75 Years Ago

Thursday, June 21, 1945


Private Huffman Summerfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Summerfield, of Cass, took his family completely by surprise when he arrived home last Friday on a 73-day furlough. He had been reported missing as of December 19, 1944. He was a German prisoner of war, captured in Luxemburg, and liberated by the Russians on April 28th. He was with General Patton’s Third Army. He fought in four battles.

In the list furnished by the American Legion, Private Summerfield was given as dead, as was also Walter Haptonstall, of Cass. Both of these soldiers were prisoners of war, and came home together.

– – –

George William Duncan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Austin Duncan, of Buckeye, belongs to the Navy. His ship is the destroyer Hunt. When the great airplane carrier Franklin was so terribly blown up in Japanese waters, the Hunt was one of the ships to render aid, in saving men. The badly crippled carrier did make it back to base to be repaired to fight again. Here is a word of appreciation from 422 survivors of the Franklin to the men of the Hunt…

We wish to express our deep appreciation and admiration of your gallant ship and her crew who rescued us from the sea on 19 March 1945.

The speed, efficiency and precise judgment of your boat crews, the men on deck and your bridge was an outstanding example of splendid seamanship and clear thinking that will never be forgotten…

Our stay aboard your ship has been most pleasant, and we are also deeply indebted to you for the unselfish manner in which you gave up your bunks and shared your clothing and other necessities. We are proud to have been aboard and to have known you.

Smooth sailing always.

422 very grateful survivors of the U. S. S. Franklin

– – –

While celebrating V-E Day on the banks of the Enns River in Central Austria, PFC Harold H. Friel, son of Morris B. Friel, of Marlinton, was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge for his active participation in the Battle of Germany with the 65th Division of General Patton’s 3rd Army, as a member of Company M 259th Infantry. P.F.C. Harold H. Friel entered the combat zone in Northeastern France on March 1, 1945 and took an active part as a mortar man in the 3rd army drives that continued unbroken until the final Nazi capitulation

Initial heavy action met by the unit was along the Saar River just inside Germany, where, after two weeks of feeling out the steel and concrete defenses of the Siegfried Line, a penetration was made at Saar Basin. This was followed by a day and night rapid pursuit of the enemy, which culminated in the crossing of the Rhine at Mainz on March 29.

Capitalizing on the enemy disorganization, the unit took part in the swift relentless pursuit, which carried it hundreds of miles across Germany, striking first in one direction then another until the Nazi radio referred to it as the “Phantom Division” or General Patton’s S. S. troops.

Berlin seemed to be the first goal as the Regiment passed Frankfurt, crossed the Fulda River at Rotenburg and struck into the heart of the Reich, until at Langensalza on April 5, it had achieved the deepest penetration of Germany and was the nearest American unit to Berlin.

P.F.C. Harold H. Friel then participated in repelling a German counter attack, which was launched in a fruitless effort by the Nazis to recover the gold supply overrun by General Patton’s Force. This blow had originated from one of the heavy German forests so the Company was then sent to the vast mountainous Thuringen world with the mission of searching out German units.

German resistance to the south near Nuremberg was, at that time, the stiffest encountered by any American Troops, accordingly. P.F.C. Friel and his buddies made another rapid move of nearly 200 miles to Neumarket. Here they encountered fanatic, drunken S. S. (Hitlerite Guard) troops and participated in a fierce two-day battle which cost many casualties and left the city in River crossing of the Danube and capture of Regensburg were the next actions participated in. This was followed a few days later by another crossing under fire in small boats across the swift Enns river and into Austria as a fitting climax to two months of Blitzkrieging G. I. Style.

P.F.C. Harold Friel was a member of the small motorized group that raced to seize the major city of Lenz. From there he proceeded to the banks of the Enns river to meet the Russians and received the news of the unconditional surrender of the Nazis…

Robert D. Upp
Co. “M” 259th INF.
Capt. Inf. Commanding

– – –

With the Fifth Army, Italy – Private First Class Charles D. Cassell, of Cass, was a member of a 21-man motorized patrol that was among the first elements of the Fifth Army to cross the Italy-Austrian border and climax the Allied offensive which resulted in unconditional surrender of all German forces in Italy.

The patrol made up of members of Company H of the 339th “Polar Bear” Regiment, 85th “Custer” Division, crossed the frontier at 4 a.m. May 4, near Dobbiaco, Italy, 45 miles northeast of Bolzano.

Having established a road block at that point to prevent exodus of German troops still in Italy, the doughboys rounded up the trapped Jerries and began to implement Von Vietinghoff’s surrender terms.

Cassell, an ammunition bearer, is the son of Mr. Robert Cassell, of Cass.

more recommended stories