Sideville, Normandy 1944 and 2014

September 22, 2014

70 years ago in the summer of 1944 while serving in Cherbourg in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Felix A. Cizewski and four other GIs were photographed at Bois du Mont du Roc, Sideville, Normandy.

Sideville is about 5 miles (7.8 kilometers) southwest of Cherbourg.

70 years later researcher and our friend Claude Letellier photographed the exact spot where my father and his fellow GIs stood.

sideville[1]Summer, 1944, five GIs next to a Nazi guardhouse, Sideville, Normandy.

Felix A. Cizewski is standing in the back row, first on the left.

Original photo and all rights have been donated to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.

138[1]Summer 2014: Nazi guardhouse today.Photo © Claude Letellier

At Bois du Mont du Roc, Sideville the Nazis had built a pool and recreation facility. Perhaps after liberation the Americans used it.

Today the site is a park.


Links with sources and more information:

Sideville: Histoire et Patrimoine (In French)

Sideville in Felix A. Cizewski and WWII


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ae

The Robinson Family and the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812

September 18, 2014

Two hundred and one years ago on February 27, 1813 Pearly Gates died of wounds received in an War of 1812 battle. He was 46 years old.


Pearly Gates is a Robinson family ancestor.

He was born about 1767 and lived in Rushville, New York.

He is my wife’s Cheryl A.Robinson 4th great-grandfather and my son Eli’s 5th.


The most likely engagement in which Pearly Gates suffered his fatal wounds was the British victory in the February 22, 1813 Battle of Ogdensburg, New York. Ogdensburg is 193 miles (311 kilometers) northeast of Rushville.

Pearly Gates probably served in a militia unit.


ogdensburg[1]

Lt. Col. George MacDonnell directing the British assault on Ogdensburg, New York.

From the display at Fort Wellington, Canada where the assault on Ogdensburg was staged.

Fair use of image © Parks Canada.


The 250 defeated American regular and militia troops suffered 20 killed, 6 wounded, and 70 captured. Many of the captured were wounded.

In all wars prior to the discovery of antibiotics, death from complications of wounds were extremely high. Wounded soldiers were also at much higher risk of dying from disease.


CEM46812699_119533450309[1]

Baldwins Corner Cemetery, Rushville, Ontario County, New York where Pearly Gates is buried.

Fair use of photo by Paul G. Healy on Find a Grave


Orpha (Scott) Gates, wife of Pearly, lived until she was 97.

She was born on November 10, 1767 in Waterbury, Connecticut and died on July 19, 1864 in Rushville.

Ophra and Pearly had at least one child, a son Enoch from whom the Robinsons are descended.


Ogdensburg War 1812 Map[1]

Map of Ogdensburg during the War of 1812 from Benjamin Lossing’s Field Book of the War of 1812.

Public Domain image from: The North Country’s Forgotten War of 1812 General, February 15, 2012, The New York State History Blog.


Research:

This is a continuation of the family research that Delia (Hobart) Robinson,  Pearly’s 3rd great-granddaughter. and the mother of  my late father-in-law Ralph E. Robinson.

Marjorie Robinson, my mother-in-law, shared a copy of the reply Delia had received in 1972 from the Town of Gorham (Ontario County, New York) Historian.

That letter contained references to family oral history regarding Pearly Gates.

I did not find Pearly Gates in any of the online digitized War of 1812 documents nor did I find record of a widow’s pension for Orpha.

I plan to do further research.


Link with sources and more information:

Casualty figures are from the Wikipedia article: The Battle of Ogdensburg which cites:

The documentary history of the campaign on the Niagara frontier by E. A. Cruikshank.

Fort Wellington, Canada where the assault on Ogdensburg was staged.

An Account of the Battle of Ogdensburg N.Y., February 22nd, 1813 British Lt. Col. George MacDonnell’s report edited by Robert Henderson


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-zZ

Revised: September 19, 2014

The Continuing Journey of Company C: Paris and Cherbourg

September 16, 2014

Seventy years ago on September 15, 1944, Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion changed its duty station from Cherbourg to Paris. Companies A and B were already in Paris.

