc., 35 746 492, KIA 9 Jan 1945

Royse, Walter Wesley, Pfc., 35 526 325, KIA 13 February 1945

Szurgocinski, Raymond E., Pfc., 32 909 871, KIA 7 May 1945

Bafkus, James G., Pvt, 36 345 088, DOI 14 June 1945



Joyce, Lester F. was born in St. Marys, Auglaize Co., Ohio on 8 December 1921, the son of Mary R. Hardin and Harry W. Joyce. He enlisted in the Army on 30 November 1942 at Toledo, Ohio. Private Joyce was an ammunition handler assigned to “A” Battery.

On 18 August 1944, near Broué, France, an M-10 ammunition trailer pulled by a 4-ton Diamond T truck caught fire and exploded. Private Joyce, riding in the back of the truck, was struck in the head by a shell fragment, killing him almost instantly. First Lieutenant Flavey E. Baker and Pvt. John R. Rippa uncoupled the burning trailer and then crawled under the truck, clinging to the undercarriage as it was driven out of danger by Sgt. Hershal E. Bay. None of the other three were injured and the ammunition truck was undamaged, saving nearly one hundred of rounds of 155mm howitzer ammunition from exploding and possibly injuring or killing more of the soldiers.

Pvt. Lester F. Joyce was the Battalion’s first fatality in combat. He was buried in the civilian cemetery at Villiers-en-Désoeuvre, France on 19 August 1944. Lester Joyce, age 22, was survived by his parents and siblings; Harry and Mary Joyce, Mrs. Wilbur [Winona] Lininger, Mrs. W.V. [Mildred L.] Schoonmaker, Mrs. Harold [Virginia M.] Kettler, John W. Joyce and Robert Joyce, all of St Marys, and Corporal Harry Joyce of Ft. Lewis, Washington.

The U.S. military was not prepared to handle the large numbers of our dead in World War II, especially in areas where combat was still actively raging. Many dead were hastily buried where they fell and the graves poorly marked which hindered the later recovery of remains. As soon as practical, the soldier’s remains were moved to a U.S. military cemetery. Pvt. Joyce was reburied in the United States Military Cemetery at Saint-André-de-l'Eure, France on 6 November 1945.

After the War, the U.S. Congress authorized the disinterment and final burial of the heroic dead of World War II. The Quartermaster General of the Army was entrusted with that sacred responsibility. The soldier’s family would dictate the disposition of the remains of the deceased, either to be interred in a permanent American military cemetery overseas or returned to the United States. The Quartermaster General contacted approximately 280,000 next-of-kin for a decision on final disposition. About 61% of American Soldier Dead were returned to the United States. 

The remains of Pvt. Lester F. Joyce were repatriated to the United States in 1949. A funeral service was held on April 8th at the Sittler Memorial home in St. Marys, OH with interment in Elmgrove Cemetery at St. Marys.

McAnally, Hoyt Davis was born in Coal Hill, Johnson County, Arkansas on 15 January 1918, the son of William A. and Ruby McAnally. Hoyt worked as a cook.

He enlisted in the Army on 7 February 1941 and was inducted at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was assigned to Battery “F” of the 189th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, OK. On 9 July 1941, Hoyt received a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) rating as a cook (Specification Serial Number-SSN 060). He was later rated as a Cannoneer (531), Recorder, and Scout Corporal (761). His training locations included Camp Barkeley, TX; Camp Gruber, OK; and Camp Howze, TX. Hoyt was later assigned to “A” Battery of the 202nd Field Artillery Battalion.
During the afternoon of 12 September 1944, an observation post (OP) party consisting of Captain Harold E. Brown, 1st Lt. Gurdon B. Flagg, 2nd Lt Arthur Rice, and Corporal Hoyt D. McAnally was pinned to the ground by enemy machine gun fire on Hill 376 overlooking Charmes, France. Corporal McAnally was wounded in the thigh and died before he could be evacuated to the 79th Division medic’s collection point.  This was the second fatality in the unit since its arrival in France. Hoyt was 26 years old.
 
