Heroes: the Army
"...By searching the ground on our hands a knees with a map flashlight, we found Godwin treading water in the largest septic tank I have ever seen. We pulled him out and told him to get lost..."
Alfred H. Richley
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. H., 406th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Buffalo, NY
To the Roer with H-Co., 406
Alfred H. "Al" Richley, Co. H
Approximately Nov. 16 or 17, 1944. Our advance was into nasty Immendorf In the early A.M. It was a house to house single file movement. I followed Ed Walker [Edwin M. Jr., Cpl.], who turned a corner. Three seconds later I dashed around the corner only to be grabbed by my ankle and flipped into a ditch half full of cold water, landing next to Walker. I was a little teed off until Walker pointed up at a German tank with the motor running and the turret moving left and right. I asked Walker "Just what do we do now?" and he said "Beats the hell out of me."
We laid in the ditch like a couple of turtles. Lucky for us the tank backed up and we never saw it again.
On the '89 Ozark trip to Holland I checked out this ditch and found it filled in and paved over.
Al Richley, Corfu, NY
Nov 22 or 23.
Everyone has a story about Geronsweiler, which was nastier than Immendorf. The Germans were not happy with us there. Just before darkness our squad started to dig a mortar pit as fast as possible. Bob Godwin [Robert L., Jr., S/Sgt., BSM] kept complaining that he had to use a latrine, but never stopped his digging.
Walker told Godwin "Go, but not in this hole." Godwin left and soon we heard a scream, a splash and a cry for help &emdash; "I'm drowning!" By searching the ground on our hands a knees with a map flashlight, we found Godwin treading water in the largest septic tank I have ever seen. We pulled him out and told him to get lost; if the Germans didn't do us in the smell would. Godwin refers to this as his 'unfortunate incident in Germany.
I checked this area out on the "89 Holland trip. The septic tank has been filled in and is no longer used.
Al Richley, Confu, NY
----- Al Richley
(Editor's note: Attempts were made throughout the text of the following story to place full names to the men listed in the story. For the most part, this is an educated guess and some names may very well be mistaken in their identy. The names were all taken from the division history book: With The 102d Infantry Division Through Germany, edited by Major Allen H. Mick. Using the text as a guide, associations with specific units were the basis for the name identifications. We are not attempting in any to rewrite the story. Any corrections are gladly welcomed.)
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
United States Army, 102nd Infantry Division
102 Infantry Division
History of the 102nd Infantry Division
Attack on Linnich, Flossdorf, Rurdorf - 29 Nov -- 4 Dec 1944
Gardelegen War Crime
Gardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
The above story, "To the Roer with H-Co. 406", by Al Richley, 406th, Co. H., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 46, No. 1, Oct/Dec. 1993, pp. 11
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of the 102d Infantry Division Association, Ms. Hope Emerich, Historian. Our sincerest THANKS for the 102d Infantry Division Association allowing us to share some of their stories.
We would also like to extend our sincere THANKS to Mr. Edward L. Souder, former historian of Co. F., 405th Regiment. His collection of stories of the "Kitchen Histories Project" series entitled, Those Damn Doggies in F, were responsible for bringing the stories of the men of the 102nd Division to the forefront.
Original Story submitted on 28 October 2003.
Story added to website on 24 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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