Company C sent 4 officers and 32 enlisted men to Paris.

The rest of Company C remained in Cherbourg detached to other Signal Corps units.

Two officers and 64 enlisted men were detached to the recently arrived Company A, 810th Signal Service Battalion.

Company A, 810th Signal Service Battalion operated the telephone and teleprinter sections and the repeater station of the Cherbourg Switching Center.

Company A and the detached men from Company C also constructed a building to house communications equipment along with recreation hall. That work was done during heavy rains.


Questions For Further Research:

What are the other units to which members of Company C attached?

When did the detached units rejoin the rest of the battalion in Paris?

Where and with which unit was Felix A. Cizewski, my late father? In Paris or with one of the detached units in Cherbourg?


Morning Report for Company C for September 15, 1944:

View this document on Scribd

Acknowledgement:

Thanks to retired U.S. Army Colonel Hugh Foster for assisting by for working with me on the September 15, 1944 Morning Report for Company C.


For more information:

Source for the information about the 810th Signal Service Battalion: Ytterdal, Kelda, Hold Firm: World War II – 810th Signal Service Corp  Kindle Edition.

Northern France Campaign: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-z8

Companies A & B, 3110th Signal Service Battalion Deploy to Valognes

August 25, 2014

When Company A with Felix A. Cizewski deployed to Normandy Companies A & B remain in southern England providing communications support for the liberation of Normandy.

Seventy years ago on August 24, 1944, Companies A & B crossed the La Manche (the English Channel) to Utah Beach in LCI(L)-417 (Landing Craft Infantry [Large}).

Six days earlier Company C had left Tamerville for redeployment to Cherbourg.

Another Tamerville Liberator
ray
Charles Raymond (Ray) Davidson
1907 – 2004

Company A, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces

Company A had about 200 men and officers responsible for operation, repair, and maintenance of telephone equipment.

Company B was responsible for the operation, repair, and maintenance of teletype and cryptographic equipment (cipher machines).

In a letter home, Ray Davidson described being bivouacked in an apple orchard.

He states that rather than work in the Valognes communications facilities, they were temporarily bivouacked until their deployment to Paris on September 5.

He observed that “some of the …towns and countryside around here…might have seen some action at one time or other”

The Army Service Forces headquarters and faculties were moving from Normandy to recently liberated Paris.


For more information:

Northern France Campaign: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


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Revised August 25, 2014

Penknife from the "Café de l’hôtel de Ville de Cherbourg"

August 21, 2014

Seventy years ago between August 18 and September 15, 1944, Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, obtained a penknife (canif) from the Cherbourg Café de l’Hôtel de Ville (city hall). He was serving in Cherbourg in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

I found it after my father died in 2004.

I took it with on our trip to France.

After the Tamerville ceremony, I gave to the penknife to researcher Claude Letellier.


From left to right:

Not in photo to the left: Remy Agnes’s granddaughter who translated as I gave Claude the knife. Remy is a researcher and witness of WWII in Tamerville;

With his back to the camera: Mickaël Simon, researcher and author;

Leonard;

Unidentified Tamerville area resident;

Behind unidentified resident: Julie Waldner, granddaughter Sgt Francis Hugo Schultz. Sgt. Schultz’s C-47 was shot down on D-Day near Tamerville and he was captured;

Remy Agnes;

Claude Lettelier;

With her back to the camera, Joanne Schultz, Sgt. Schultz’s daughter and Julie Waldner’s aunt.



Until we got our rental car, Claude was our chauffeur and guide.

Among the places he took us was to the Signal Corps bivouac site.

With his metal detector Claude found artifacts that helped confirm that he and the other researchers had identified the bivouac site of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, my father’s unit, and other Signal Corps units.

Claude gave me one of the many 18th century French coins he had found with his metal detector.