                 

A copy of the letter from the commander of "A" Battery to Cpl. McAnally's mother dated 19 September 1944.  A disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri in 1973 destroyed 16-18 million Official Personnel Record Files which included 80% of all U.S. Army personnel records from World War II.  Corporal McAnally's personnel record survived with visible evidence of the fire.


He was temporarily buried on 14 September 1944 in the United States Military Cemetery at Andilly, France. On 15 January 1949, Hoyt was permanently interred in the Lorraine American Cemetery near St. Avold, France. The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II in Europe, a total of 10,489. The overseas U.S. military cemeteries were transferred to the American Battle Monuments Commission after the Department of the Army completed all final interments. The Commission had the responsibility of permanent construction and beautification of the cemetery, including erection of the permanent headstones.





Corporal Hoyt D. McAnally
Lorraine American Cemetery  St. Avold, France
 

Parker, William Henry was born in Garfield County, Oklahoma on 8 June 1919 the son of Earl F. Parker and Nora S. Sargent. Bill attended high school in Enid, OK.

He was a member of the Oklahoma National Guard when his unit was inducted into Federal service on 16 September 1940 at Enid, OK. At the time of his enlistment, he was a resident of Garfield County, OK. Bill was assigned to “B” Battery.


                                                                           Private William H. Parker January 1942


On 8 November 1944 at 1210 hours, Lt. Flavey E. Baker and Private William H. Parker were in the vicinity of Migneville, France looking for a suitable observation post when their jeep ran over a mine. Private Parker was killed instantly and Lt. Baker received a fracture of the left arm and lacerations on the face. The vehicle was completely demolished. Lt. Baker was evacuated by the medical personnel of the 2nd French Armored Division and taken to the 51st Evacuation Hospital near Vincey, France. Private Bill Parker was the Deuce’s third fatality since its arrival in France. His body was not immediately located after the accident. 1st Lieutenant Gurdon B. Flagg, “A” Battery Executive Officer, left the command post of the 202nd at 1325 hours for the area of the mine explosion. He returned two hours later with information concerning his investigation. The body of Private Parker was found 50 yards from the road. The French reported that several vehicles had passed over the same point previously during the day. The road had not been swept for mines. The following morning, 1st Lieutenant Richard G. Krahn, the HQ Battery Motor Officer, who was also the Battalion Graves Registration Officer, delivered the body of Private Parker to the XV Corps Graves Registration collecting point in Luneville. Bill was 25 years old and was survived by his wife and an infant daughter whom he never met.





Bill was buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France. Two copies of QMC Form  1 “Report of Burial” were placed in glass bottles and one was buried with the body and the other buried twelve inches below the grave marker. This would help later with identification when the remains were removed from the temporary grave.

In 1948, his remains were repatriated to the United States. He was interred in the Enid, Oklahoma Cemetery on 9 June 1948.


                                                                                Enid, Oklahoma 9 June 1948




Local V.F.W. Honor Guard






Hathaway, Allen L.
was born in Oklahoma on 6 February 1923 (some records list 1920), the son of Alvin L. and Beulah Smith Hathaway. Both of his parents were teachers. His father served in the Army during World War I with the 322nd Headquarters Train and Military Police, 97th Infantry Division. Allen's grandfather was a lawyer who homesteaded in Indian Territory, Chickasaw Nation (what is now Pontotoc County, Oklahoma) in the 1890's.

Allen joined the Army or National Guard after high school. He re-enlisted in the Army on 21 February 1941 at Fort Sill, OK with the rank of sergeant. At the time of his re-enlistment, he was a resident of Pontotoc County, OK. Allen completed Officer Candidate Course #51 at Ft. Sill Field Artillery School on 10 February 1943 and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant.


                                                                          Allen L. Hathaway (Date Unknown)

Later as a 1st Lieutenant, Allen was a liaison pilot assigned to HQ Battery of the 202nd Field Artillery Battalion. He was awarded the Air Medal for completion of 35 combat sorties. The presentation was made on 23 September 1944 by Brigadier General Edward Stanley Ott, Commanding General of XV Corps Artillery.

