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Received 07/25/2002 Return to 526 Ordnance
My daughter, Jennifer Andrews, has corresponded with you last week referring to the
subject. My name is Lowney Le Blanc and I was a member of the 526th having joined them in
southern England while preparing to load for the channel crossing. First I would like to
acknowledge that the author(s) undoubtedly wrote this history from memory and some
personal notes. While I do not have notes nor can I prove or disprove any of the dates he
listed my memory of events is somewhat different to his.
In reading the history I was struck by the omission of my name as a casualty in any of the events they listed and had it not been for that I would probably not have undertaken this story. I was wounded by the buzz bomb explosion at Waywertz, Belgium, spent 5 days in the hospital at Malmedy and was awarded the purple heart.
As I said previously I and about 15 or 16 others joined the company in southern England. We, along with about half of the company who volunteered, were loaded on the ship which bore group A. The remainder went on the 2nd boat which was designated group B. That may not be quiet factual but is what I was told and what I remember. Unfortunately group B was lost at sea. After landing and learning that we had lost group B we replacements were assigned to the company and we went into Cerissy forest with them.
Since the sinking of the ship with group B resulted in the loss of spare parts, pool vehicles, records and other things we had to scavenge the destroyed equipment for "spares". There was one van about 3/4 full of windshield wipers, fuel pumps and carbs. Captain Willard Anderson, who had just recently replaced Captain Poppenburg as commander, called a formation of the replacements. He wanted someone who had had experience with such assemblies to clean, dismantle and repair the units. I, Henry Moss, John Shoap and Roy Loge volunteered. We were given a large tent, and equipment and tools to do the job and went to work. A day or so after we started a runner named Frank (I believe that was his given name) Gangemi came to the tent to tell me that the CO wanted me at the CP in ODs. So I complied. Captain Anderson asked me if I could speak, read and translate French. I replied affirmatively. He told me that we had been given the 2nd French armored division to service and he needed an interpreter. He said that apparently I was the only one in the Battalion who could do it. So he told me to get a full pup tent and set it up next to the CP and to report to Ben R, Austin who was the operations officer. I was to be with any and all French soldiers when they were in the area. I was also to be with any and all civilian visitors who, for whatever reason, might come to the area. I did this for the remainder of the war in addition to my duties as operations clerk.
Later on, in Northern France, we were assigned about 30 Belgian Fusiliers (riflemen) for perimiter guard duty. I was assigned to be the "corporal of the guard" for them and did that untill they left us after our stay at Altenahr, Germany. I have pictures taken with one or 2 of these men both at Vervier, Belgium and at Altenahr. The commanding officer of these men was a Lt. Gelise. I remember him well.
I notice that the author(s) speaks of possible V2 rockets in Vervier, Belgium. There were none of these. We received one buzz bomb just across the Meuse river opposite one of the factory building we occupied and the entire roof of that building was glass with huge ventilation panels. The glass was fragmented and did slightly wound some of the men.
I notice that the author(s) gave us just a few days in some places beginning after we passed Paris. He gave us just 3 days from North of Paris to Soisson. I don't remember the name of the town but in a place north of Paris we had been in bivouac for several days when we had a French man and his 2 daughters visit us early one morning. It seems the night before the townspeople had given a street dance to the men in appreciation for us having "liberated" them. Well the man told me that some of our men had attempted to rape his 2 daughters and wanted to see the commander. So I took them into the CP and relayed their story. Captain Anderson called a company formation and asked the civilians to walk thru the ranks and try to identify the culprits. Well they did, with me reluctantly trailing, and they picked out 3 people. Only one, a warrant officer , was from the company. The other 2 were visiting tankers.
All 3 were court martialed. And we were in this place quite longer than 4 days.
The history gives us only 5 days at Lonny. I know that we spent more time than that there. We were bivouacked in an apple orchard which belonged to a man named Cosse. I befriended his young son as he and the son came into the area each day for about 2 weeks to pick their apples. I correspond with this man to this day and have revisited him in Charleyville.
When we left Lonny we went into Luxembourg. At that place we picked a clean field with an island of forest in the center. It turned out that this field was a sea of mud and being unable, eventually, to get equipment in or out we were forced to move. We then moved to Bastogne. Now I know that we stayed in Bastogne more than 8 days because after we arrived I was asked by Lt. Clark, who was the mess officer, If I would go into Bastogne and attempt to trade surplus rations for eggs and maybe butter. So I was given a 3/4 ton dodge truck and a driver named Borcherding. (I forget his first name) We loaded the truck, went into Bastogne and found a police officer who agreed to go with us and we traded. I did this for almost 2 weeks and got enough eggs to give each man in the company who wanted them, 2 eggs for breakfast. We also traded for 1 cow. I traded a Mauser rifle to the policeman for a .32 Browning patented automatic pistol which was standard police issue there. He removed it from a sealed can of oil where he had hidden it from the Germans.
So some of those dates in that chronology are probably just guesses. And as I said before since the author(s) and I were in different sections in the company he was most likely not aware of my work as I was not really aware of the work of each individual in the shop but only in the overall operation. So I am not demanding the inclusion of any of this story in the history except for the casualty listing. I am writing a biography for my children and grandchildren and it would be nice if I could include this history to include some of what I did during the big war. I do want to be listed in the casualty list regardless of your decision on the other parts. Thanks for the work you did in forming the website and for publishing the history. I didn't do anything heroic but I am proud of the bit I played
Sincerely, Lowney L. LeBlanc. T/.5, ASN 38495084.
July 25, 2002