I am trying to get info on my dad’s younger brother, Robert Earl Strawther, who served in the Army as an engineer from 1941-1945 . His wife and children have all passed away and were not able to pass on information about him to me so I’m trying to reconstruct to do his service justice. All I have are bits I have assembled over the years.
From his separation papers:
Inducted 11 June 1941 – (draftee, civilian occupation carpenter) -- inducted at Jefferson Barracks, MO. I assumed he went to Fort Leonard Wood, where ironically three of his older brothers were finishing building barracks.
His separation papers list his unit as the 19th Engineer Regiment
Departed for Ireland on 31 Aug 1942, arrived 7 SEP 1942
Participated in Algerian, Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns
Per bits told to his wife, and his brothers
Landed on the coast of Africa (my educated guess is Oran)
LST never made it to the beach… had to jump and swim to shore….
Somehow got caught behind enemy lines … went a number of days behind enemy lines without food… except for chocolate (they tied chocolate bars to his uniform). Only ate chocolate for many days and he never wanted to eat it again rest of his life.
Re: Sicily “When Patton’s name came up, Bob was really upset… was in the infantry under him… "he was a gloryhound… one time they were ready to cross a river, but they got orders to hold until Patton could get there … While waiting, they watched the Germans re-fortify the town …"
Per his widow: "When we visited Italy he showed me some of the places he was at… “ Anzio? ” “I think so.”
In Italy he “used to build pontoon bridges…”
Italians would blow them up and one time he didn’t get out fast enough… got his ankle smashed…
His wife thought that during this same event one of his army friends got blown up and it traumatized him. He reacted badly to loud noises for many years, but still had a tic for the rest of his life.
He got a medical discharge in early 1945. Separated out of Camp Hahn in Southern California
The photo below is the only one we have that shows a bit of his unit patch.
Any help narrowing down his specific units and where he might have served in Sicily and Italy would be most appreciated.
Thanks for any help.