Stories Related to
Henry and Mary Roesch (Grandpa and Grandma Roesch)
by Owen Picton
Edgar started work at First National Bank & Trust Co.
in Falls City in 1938, and continued with the bank
except for the three years while he was in the service
during World War II. Edgar entered the U.S. Army on
January 26, 1942 at Fort Leavernworth, KS, and as an
Army Air Corps clerk-typist was a veteran of the Air
Offensive in Europe, serving in Algeria, French
Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples, Foggia and Rome
campaigns. He was discharged as a Sergeant on August
31, 1945, and received the Good Conduct Medal. He
last served as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of
Directors of of First National Bank & Trust Co., Falls
Martha (Roesch) Picton relates: Edgar was called in
the first draft. He was put in the Medical division.
He was in the African Theater of war, then he went to
Sicily and on to Italy. He was confined to a hospital
in Africa, at the time of my fathers death, May 28,
1943. While Edgar was in Italy he was seriously ill,
for ten days his temperature was 103-104-105.
From Cathy: I notice that you did not have Dad's
birthdate in the most recent information. His birthday is
January 10, 1917. There was some controversy after
the fact, because the doctor waited over a year to
make out the birth certificate and then put 1918.
Grandmother Roesch had to straighten him out.
This is Owen Picton, I once heard a story that Uncle Edgar first was sent to England and then was put on a British ship. The British convey then sailed near Florida and picked up an American convey of ships. The two conveys of ships then sailed to Africa for the Invasion of Africa.
World War II Experiences of Edgar Roesch as Owen Picton remembers being told
on June 1995. Owen was visiting with Uncle Edgar Roesch near the time when the 50th anniversary of D-Day was approaching. So TV was showing a lot about World War II. This caused Edgar to relate some of the following experiences:
Seeing D-Day on TV brought to my mind my experiences
in Africa. I was in on the invasion of Africa.
Approaching the shores of Africa, we had to go from
our ship into a boat. One of the men fell between the
ship and the boat and I thought that he would not
survive. Seven or 8 of us pushed the boat and ship
apart so that the man was rescued. Then we all had to
jump off the boat into the water and wade ashore for
the invasion. I had to keep my gun dry as I waded
ashore by holding it over my head. Once ashore it was
a confused mess.
After I was in Africa a while, I was walking along the
shore and stepped on a sting ray. My foot became
infected and I was sent to a British hospital. They
keep sending me from British hospital to British
hospital and my foot was not getting any better.
Finally I asked how I could be dismissed. They said
that whenever I could put my boot on they would
dismiss me. That night I cut my boot to ribbons until
I was able to have the boot on the next morning when
they made there rounds. So they dismissed me. I was
a long ways from my unit and the only way to get there
was to hitch hike. I caught a ride to a town on a
river near my unit and then had to ask directions on
where they had put my unit.
General Patton was in Africa and he seemed to not be
very successful. We seemed to always be retreating
because of him. People I talked to in other parts of
the war did not seem to have this problem. One time
Patton lost this battle so we had to retreat. They
told us not to take anything but just leave quickly.
All our cloths and belongings were put in a big pile
In Africa, I always had to carry this heavy gun and I
never used it. We were going to this one battle and
another soldier who had only a pistol said I wish I
had your gun. We swapped weapons right there and he
agreed to have our records changed so that I would
always have the pistol. I never carried this heavy
In Italy I was on the east side of Italy. There I
caught typhoid. They sent me to another British
hospital. I arrived in the morning and had to wait in
a long slow line. I fell asleep and did not wake up
until that afternoon and no one was there. The
hospital refused to see me and said for me to come
back the next day. So I returned to my unit. I told
my unit that I refused to go to another British
hospital. So they put me in a plane and tried to fly
me over the mountains to an American hospital but the
weather was too bad and the plane had to return.
Finally after a period of time I made it to an
American hospital. What save me was that my mother
told me to drink lots of water when I am sick. After
I was partly recovered the doctor was about to dismiss
me but then he found that I would be sleeping in a
tent. So he sent me out to the Isle of Capri for a
I arrived in Rome soon after the Germans had left. My
unit was placed near a dairy that served Rome.
Arriving at the dairy I could not believe that this
was a dairy serving Rome. There were some buildings
and parts of a few old trucks setting there but how
could this be a dairy? After a few days cows started
to appear. What they had done was to take all the
milk cows and let them lose in many different fields
outside of Rome. In a few days most of the milk cows
had returned. Then I noticed holes being dug around
the yard. In one hole there would be a battery, in
another a wheel, other holes contained other truck
parts until they had all their charcoal burning trucks
running and delivering milk to Rome. Then I noticed a
hole being knocked into the side of a concrete
building. This was where they had stored their grain
and cemented it closed so the Germans could not find
After I was in Rome for a while one of my friends left
and gave me his business. He had this foot operated
dental drill that he cleaned soldiers teeth with. I
did this half days and soldiers would pay me to clean
After some more time the unit I was now with was being
sent to France. Nobody else had been here very long.
When they found out how long I had been overseas they
agreed to send me back to the United States. I was
put on this ship and we sailed out into the
Mediterranean. Then the ship lost all electricity.
The other ships left us and we floated in the
Mediterranean for a week until it was fixed. Then we
sailed to the United States.
This site designed and maintained by Owen Picton.