Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

13 Apr 1945




Lake Cityan Lauds Spirit of Wounded

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

Air Power Press Camp in Germany (IDPA) -- With two other men I was cruising a half block from the cathedral in Cologne.

The ominous whistle of a nazi shell impelled the driver to brake our machine to an immediate stop. Before we could leap out, intending to seek safety behind a battered brick wall, we were rocked by a terrific explosion. The projectile struck a corner of the beautiful Catholic edifice, hurling debris over a wide area. Smoke and dust blended in an ugly cloud.

The jerries bombarded the sector at intervals all afternoon, as they had ever since they were driven across the Rhine by the powerful Third armored and 104th infantry divisions. Their continued shooting at the cathedral more than any other structure in Cologne may be explained by the fact that Catholic reverence and Protestant and Jewish sight-seeing instincts among American officers and enlisted men moved hundreds to visit it.

Only the army of a people, most of whom think Adolph Hitler is greater than Christ, could be guilty of such desecration.

Major Jay Vessels, Minneapolis, Minn., our press camp chief, told me that the Schrimers and Wilhites of Emmettsburg, are relatives of Mrs. Vessels.

While I was talking with crew members of an M-4 tank stationed at a strategic corner, one informed me that Lieutenant Colonel Mathew W. Kane, Des Moines, was their commanding officer.

"And there he comes now," the GI said.

The tall, young, clean cut regular had made a brilliant record over here. He was on duty at Fort Des Moines three years.

Any of you lads from Iowa?" I inquired of a group of doughboys.

"No, but I can show you a swell guy who is," replied a New Yorker.

We went to the shelter of a mortar outfit. A tall, soldier gave me a hearty handclasp. He was Cpl. Floyd Russell, Sac City. He informed me that Pfc. Alvin Harmon, Cedar Rapids, was among his friends. Russell and Harmon came overseas in December of 1943. The fought across France and Belgium and into Germany up to Cologne.

Captain F.W. Hobart, Lake City, a regimental surgeon, was on duty near the tank crew. He has been continually in battle zones since last June.

"The spirit of our wounded men is superb." he said. "The folks at home would be saddened but inspired if they could see what I see."

Pfc. John W. Caswell, Chippewa, Wis., who drove me in a jeep recently, is a son-in-law of the Higbys who operate the Centerville Tent and Awning company. He left the University of Wisconsin to join the army. Caswell often has driven correspondents under enemy fire. Hurt aboard a ship bound for Africa, he returned to the United States, recovered and came back to land in France June 16, 1944.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, April 13, 1945

Return to News Index