Allen was killed near Harbouey, France, along with 2nd Lieutenant George Schleier, on the afternoon of 18 November 1944 when the L-4 Grasshopper observation and liaison aircraft he was flying was hit by friendly artillery fire. The aircraft was airborne about 1430 hours when the crew located some enemy troops and requested artillery fire. After the first round of adjustment, contact was lost with the plane. Reports indicated that the Piper Cub exploded in mid air. Their bodies were recovered and taken to Luneville, France for temporary burial. Allen Hathaway was 21 years old and survived by his wife and parents.

Lt. Hathaway received the second Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal on the day of his death. He was buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France. Allen was later permanently interred in East Hill Cemetery at Roff, Oklahoma. His flat granite marker (provided by the government) was from Columbus Marble Works of Columbus, Mississippi. As you can see in the photo below, someone set the marker on it's edge.



                                                                                East Hill Cemetery at Roff, Oklahoma








Schleier, George Thomas
was born in Houston, Harris Co., Texas on 2 October 1922 the son of Erich E. Schleier, Sr. and Gertrude E. Stout. 


                                            Texas A&M Longhorn yearbook photo of Tommy Schleier 
                                                                    in Cadet Corps uniform ca. 1942




Tommy attended Texas Agricultural & Mechanical College. After the United States entered World War II, Texas A&M was the first major U.S. college to go all-out on a twelve-month, three-semester schedule and the first to switch shops and laboratories to a 24-hour day. The four-year course was cut to two years, eight months. The Aggies doubled military instruction and built an airport to train pilots, navigators and bombardiers. In addition, the College offered training to Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) Cadets, Army Air Corps, Navy radio specialists and Marine Corps trainees. Tommy was on the Board of Directors for the Economics Club, was a member of the Houston Club, and a 2nd lieutenant in his Cadet unit, Battery "H", in Field Artillery. In the fall of 1942, the number of individual military units in the Cadet Corps hit an all-time high with a total of seven regiments of seventeen battalions comprising sixty companies, batteries, and troops, including the Band. The Cadet Corps at Texas A&M sent over 20,229 former cadets into World War II, 14,223 of them as commissioned officers, more than the combined totals of both military academies. Tommy was a liberal arts major and member of the Aggies Class of 1943. He was inducted into the Army on 29 January 1943. Tommy was later promoted to corporal. He completed Officer Candidate Course #63 at Fort Sill Artillery School and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 6 May 1943. He was married on 22 June 1944.




                                                                   Tommy Schleier U.S. Army ca. 1943



Tommy joined the Deuce-O-Deuce from the 71st Replacement Battalion and was assigned to Service Battery as a forward observer on 17 October 1944. He was killed near Harbouey, France, along with 1st Lieutenant Allen Hathaway, on the afternoon of 18 November 1944 when the L-4 Grasshopper observation and liaison aircraft they were flying was hit by friendly artillery fire. The aircraft was airborne about 1430 hours when the crew located some enemy troops and requested artillery fire. After the first round of adjustment, contact was lost with the plane. Reports indicated that the Piper Cub exploded in mid air. Their bodies were recovered and taken to Luneville, France for temporary burial. Tommy was 22 years old. Lt. Schleier was interred on 19 November 1944 in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France. His remains were later repatriated to the United States and interred in September 1948 in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston, TX.


App, Kenneth William was born on 17 April 1917 in Ohio, the eldest son of William J. and Anna App. Kenneth was of German ancestry. He grew up in Massillon, Stark Co., Ohio. After high school, Kenneth completed one year of vocational training and became a welder. He enlisted in the Army on 18 December 1942 at Akron, OH. Kenneth reported to the Reception Center at Fort Hayes, OH on 26 December 1942. He received his basic training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. On 25 May 1943, he was promoted to private first class. Four months were spent training at Fort Sill, OK from 5 June 1943 to 25 September 1943. Kenneth was assigned to HQ Battery. He was granted a 10 day furlough on 12 October 1943, and the next month appointed technician fifth grade (corporal).