He showed us a concrete structure built by the Nazis to hide their rockets. It is now being used as a farm machinery shed.

He pointed areas of Valognes that had been destroyed and rebuilt.

He drove us to the Cherbourg train station to pick up our rental car.

He shared that scenes from the 1964 movie Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) were filmed at that station.Just prior to our trip and as part of our study of French, Cheryl and I had watched it.

Claude assisted the rental car company staff to set the GPS navigation to English and to enter the location of our bed and breakfast in Valognes.

Claude became the friend who would best appreciate my dad’s Cherbourg Café de l’Hôtel de Ville penknife.


Seventy years late in June, 2014: Leonard at the Cherbourg l’Hôtel de Ville where his father Felix obtained penknife in August or September, 1944.

Photos by Cheryl A. Robinson


August 20, 1944: General Charles de Gaulle speaking from the balcony of  l’Hôtel de Ville.

My father and Company C had arrived two days earlier on August 18.

Public domain photo from U.S. National Archives.


For more information:
Cherbourg 1944: port de la victoire published by La Presse de la Manche.

Northern France Campaign: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg providing communications and logistical support for the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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Revised: August 22, 2014

Company C deploys to Cherbourg

August 18, 2014

Seventy years ago on August 18, 1944,Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, and Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, were redeployed from Tamerville to Cherbourg.

American combat troops entered Cherbourg on about June 24 cleared most of the city by the 26th, and secured the surrender of the last resistance on the 27th.

Prior to their surrender the Nazis destroyed much of Cherbourg’s port. Reconstruction began immediately as Army and Navy construction units entered Cherbourg as soon as it was secured.

By July 8, the Americans began to bring in supplies through the port of Cherbourg.


cherbourg7

Felix (left) in Cherbourg with three other GIs and three friends.

Felix appears to be cold. His collar is turned up as tight as it can be around his neck. The French women have long coats.

Sources state that the weather during the Normandy and Northern France Campaigns was frequently overcast, drizzly, and cool. Storms often blow in from the North Atlantic such as from the one from June 19 to 22, the worst gale in 40 years.

Note the poles and lines in the background to the right. When possible the U.S. Signal Corps used existing French civilian and German military communication lines. Often they need to upgraded or replace them with U.S. equipment.

If those poles and lines are new, they may have been installed by Company C as it was the battalion’s “wire and pole” unit.

Photo © Leonard H. Cizewski

Felix and four other GIs next to a camouflaged concrete Nazi structure in Cherbourg.

Felix is standing in the back row first man on the left.

The GIs in the above photos and several other of Felix’s Cherbourg photos may be members of Company C and Tamerville liberators.

Photo © Leonard H. Cizewski


June, 2014: Leonard H. Cizewski on a street in Cherbourg that his father may have walked 70 years earlier.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

For more information:
Cherbourg 1944: port de la victoire published by La Presse de la Manche.

Seebees (U.S. Navy construction units) at Cherbourg: Scroll down to paragraph 21 in the SEABEES IN THE ATLANTIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS section of History: Formation of the Seabees and World War II.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes

Northern France: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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Visit to the 3110th Bivouac Site

August 17, 2014

On May 30, 2014, Cheryl and I visited the bivouac site of 3110th Signal Service Battalion and other Signal Corp units north of Tamerville, France.

Seventy years earlier from July 26 to August 18, 1944, Felix A. Cizewski, my later father, bivouacked there as a member of the battalion’s Company C.

Our guide was Claude Letellier, Claude  searches sites with a metal detector. In this field he found artifacts that confirmed it as a both a bivouac site and staging area for communications work.



Leonard and Cheryl at the former Signal Corps bivouac site.

Photo by Claude Letellier

Claude Letellier (left) and Leonard at the bivouac site, now a cow pasture. Signal Corps units also bivouacked in the field behind the trees in the background.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson


Bivouac site on Felix and WWII on Google Map

Aerial photo Tamerville. The bivouac site is to top right.

Photo © Georges Dennebouy taken May 26, 2013.


