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232nd Regiment, US Army in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- 232nd Regiment, US Army during the Second World War -

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232nd Regiment, US Army

If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

Those known to have served with

232nd Regiment, US Army

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Wells Francis Leon. Cpl.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Cpl. Francis Leon Wells B Coy. 232nd Infantry Regiment

My father, Francis Wells, never discussed his experience with us, only gave sketchy details to my stepmother in his golden years. When we asked mother about why he screamed in his sleep, or why he was nervous, she would say "he was in the war". We didn't know he was OCD and had frostbite, stomach problems, and suffered from PTS. We only found out a little after my mom died and he married his second wife, who helped him and encouraged him to join a former group of POW survivors. This is what we know happened:

He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge near Sessenheim on 6th January 1945 when his foxhole was overrun with a German tank. Only two men survived, he and the other jumped out and ran across a field with bullets flying overhead. (He was serving in Company B 232nd infantry 42nd Rainbow division.) They hid in a basement of a structure and I remember as a little girl overhearing him tell someone about this incident in our kitchen one night. He described hearing the Germans coming down the stairs in their hobnail boots and the other soldier begged him to shoot at them. He wanted to be patient and the other one grabbed the gun and it fell apart in his hands as he didn't know how to operate it (I think he carried a bazooka). They were captured and taken by train to Stalag 11B at Fallingbostel near Hanover.

He described his experience there as having so little food at times that the men would grab at the grass when going outside. The guards were OK except when the SS officers arrived. They were afraid to look them in the eye or move when they made them line up barefoot in the snow. If they did anything out of order, they would pull them out of line and march them to the river. Daddy said that the hardest thing he faced was the men divying up their belongings and not knowing whether he was going to be next. He also described them dumping out truckloads of rotted rutabagas for them and serving brown bread with sawdust. That was why he had digestive problems and would eat breakfast, then vomit every day. He couldn't stand the sight of turnips, and wouldn't eat any bread other than white or cornbread.

He said when they heard the planes flying overhead on bombing raids they knew the end was near and they had hope. They were liberated on 16th April the 7th Army, the same one he served in, and was sent to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for "de-processing". When he finally returned to Arkansas he never thought of himself as a hero and, unfortunately, never wanted anything to do with the military any longer.

He moved to Missouri and met my mother, and lived there until his death in 2007. He kept his footlocker but lost any interest in his medals and patches. I remember playing with them and don't know what happened to them but my brother was able to get them back later through the army. I remember a rifle and the rainbow. By the time I was old enough to realize what they were it was too late and all traces of the military were gone. I remember my husband showing up in army fatigues (during the 70s) and he was so upset! He never liked him after that. He hated us watching Hogan's Heroes on TV and would never watch a war movie. I wish we could have helped him sooner. He was a veteran who slipped through the cracks and never got the help he needed to recover until he joined the VFW. He was a devout Christian and family man who I never got to know entirely, but he was definitely a hero. It would be nice to find anyone who had photos or stories regarding his unit. I am trying to piece together his life for my kids and grandkids.

Martha Wells Perren

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