                    Some pages from the permanent U.S. Army Service Record of Kenneth W. App which can be
                  found at the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis, Missouri. The Service
                 Record was used to keep track of the soldier's training, awards, assignments, promotions, health
               records, etc. Evidence of the 1973 fire is visible on the top edge of the document which was burned.


Kenneth qualified as a marksman with the U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 on 12 November 1943. He was appointed technician fourth grade (sergeant) on 9 March 1944. His Military Occupational Specialties included: Telephone & Telegraph Lineman (238), Radio Repairman (174) and (648).

Technician Fourth Grade (Sergeant) Kenneth W. App was killed in action on 24 November 1944, along with Private First Class Joseph L. Marzocco, while on special duty as radio operators with the 2d French Armored Division. The division’s command post located at Place de la République in Strasbourg, France was shelled by German artillery at 1330 hours and both men were killed as Pfc. Marzocco was operating the radio in a radio truck. Their death was caused from the concussion of the enemy shell explosion.

Kenneth was buried in the Cronenbourg French Cemetery near Strasbourg on 25 November 1944. He was survived by his parents. Kenneth was 27 years old when he died.

In December 1944, he was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for "Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States". The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Kenneth was also posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.

                                             Copy of War Department Adjutant General's Office Form 0708
                                    citation
for posthumous award of Silver Star Medal to T/4 Kenneth W. App.


His remains were later re-buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France on 12 April 1946. Sergeant App’s remains were repatriated to the United States in January 1949 and buried in West Brookfield Cemetery in Massillion, Ohio. 


                                 Copy of application for Gold Star Lapel Button from William J. App, father of 
                       T/4 Kenneth W. App. The Gold Star Lapel Button was authorized by Congress after World
                         War II to provide an appropriate means to identify family members of our Soldier Dead.






Marzocco, Joseph Love
was born in Pennsylvania on 26 August 1916, the son of Italian immigrants Louis and Olympia Marzocco.
He enlisted in the Army on 14 December 1942 at Pittsburgh, PA and was inducted on 21 December. Joseph was assigned to HQ Battery.

 

                                           Pvt. Joe Marzocco, Pvt. Bill Hammill, and Pvt. James Haggerty circa 1943

Private First Class Joseph L. Marzocco was killed in action on 24 November 1944, along with T/4 Kenneth W. App, while on special duty as radio operators with the 2d French Armored Division. The division’s command post located at Place de la République in Strasbourg, France was shelled by German artillery at 1330 hours and both men were killed as Pfc. Marzocco was operating the radio in a radio truck. Their death was caused from the concussion of the enemy shell explosion.

A French priest administered the sacraments of Penance and Extreme Unction. Joseph was survived by his wife Helen. He was 28 years old. He was buried in the Cronenbourg French Cemetery at Strasbourg on 25 November 1944.

On 22 December 1944, he was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for "Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States". The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Joseph was also posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.

                                                                                           Silver Star

After the War, his family requested that his remains be returned to the United States. There was a problem with the identification of his remains due to his temporary grave being marked as that of a French soldier. After a thorough and exhaustive investigation by the Army, his remains were located and positive identification was established. Approximately 78,000 men were missing or unidentified in World War II.

Pfc. Joseph L. Marzocco’s remains were repatriated to the United States in March 1950 (more than five years after his death) and interred in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Pittsburgh, PA.

 

JOSEPH L. MARZOCCO
PFC 202ND F A BN

ENLISTED                       KILLED
DEC 21, 1942                    IN ACTION
BORN AUG 26, 1916            NOV 24, 1944


Photo courtesy of John Krantosky, Jr.

 




Herr, Orris Elton
was born in Creston, Iowa on 6 September 1921, the son of Harry L. Herr and Elizabeth M. Smith.