For more information:

Northern France: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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70th Anniversary of the landing of the 45th Signal Company in France

August 11, 2014

On August 15, 1944, about 151,000 Allied troops began landings in Southern France.

Among them was the 45th Signal Company, 45th Infantry Division which landed near Ste. Maxime.

August 15, 1944: Members of the 45th Infantry Division in a Landing Craft Vehicle (LCV) approaching the beach near Ste. Maxime.

Absence of weapons suggest this may be a support unit such as the 45th Signal Company.

Public Domain photo.


Felix A. Cizewski and the 45th Signal Company

When the 45th landed in Southern France, Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, was in Tamerville, Normandy in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces.

Over the next four months, Felix served in Cherbourg and Paris. In December, 1944, he suffered frostbite.

The 45th advanced to Alsace in eastern France on the German border.

In January, 1945 after recovering from frostbite, Felix was transferred to the 45th Signal Company.


For more information:

English:

Southern France by the Army Center of Military History

Felix A. Cizewski & WWII

Français

Le débarquement et la bataille de Provence


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L’ARMEE FRANÇAISE COMBAT EN FRANCE!

August 6, 2014

Among the items my late father Felix A. Cizewski brought home from his WWII service was this leaflet about the 2nd French Armored Division (2e division blindée/2nd DB).

Link to complete four page leaflet


This leaflet (number 44F.19) was created by one of the U.S. psychological operations (PSYOP) organizations to support the morale of French civilians. The message was: “French troops are coming to liberate you!”.

Copies were delivered by air drops or artillery shells.

My father never said where he got this leaflet and why he kept it.

The original has been donated to Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.


3110th Signal Service Battalion and the 2nd French Armored Division

When the French 2nd Armored Division landed on Utah Beach on August 1, 1944, Felix was with Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest in Tamerville.

Company C had landed at the same spot on Utah Beach six days earlier.

The 2nd French Armored Division was among the units for which 3110th Signal Service Battalion provided service and support.


THE FRENCH ARMY FIGHTING IN FRANCE!: Unofficial English translation


For more information:

French:

2e division blindée/2nd DB

English:

2nd French Armored Division

Felix A. Cizewski & WWII


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150th anniversary of the 20th Michigan in the Battle of the Crater

July 29, 2014

By June 12, 1864 the Confederates stopped the Union forces outside of Petersburg, Virginia. The Union ceased assaulting Petersburg and switched to a siege.

In an attempt to break into Petersburg, IXth Corps Union troops with coal mining experience dug a tunnel  to place a mine under Confederate fortifications just east of Petersburg.

One hundred fifty years ago on July 30, 1864 the mine was exploded and Union troops assaulted Confederate positions. Among them was our Civil War ancestor Anson Croman in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment.


20th Michigan’s position (ORANGE CIRCLE) and direction of the attack to the west of the crater from the mine explosion.

Fair use of image from The Battle Atlas of the Civil War © Time-Life Books

Contemporary drawing of the Union assault on The Crater. The 20th Michigan is to the left out of this picture.

Image in the public domain.


The Confederates held and quickly closed the gap created by the explosion and assault.

The 20th Michigan lost 5 killed, 26 wounded, 16 captured, and 2 missing.


The opening scenes of the novel and movie Cold Mountain depict the Battle of the Crater


Racial War

During the Battle of the Crater when African-American Union troops attempted to surrender, the Confederates summarily executed some on the field.

The Confederates considered African-American Union troops to be racially inferior escaped slaves engaged in a slave insurrection and therefore not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war.

Those who were not executed would be sold into slavery.

The Confederates also threatened to try and execute any captured European-American officers who commanded African-American troops. The Confederates claimed those officers were inciting slave rebellion. The Confederates decided not to proceed with trials when the Union threaten retaliation against Southern POW officers.


For more information:

From the National Park Service:

The Crater

From Anson Croman and the Civil War:

1864


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.

Anson Croman served in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment


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