Stories Related to

Edgar Roesch

Son of

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 City.

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 and burned.

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 gun again.

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 week.

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 it.

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 their teeth.

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.

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