Pocahontas County

Pfc. George Clifford Barger


First Local Boy Reported by War Department as Foreign Casualty

Reports that a number of Americans were captured in battle in the Africa area has been brought home forcibly to Laurens when a telegram to Geo. Barger Monday morning announced that his son, George Clifford Barger, was missing in action. George is the first Laurens boy to have been so reported.

The telegram read: “The Secretary of War desires me to express his deep regret that your son, Pfc. George C. Barger, Infantry, has been reported missing in action in North Africa area, since Feb. 17. Additional information will be sent you when received. ~Adjutant General”

The young soldier is the eldest son of George Barger and was 25 years of age. He had been in the services for almost two years, having entered in April, 1941.

He is the brother of Lois, Lowell and Lloyd Barger.

Members of the family are of the hope that George has not been killed, but is a prisoner of war.

Source: Laurens Sun, March 11, 1943


At last George Barger received a letter from his son who has been a prisoner in an Italian camp since last February.

The form letter was addressed by Clifford and signed by him but the message was stamped on the paper. The message read “Safe and Sound in Transit Camp. Going to GERMANY.”

Letter head of the stationary was SECRETRIAT OF STATE TO HIS HOLINESS and apparently the letter was sent through the services of the Vatican.

Source: Laurens Sun, July 15, 1943

The first direct word from Pfc. George C. Barger, who is a prisoner of the German government in Germany, was received Monday by his father, George W. Barger of Laurens, and his sister, Miss Lois Barger of Pocahontas. Pfc. Barger was taken prisoner in North Africa on February 17, 1943. He has been in army service since April, 1941. The two letters received from him were in his own handwriting and were dated July 8 and August 11. He stated that he was well and told them not to worry. His only request was for clothing. At the time of writing the letters, he had not received any mail since being taken prisoner.

Source: Rolfe Arrow, December 9, 1943


George Barger received a telegram from his son, Pfc. Clifford Barger, Saturday. The message said, “No anxiety necessary, will be home soon.”

Clifford has been a prisoner of Germany for two years and is enroute home, an exchange prisoner aboard the Gripsholm.

Source: Laurens Sun, February 1, 1945

12 Iowans on Gripsholm

Washington, D. C.—(AP)—
Twelve sick or wounded Iowans are aboard the Gripsholm, Swedish exchange ship, which is due to arrive in the United States next week, the War Department announced Thursday night.

Aboard the Gripsholm are 463 Army officers and enlisted men, 665 United States civilians and 78 Canadian military personnel, the War Department said.

The soldiers were exchanged in Switzerland for German prisoners of war.

The War Department said that leave or furlough would be provided for those physically capable and hospital treatment would be continued for those needing it.

Pay accounts of the soldiers and officers will be settled, necessary clothing will be issued and awards and decorations made to those who have been designated to receive them.

Next of kin of the following Iowans have been notified they are returning aboard the Gripsholm:

Cpl. Hollis E. Baker, Inf., Carbon, Iowa;
Pfc. George C. Barger, Inf., Laurens, Iowa;
Second Lt. Clyde V. Cassill, AC, Lenox, Iowa;
Cpl. Clifford M. Olerich, CE, Carroll, Iowa;
Staff Sgt. Edward E. Cussen, AC, Sioux City, Iowa;
Lt. Laurence B. Higgins, Inf., Clarinda, Iowa;
Staff Sgt. Sam D. Humphrey, AC, Clinton, Iowa;
Staff Sgt. Winston E. Lowe, AC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
Staff Sgt. Thomas R. McDonald, AC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
Pfc. Rufus P. E. Nanke, Inf., What Cheer, Iowa;
Second Lt. Warren L. Van Eschen, AC – Mrs. John Van Eschen, mother, Ackley, Iowa;
Pvt. Jack M. Wickey, Inf., Sioux City, Iowa.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, February 16, 1945



When the Gripsholm, Swedish exchange ship, arrives in the United States this week, among the Iowa soldiers will be Pfc. George Clifford Barger, son of George Barger of Laurens. Twelve Iowans either sick or wounded are aboard, the War Department announced Wednesday.

Pfc. Barger has been in Germany for almost three years, at the German Prison Camp B-2. He was taken captive while serving in the north African operations, on February 19, 1942 (sic 1943.)

Source: Laurens Sun, February 22, 1945 (photo included)

Pfc. George C. Barger is now well enough to be transferred from Fitzsimmons hospital in Denver, Colorado, and is enroute to a hospital in Wisconsin.

Source: Laurens Sun, July 19, 1945