He was inducted into the Army on 3 September 1942 and completed basic training at the Field Artillery Replacement Center at Camp Roberts, San Miguel, California.

Three months earlier on 6 June 1942, the Secretary of War ordered the establishment of organic air observation for Field Artillery. Army Ground Forces would have their own pilots and aircraft which would be separate from Army Air Force liaison personnel. The aerial adjustment of artillery fire was both the purpose for the establishment of organic Army Aviation and its single most important function during WWII. After it came to be accepted by artillery commanders, organic aviation was a complete success in this mission. Initially, all tactical flight training students already had civilian pilot licenses. As the supply of licensed pilots ran out, the Army Air Force, which had responsibility for providing rated pilots to the Army Ground Forces, contracted with civilian companies to conduct primary flight instruction. Also, the Army wanted only enlisted men for liaison pilot training. That changed in April 1943 when enlisted soldiers began attending Officer Candidate School before flight school.

Elton graduated from the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 25 March 1943. 



                    This photo of Lt. Orris Elton Herr, circa Nov. 1943 to Oct. 1944, shows the collar brass of an
                 artillery officer and the shoulder patch of the 66th Infantry Division. The 66th was known as the
                  “Black Panther Division”. The Division had four field artillery battalions of 105mm Howitzers.



He then reported to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for four months of training. In September 1943, Elton was assigned to the Second Army Air Force Liaison Training Detachment at Pittsburg, Kansas for flight school. The primary training phase consisted of 9 weeks of liaison pilot training at Pittsburg, Kansas, or Denton, Texas (Training was discontinued at Denton, TX, in November 1943 and conducted only at Pittsburg, KS, until the end of 1944).
Atkinson Municipal Airport was located about 3.5 miles northwest of Pittsburg. McFarland Flying Service, a civilian flying school under contract to the AAF, provided the flight training and conducted the ground school for the students. The instructors were all civilians. Glider pilots were also trained at the facility.

Elton graduated from Class Forty-Four of the Second Army Air Force Liaison Training Detachment at Pittsburg, Kansas on 22 November 1943 and was awarded the wings of a liaison pilot. The ceremony was held at the Besse Hotel located at Fourth and Locust Streets in Pittsburg.

 

                                                               

                                                                    1943 Newspaper Articles


 



1st Lt. Herr joined the 202nd in France on 26 October 1944 and was assigned to HQ Battery as a liaison pilot. He replaced 2nd Lt. Walter R. White who was wounded by enemy machine gun fire.

He was killed on 4 December 1944, along with 1st Lieutenant John W. White, when the L-4 Grasshopper observation and liaison aircraft they were flying was hit by friendly artillery fire. A howitzer of “B” Battery was conducting registration fire in the area of Hinsbourg, France when the plane was hit and fell in flames near Puberg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace. The bodies of Liaison Pilot Orris E. Herr and Observer John W. White were recovered and taken to the Graves Registration Officer at Puberg.

The crew of the Battalion’s other liaison plane had suffered the same fate only two weeks earlier. Elton, age 23, was survived by his wife and a son who would be born three months later.

Lt. Herr was buried at 1515 hours on 6 December 1944 in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Hochfelden, France.

On 3 February 1949, he was permanently interred in the Lorraine American Cemetery near St. Avold, France in Plot C Row 30 Grave 36. 


                                                                             1st Lieutenant Orris Elton Herr
                                                                Lorraine American Cemetery  St. Avold, France
 





White, John Wesley was born in Hall Co., Georgia on 6 November 1922, the son of Zola E. Chambers and Thomas Newton White. His family moved to Wellsburg, West Virginia when he was a child. Johnnie graduated from Wellsburg High School in 1940 and got a job at the Holland Furnace Company.

He enlisted in the Army on 14 January 1941 at Clarksburg, WV. At the time of his enlistment, he was a resident of Brooke County, WV.  John received his training at Fort D.A. Russell near Marfa, Texas and Fort Sill, OK. He later attended Officer Candidate School.
 

