The following are excerpts from an extensive and thorough narrative written and compiled by George's sister, Esther Carmany, and
George Henry Wolpert 35614958, PFC, Company L, 12th Infantry Regiment, Fourth Division, was killed in combat in the Schnee Eifel Forest, near Schlausenberg, Germany, on September 19, 1944. He entered the service December, 1942, trained in Camp Beale, near Marysville, California, and in Camp Bowie, near Brownsville, Texas. He was assigned overseas duty with his company in April, 1944, and granted a three day furlough to visit his parents at home on the family farm at Route 5, State Route 38, in Marysville, Ohio, enroute to New York City and thence by troopship to England, France, Belgium, and Germany.
His company fought the war from foxholes from a beach landing off the English Channel in France on June 17, 1944, through France and Belgium, to a distance inside the German border near the Siegfried line where he was killed in action on 9-19-1944. They carried their K rations, razors, kits for eating, shovels, ammunition, in their packs, and their rifle. They used their helmets to hold water to shave and wash. There were no showers or facilities or tents. They had their army blankets to sleep, usually in a foxhole they had dug. They had no hot meals or change of clothes.
The basic method of transportation for the distance was walking. From one hedgerow to the next, then always on to another, the men fought, killed and watched their buddies be killed. They seldom advanced more than 500 yards in a day, because they were claiming ground from the enemy as they advanced, seeing their buddies gunned down, killed, and wounded. They had to acclimate themselves to the agony of the wounded and the
finality of death each day and then another day after that. The induction order they signed stated they would remain a part of the armed forces until “cessation of hostilities.”
On his last furlough home, I helped George pack his bag with clean laundry, all of which was khaki colored, and I joked, ‘even your underwear and handkerchiefs and socks are government issue.’ He said, ‘We really are G I’s (government issue). This color shows up less when you’re out on a field” I thought of that later in the summer when we got a letter saying, ‘I wish all I had to worry about was the fields being too dry for lack of rain.’ The army was short on everything that summer, but mainly short of gasoline to bring tanks and k rations, fresh water, and ammunition to the front lines.
By September they had crossed over the boundary into Germany and were also short on
men. They referred to those replacing the killed and wounded as “reinforcements” but the soldiers themelves knew they were replacements for their buddies.
The statement on a MISSING REPORT on Wolpert, George H. ASN 35614958
Co. L., 12th Inf. APO 4 filed by the Department of War dated 7 October 44 stated ‘at dawn 19 September, while holding a position at 060-888
(Prum Sheet) the company suffered a heavy counterattack which caused the
company to withdraw to its former position at 047-882. The squad to which the above enlisted man was assigned was the last to withdraw. He was not present at the assembly point.’
Signed Ward T. Darnell, Jr. 1st Lt., Inf.
George's death was announced to his parents in a telegram received October 11, 1944.
There was no more word from the War Department for eleven months. The official “finding of death” letter was sent by the War Department September 20, 1945.
On October 21, 1945, a memorial service was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Route 736, Marysville, Ohio. Pastor August Gerken preached the sermon,
based on Psalm 145: 18-19
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; He hears their cry and saves them”
On November 9, 1948, Carl and Clara Wolpert were asked to supply dental records because a deceased serviceman has been found ‘with certain identifying information which leads us to believe the remains are those of your son’ A dental chart was included which
showed several missing teeth. Clara Wolpert wrote, ‘In 1941 George had an accident while cutting trees a wedge hit him in the face and broke off two teeth in front.’ Dr. George Coe of Milford Center sent the requested dental records.
“On January 17, 1949, army records showed ‘that remains buried in a U. S. military cemetery in Fosse, Belgium, has been identified as those of George H. Wolpert.’ During July – August 1949 a demining team working near Schlausenbach found one skull and 12 smaller bones, and nearby was George Henry Wolpert’s ID tags, including a round medallion inscribed, ‘Loyalty to Christ and Country.’ And on the reverse: ‘In case of need notify Lutheran Chaplain.’
In June 1950 another request for tooth charts was received and sent, and the bones were taken to Neuville-in-Condroz, Belgium military cemetery, to an above ground repository, identified as X-8224. Condition of remains prepared for shipment: ‘lower extremities missing, except shafts of R/L Tibia and a small fragment of R/fibula. Trunk & upper extremities consist of fragments of R/pelvis, 3 dorsal vertebrae, R/Scapulae, 1 rib, shaft of
L/humerus and skull. Left ¾ of mandible missing. Remains in skeletal form, burned and mangled.’ A skeletal chart was prepared with parts of the which were received at cemetery blacked out. There were only 11 bones not blacked out on the drawing.
On July 30, 1951, a letter sent to Carl and Clara Wolpert changed ‘presumptive dead’ to “killed in action” because of the position of a bullet hole in the skull of X-8224. On
September 6, 1951, the parents completed the form ‘request for disposition of remains’ and listed Lee Funeral Home, Marysville, as the destination of the casket. Their wish was to bury their son in their own church cemetery on Kandel Road. On September 12, 1951, George’s body was disinterred from the cemetery in Neuville, Belgium, and on October 20 his parents received the notice that the remains were being sent, accompanied by military escort.
On October 23, 1951, Carl Wolpert replied, ‘Your telegram concerning the remains of the
late PFC George Henry Wolpert was received and delivery instructions are OK’
The black metal casket was sent by train from New York City, accompanied by Guy R.
Moscarello; burial service at 10 a.m. Saturday November 3, 1951, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery. Flag was presented to Clara Wolpert.
Carl Wolpert died on April 13, 1954.
Clara Wolpert died on June 19, 1978.
In April 1990 Clark K. Frazier telephoned and visited Bernard Wolpert a his home, searching for information regarding his brother Sgt. Billy Frazier, missing in action, September 19, 1944, near Schlausenbach, Germany (Siegfried Line, Schnee Eifel Forest, above Prum) The army MORNING REPORT on September 26, 1944, provided the link to Sgt. Billy Frazier and PFC George Henry Wolpert, listing them both as missing on September 19, 1944.
Casualty losses for September 16 through 19, 1944, totaled 75 soldiers in the 12th infantry regiment. Bernard Wolpert wrote to Mike DeWine requesting the complete set of
copies of the material concerning George Henry Wolpert from the National Personnel
Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The file was received from Mike DeWine October 2, 1990. Much of the material contained in this summary is from those papers – a file about 1 ½ inches thick.
The total number of papers received by Carl and Clara Wolpert from the
War Department during their lifetimes was twelve (12). Carl Wolpert saved every paper with George’s name on it, and kept them in a brown envelope on which he wrote: “Copy of George Henry’s memorial service. Please Do Not Destroy.’
2 Corinthians 5: 1 ‘Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.’”
Thanks so much for sharing this very personal story about your brother. I cannot imagine what your family went through, first knowing he was Killed In Action, then not knowing about his remains.