Heroes: the Army
"...We found a white Phosforus shell that was a dud-and so fired into it and it exploded - we then walked up to the hole and it exploded again. Guess the 2nd detonator was still active. It burned Galloway and Kincheloe badly..."
Thomas R. "Tom" Brown
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. F., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1943-1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: Sgt.
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Blountstown, FL
Tom Brown Letter - dated 22 September 1945:
Doggone Nice to hear from you - Wife Irene got your letter last Thursday and forwarded it to me here. I will try to update you after you left us in Nov. 1944.
2 days after you left we went into another attack - G company took a position and couldnt hold it so Batt. Took us out of reserve and just before dark we took the pill box that stopped G Co. There were 22 soldiers in that one.
Next day we did another attack and could have gone all the way to the Roer River but Old Col. Bryant was asleep as usual and held us up so we dug in short of the river. We then went to Palenberg for R&R and showers and clean clothes.
I got a pass to Paris and had 30 hours with my Brother - wonderful time off the lines.
While we were in Palenberg we got a bunch of replacements and this brought the company back to full strength. We had lost a good 30% up til now.
But we don't seem like the old company so many of you originals are gone. We were in Palenberg 2 weeks and then went to Ubach - and started to plan to cross the Roer River.
Then Gerrys broke thru the Ardennes and we went into the fox holes to hold the entire 9th army front - about 8 miles in total length. We wnt into the lines at Wurm and Beeck and strossdorf. On Jan 1st we had what we called the "bloodless Coup" An encirculing movement we made and were so close to the germans that there was still fire in the stoves in the pill boxes. Nice being in a warm pill box at night. Had plenty of snow and cold rain too.
We now made more plans to cross the Roer and went back to Geilenkirchen and into the same houses we were in back in early November 1944.
The first week of February we moved to Braesweiler and 2 days the Germans again flooded the river so the crossing was killed.
Now we went to Braesweiler and as we had gotten new rifles I and Kincheloe and Richards and Galloway went out to a close in Gravel pit to re zero in our new rifles. We found a white Phosforus shell that was a dud-and so fired into it and it exploded - we then walked up to the hole and it exploded again. Guess the 2nd detonator was still active. It burned Galloway and Kincheloe badly and I got a few burns on my face and right hand - but was able to put the fire out with water from the ditch. Richards wasnt burned at all.
A truck took us to the aid station and there they treated Red and Kincheloe first and sent them back to the hospital.
They wanted to do the same with me but I wasnt badly burned so I got Capt. Evanson to talk to them - but it did no good - back I went to the hospital.
2 days later the outfit crossed the Roer and in the crossing Richards was killed. A direct HIT!!
I was sent to the hospital in Cherbourgh and there also had an operation on my right ankle. And then back to England to a hospital near Birmingham. It was the 232nd Plant. From there we went to Southhampton and shipped out for the USA on May 23rd 1945.
Now Im in The convelescent unit at Welch in Daytona Beach, Fla - and will get my CDD in 4 days and go back to Gaineville, Fla== a civilian - The outfit is still in Germany on the Elbe River but will be coming home shortly.
Sgt. Tom Brown
Co. E- 6th Battln. Welch Conv. Hosp. Daytona Beach, Fla.
Sgt Brown finally went to work in the County offices in Tallahassee Fla. And lived there until 1954 when he had a massive heart attack and died the next day.
----- Tom Brown
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
Information and photographs were generously provided to World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words by Mr. Edward L. Souder of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The subjects of these essays are all members of Co. F., 405th Regiment.Our sincerest THANKS for allowing us to share their stories!
Original Story submitted on 19 September 2002.
Story added to website on 25 September 2002.
September 5, 2002.
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