                                                                                  John Wesley White 

2nd Lieutenant White was appointed as “B” Battery reconnaissance officer on 5 March 1943 while the 202nd Field Artillery Battalion was in Texas. Later, as a 1st Lieutenant, John was the reconnaissance officer assigned to “C” Battery.

He was awarded the Air Medal for completion of 35 combat sorties. The presentation was made on 23 September 1944 by Brigadier General Edward Stanley Ott, Commanding General of XV Corps Artillery.

Lt. White was killed on 4 December 1944 in the vicinity of Puberg, France, along with 1st Lieutenant Orris E. Herr, when the L-4 Grasshopper observation and liaison aircraft they were flying was hit by friendly artillery fire. A Battalion howitzer was conducting registration fire in the area of Hinsbourg, France when the plane was hit and fell in flames near Puberg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace. The bodies of Liaison Pilot Orris E. Herr and Observer John W. White were recovered and taken to the Graves Registration Officer at Puberg. The crew of the Battalion’s other liaison plane had suffered the same fate only two weeks earlier.

He was buried on 6 December 1944 in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Hochfelden, France. The burial was conducted by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company. Positive identification of Lt. White was made by 1st Lieutenant Richard G. Krahn of HQ Battery.

Lt. John W. White was repatriated to the United States in February 1949 and interred in the Brooke Cemetery in Wellsburg, West Virginia.



                                                        Brooke Cemetery in Wellsburg, West Virginia 






Shirley, William C. Jr. was born in Georgia on 14 December 1916 the son of William and Lavoca Shirley.

He enlisted in the Army on 6 June 1941 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. William was a gun section chief in “C” Battery. Corporal Shirley was promoted to sergeant on 1 January 1945. The SSN’s of
his MOS were (603) and (539).


                       Sgt. William Shirley, Pfc. Court Spelts, Pvt. Natale Di Bella, Pvt Joseph Lobianco, Cpl. Fisher 
                             (either Stanley or Eldie), Pvt. Nick Sheifer. All of "C" Battery. Circa late 1944 in France.


Sergeant William Shirley died in the early morning hours of 3 January 1945 near Bining, Lorraine, France. He was killed by a shell fragment when the area of “C” Battery received numerous rounds from enemy light and medium caliber artillery. Later that day, two other members of “C” Battery
were injured (Cpl. Howard Guiles and Pfc. William Majnaric) when they were again subjected to enemy artillery fire. William was 28 years old and was survived by his wife.

Sgt. Shirley was buried on 6 January 1945 at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France. One of
his identification tags was buried with his body and one was attached to the temporary wooden grave marker as specified in the Quartermaster Corps Instructions for Burial.

His return to the United States began in February 1948 when his remains were shipped by train from Epinal, France to Antwerp, Belgium. From there, a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to New York aboard the United States Army Transport Robert F. Burns, a ship which carried returning servicemen three years earlier. A uniformed escort of the same rank as or higher rank than the Soldier Dead accompanied each casket from the port to the point of final disposition.

In April 1948, he was permanently interred in the Coneross Baptist Church Cemetery located in Oconee County, South Carolina between Walhalla and Westminster.




Robinson, James Ovis was born in Otter District, Braxton County, West Virginia in 1916; the eldest son of Grace L. and Ode D. Robinson. Ovis attended Sutton High School and Gassaway High School in Braxton Co., WV.  He was employed on a lumber job at Birch River, WV before he enlisted in the Army on 18 December 1942 at Clarksburg, WV.  At the time of his enlistment, Ovis was a resident of Braxton County, WV. 




Private James Ovis Robinson ca. 1943


Private Robinson was
assigned to “A” Battery. 

In a letter to his sister dated 9 July 1944 (the 202nd had been in combat in France for one week) he wrote...


I am just fine, working every day, but don't get much sleep at night because a fox hole isn't a very good place for a bed.
 

Ovis also expressed optimism that the War would probably be over soon. His war would come to an end exactly six months later.

Private Robinson was appointed private first class in December 1944 in France.

