Heroes: the Army
"...I was laying there quaking with fear because I knew my time had come and I started to pray to god to make it quick so I wouldn't feel it. Unaware of how long it had been I later heard men saying among themselves 'No, here's one he's still alive.'..."
Grover W. Hames
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. F., 2nd Btn, HQ Co., 347th Regiment,
87th Infantry Division
- Dates: 19?? - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 19??
- Entered Service: ??
Journal Entry From:
Pvt. Grover Walter Hames
Co. F., Second Battalion
347th Infantry Regiment, 87th Infantry Division
Rhineland and the Saar Valley
From: France to Germany
World War II
We left England and landed in LaHara, France. We Hiked about ? a night across the mountains in the pouring down rain. We stayed in our pup tents in an apple orchard for several days. We rode across France 2 days and nights in box cars and ended up in Metz, France where we went into combat. The box cars only had room for us to stand in. The 8 box cars standing room 40 men and 8 horses.
In Metz, there were a cavalry outfit and we stayed 3-4 days before they took us to the front lines. We were told we were the first troops to enter German soil in (the invasion of Rhineland) at Saar Valley. A few days later we ran into the German troops, several were killed. At one time the shells were so strong it would lift me up off the ground and I thought they had hit me, this was around Dec 8 &endash; 12th 1944.
On the 14th we started getting hit hard and we dug into the fox holes. We had orders to put up a smoke screen and heavy artillery. When the smoke cleared there were German tanks facing us on Dec 15th. For several days before this there were mortal shells falling upon us and a piece of shrapnel hit me in the leg. The following were friends of mine who were killed:
Herb Weinberger, Milwaukee, WI
Daniel Gallagher, Baltimore, MD
John Kelly, Chicago, IL
Winfred Paul, New York
Harold Evans, New York
Eugene Pillneck, New York
Starterboom and Parker, St Loran from New York (a Frechman)
There were several I knew personally that got killed and were just laying there wide open. There was a tank firing right at me and I took my bazooka and fired at the tank. My sergeant took the bazooka out of my hands because my hands were frozen to it and fired all four rounds yet the tank continued to advance. The tank then started firing at us with machine guns.
I was laying there quaking with fear because I knew my time had come and I started to pray to god to make it quick so I wouldn't feel it. Unaware of how long it had been I later heard men saying among themselves "No, here's one he's still alive." There were flesh and human parts like hamburger meat laying around me and I knew it was my time to die.
After this time we still advanced on and we took out some German prisoners. There was only one guy who came out running and gave up. Our tanks started firing on them and they retreated into the woods and the Germans went to their foxholes. Some surrendered and we took prisoner. We had advanced the same day on Dec 15th and because we fired on them they pulled back. We cleared the woods out and dug in at the edge of the woods. There was a deserted village near but they continued to fire on us. We didn't know where they were firing from but it continued from day to night.
We were there for 2-3 days and my feet became frozen and swelled up so big I couldn't lift them. They carried us to an aide station which was a barn with a cow inside. On the way to the aide station a soldier above me was bleeding so badly it covered me in blood. They then loaded us in trucks and ambulances and took us to another aide station in Paris, France. On Christmas eve they took us down the English Channel on a Red Cross Victory Ship to a hospital in Wales, England where I remained. I stayed there for 3-4 week on a bed with sheets which was a luxury.
Around the first of March they took us to Glasgow, Scotland and loaded us onto the Queen Mary and we came back to Staten Island, NY where I stayed at the Halloran Hospital. After there I left to go to Camp Butner, NC to stay in a convalescent hospital. At the hospital I ran across a GI from the same platoon that I was in. The first thing he told me was "you got killed in the fox hole." I learned from this that I got pulled from the fox hole 15 minutes before a shell hit and the GI claimed I was dead. The guy he believed to be me was Charles Shaw from Galveston, TX. When I left the foxhole I told Charles I would bring back rations and dry socks. Charles was reported MIA.
Pvt. Grover Walter Hames
Reverend Grover Walter Hames of Reid Street, Forest City, North Carolina passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday October 24th, 2010 at Hospice House of Forest City. He was a native of Spartanburg County, South Carolina and the son of the late Grover C. and Lois Allen Hames; a retired textile employee and ordained minister. He was a member of Full Gospel Revival Church in Rutherfordton, NC. His Brother, Larston "Bud" Hames and sister, Juanita Rogers preceded him in death.
Survivors include his wife, Syble Reid Hames of the home, three daughters: Rachel Keeter, and her husband Rudy. Sandra Smith and her husband Gary, and Wanda Dugan and her husband John. Three sisters: Elizabeth Hawkins, Katherine Morris, and Virginia Robbins. 9 grandchildren, 23, great-grandchildren and 9 great-great-grandchildren.
"Walt was my father-in-law for 50 years and never failed serving the lord and his family." - Rudy Keeter
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
87th Infantry Division Association
87th Infantry Division (Unit History)
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
The above story, "Journal Entry From: Pvt. Grover Walter Hames" was contributed by his son-in-law, Mr. Rudy Keeter.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of Mr. Keeter. Our sincerest THANKS to both Mr. Hames and Mr. Keeter for allowing us to use this excellent narriative of Mr. Hames' experience during WWII.
Original Story submitted on 17 November 2010.
Story added to website on 30 November 2010.
September 5, 2002.
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