On the afternoon of 9 January 1945, “A” Battery was hit with German 105mm artillery fire at their position just north of Rahling, France.  One round landed near the number four piece (howitzer) and shell fragments wounded cannoneers Pfc. Robinson and Pfc. Robert J. Ellison.

Private First Class James Ovis Robinson was evacuated to the 10th Field Hospital, 2nd Hospital Unit, located near Vibersviller; and died from his injuries the same day. He was 28 years old and survived by his wife, Dorothy.

Ovis was temporarily buried on 14 January 1945 in the U.S. Military Cemetery near Epinal, France.




               In August 1947, his widow signed the paperwork for his remains to be permanently interred overseas.

Ovis was buried on 16 September 1948 in the Epinal American Cemetery near Epinal, France in Plot B Row 19 Grave 36. The United States flag that was placed on his casket during the reburial ceremony was then sent to his widow in West Virginia.





                                     Pfc. James Ovis Robinson  Epinal American Cemetery   Epinal, France



Royse, Walter Wesley was born in Struthers, Ohio on 24 September 1916, the youngest child of Ralph Jones Royse and Grace Blair Royse. Walter completed the sixth grade. He later got a job driving a truck and delivered coal for $25 per week. Walter then worked as an electrician repairing electric motors at a steel mill. He was drafted and inducted into the Army on 17 December 1942 at Cleveland, OH. At the time of his induction, he was a resident of Mahoning County, OH. He was married, but separated from his wife. Walter was sent to the reception center at Fort Hayes, Ohio on 26 December 1942. Private Royce was assigned to HQ Battery of the Deuce-O-Deuce at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma on 30 December 1942. His MOS ratings were Basic (521), Driver (345), Wire & Telegraph Operator (641), and Rifleman (745).
Walter was AWOL from 2 June to 4 June 1943 at Camp Gruber. He was later restricted to the Battalion area for four weeks and had to forfeit $25 pay for one month. While the 202nd Field Artillery Battalion was on field maneuvers near Manny, Louisana, Walter received a pass to visit Manny on 27 July 1943 from 1900 hours to midnight. He was not present at roll call on the morning of the 28th. Private Royse was classified as AWOL. Three weeks later, on 19 August 1943, Private Royse was observed standing on a street corner in Beaumont, Texas by two military police officers of the 1823rd Service Unit. After a check showed that he had no pass or papers to show authorized leave of absence, he was arrested and taken to the military police headquarters. Pvt. Royse was charged with violation of the 61st Article of War, specifically: did, without proper leave, absent himself from his organization at the Maneuver Area, Army Post Office 310, c/o Postmaster, Shreveport, Louisana from about 28 July 1943 to about 19 August 1943. He was returned to Camp Howze. A special court-martial was held on 9 September 1943 at Camp Howze. Private Royse pleaded not guilty. He stated that he was detained on the night of 27 July after witnessing a fight in Alexandria, LA. After returning to his unit's previous location on the morning of the 28th, he found that they were gone. He stated that he was frustrated and went home to visit his parents in Ohio. Pvt. Walter Royse was found guility of all the charges and specifications and sentenced to six months of hard labor and to forfeit $30 per month for six months (his Army pay was $50 per month). He was confined to the post prison at Camp Howze on 27 August 1943. Pvt. Royse was released from confinement on 3 December 1943 and was to spend the unexpired portion of his sentence restricted to the battalion area for one month.
Walter was promoted to private first class on 28 December 1944. He was transferred to the 397th Replacement Company, 2nd Replacement Depot at Thaon, France on December 30th. The Deuce-O-Deuce was ordered to transfer the equivalent of 10% of its authorized enlisted strength to the 2nd Replacement as infantry replacements. Private First Class Royse was AWOL from 10 January to 11 January 1945. He was sentenced to forfeit $25 for a month and restricted to post for 30 days. He went AWOL again from 12 January to 18 January 1945. This time, his sentence was forfeiture of $25 for one month and restricted to post for 90 days. On 31 January 1945, Pfc. Royse was assigned to Company "F", 389th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division.
Private First Class Walter W. Royce was killed near Sarreinsburg (or Meisenthal), France on 13 February 1945. He sustained shell fragment wounds to the throat, left hand, and right thigh from enemy artillery. His body was placed in a matress cover (which was standard procedure) and was buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France on 15 February 1945 at 1335 hours. He was posthumously awarded the purple heart.



His journey back to the United States began two years later on 4 November 1947 when his remains were disinterred at Epinal. They were prepared and placed in a casket on 21 November 1947. The casket was shipped via rail from Epinal, France on 13 August 1948 to the American Graves Registration Command in Antwerp, Belgium, arriving on August 16th. On 16 September 1948, Walter's remains were placed aboard the USAT Carroll Victory which later arrived at the New York Port of Embarkation on 6 October 1948. The casket was accepted at Columbiana, Ohio on 29 October 1948 by the Frye Funeral Home after being shipped on Train #44 of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Columbus, Ohio earlier that day. His remains were accompanied by military escort Sergeant First Class B. Griffith. Walter W. Royse was buried in Lake Park Cemetery in Youngstown, Ohio.





Szurgocinski, Raymond E. was born in Pennsylvania on 14 February 1920, the son of Polish immigrant Makary Szurgocinski. He enlisted in the Army on 31 March 1943 at Newark, New Jersey. Raymond was assigned to “C” Battery.



                                  Pfc. Carl Cook with axe, Pfc. Raymond Szurgocinski, Capt. Robert B. Cantrell,
    1st Sgt. Brown Shelton with shovel and Rob (could be Robert Condren, Davis, Stenger, or Weinman) circa late 1944

Private First Class Raymond Szurgocinski was accidentally shot on 4 May 1945. He died on 7 May 1945 at the 66th Field Hospital in Salzburg, Austria. Raymond was 25 years old. He was survived by his wife and son.

His personal effects were inventoried and sent to the Army Service Forces Army Effects Bureau located at the Kansas City Quartermaster Depot in Kansas City, Missouri to be forwarded to his next-of-kin.

Raymond was buried in the temporary U.S. Military Cemetery at Reutti, Germany on 9 May 1945. At the end of the War, the remains of American military personnel were moved to a U.S. military cemetery that was not on German soil. He was reburied on 27 September 1945 in the U.S. Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France.

Pfc. Raymond E. Szurgocinski was permanently interred on 30 March 1949 in the Lorraine American Cemetery near St. Avold, France in Plot G Row 8 Grave 36.





Private First Class Raymond E. Szurgocinski
Lorraine American Cemetery  St. Avold, France







Bafkas, James G.
was born in Libohovë, Albania in 1918. He was the son of Constantinos Bafkas.  The family resided in Ioannina, Greece before immigrating to the United States.  At the age of 14, James departed from Patras, Greece on 20 January 1933 aboard the S.S. Vulcania and arrived at New York, NY on 02 February 1933.  He went to join his father in Chicago, IL.

He enlisted in the Army on 4 June 1942 at Chicago, IL. James was assigned to HQ Battery.
His MOS was Field Lineman (641).

Private Bafkas was promoted to private first class on 12 January 1945 near Schmittville, France.

James G. Bafkas died on 14 June 1945 at the 112th Evacuation Hospital in Obertraun, Austria of head injuries sustained in an accidental fall from a hay loft near Bergen, Germany. He was survived by his wife, Bessie.





Report of Burial in U.S. Military Cemetery at Reutti, Germany
by the 610th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company



James was buried in the temporary U.S. Military Cemetery at Reutti, Germany on 15 June 1945. Later that year, he was moved to the American Military Cemetery near St. Avold, France. And on 15 February 1949, he was permanently interred at the Lorraine American Cemetery near St. Avold, France in Plot C Row 9 Grave 93.





Private First Class James G. Bafkas
Lorraine American Cemetery  St. Avold, France






Mark D. Mudge      Dec. 2011
Revised                  Dec. 2014




  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

  

              

 

 

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