Full Version: SSgt Roy L. Booher - WE DID IT!!! - We found him
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Frank Gubbels

The first American soldier to be killed in Holland has a name.


Roy L. Booher Company K 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th "Old Hickory" Division.


Here is his picture:




We were sure for about 95%. This evening we spoke to another man who was investigating the same. He had some documents we hadn't seen before. While we were talking we all agreed that we finally found out that it was Roy L. Booher who was killed near our village Noorbeek.


I really don't know how to share everything with you. Our search took quite some time. More than a year and many, many hours of research. I really have no idea how to explain everything in English. It will take hours to explain it but we were really serious searching so depend on me that we are sure about it.


Besides, I passed my English test last week very confidential so my English teacher told me that I don't have to make another one :26_14_1::wave2: .


Regards from a very happy Frank

Great investigative work Frank! A big congrats sent your way. How satisfying for you after all these years!


BTW, congrats on your English exam. Bravo! :armata_PDT_37:

Well let's put it this way. I don't know how to make a long story short in English.


A year ago I (together with 2 of my friends) got the question to participate in a search for the name of the trooper who was killed near our village. We knew that an American trooper was killed but we didn't know the exact spot (we knew it for a perimeter of 300 meters). After a search of a week we came up with 2 names.


Roy L. Booher and Adan Farias. Roy Booher was from K-Company and Adan Farias from L-Company.


The after action reports told us that K and L Company came through our village on the evening of September 12, 1944. K was leading and L was following. So our first thought was: It's Booher because K was leading. "Unfortunately" it wasn't that easy. More documents came up and, when we were in a pub in our village, we decided to create a now and then website. A man in the pub overheard us and when he was at his home he told the story of the fallen soldier to his mother. He got the best answer from her we could wish.


We knew that there was 1 eyewitness. It was her. He contacted us and we spoke to her a couple of days later. She told us that she went to the trooper on September 13 and saw that he was lying facedown. His helmet still on his head. She saw a little bit of hair. It was light and reddish. She never saw a wound or anything else. She couldn't give us any details about the colour of his skin.


We contact a nephew of Roy Booher with this information. He asked around in his family and we got an answer. He had sandy coloured hair.


Later we received the IDPF's of both men. Again some more information.


Now we know everything we have to know we thought but we were still not sure for 100%. After contacting the national archives and veterans of both companies we still didn't know for sure. Lots of people (even from the USA) would like to help us.


We were still finding documents about the movements but there were no documents which described one of these 2 men being killed in action. These documents were not as accurate as we hoped. They told us in which direction they went but not very accurate.


Suddenly one of us found a person on the internet who was interested in the World War 2 casualties of the hometown of Adan Farias. His name was also included. He got in touch with the person and got an emailaddress of the former mayor of that town. We were lucky. The plumber of the former mayor was a family member of Adan Farias. What a coincidence. He got in touch with the family members and a few days later we received some pictures of Adan Farias. We knew that he was Mexican and we thought that every Mexican had black hair. When we had the pictures we would know it for sure. But... A brother of Adan Farias was still alive and he told that Adan Farias had some brown/red hair. Again we weren't sure and now we were thinking that it could be Adan Farias.


A month ago we decided to write a little story in the local magazine about what we were doing. We got a few responses but one of them was very good. A man contacted us and told us that he was 3 years old in 1944 and lived in the house directly at the spot where the soldier was killed. He told us the story his father told him:


At September 12, 1944. In the evening the father saw 2 American soldiers coming through a field. He decided to go out and warn them because he knew that about 200 meters away there were still Germans. One American soldier climbed over a hedge and was immediately shot and died at the same spot. A few minutes later other soldiers were arriving and stayed there. 3 Hours later 3 airplanes flew in and they destroyed whatever the Germans had overthere. One day later 2 dead Germans where found at that spot. The dead American soldier was carried away on September 13. So his body stayed in the field for 1 night. That was about 1 kilometer to the south of the hamlet Terlinden.


That's the same as we read in the after action reports. They told us that 1 kilometer south of Terlinden there was a fight where K-company was involved. We assumed that when there was a reconnaisance squad up front it must be from K-Company because they were leading. So at that moment we were thinking about Booher again. But we didn't know how L-company moved. Where they directly behind K or did they move in another direction to Terlinden. BTW Terlinden was the main objective for that day because of an important through road.


Yesterday evening we went to a man who witnessed the war and did "some" research for the past 50 years.


Adan Farias was buried on September 13 and Roy Booher on September 14. We knew that and we knew that the soldier near our village was transported back to Belgium on September 13. Near the town of Luik (Luttich). Then they were shipped (!!!) to the cemetery at Fosse which is near the town of Namur. Then off course the bodies had to be identified and then they could be buried. Because "our" trooper was transported back behind the lines at September 13 and the distance between Noorbeek and Namur is about 100-150 kilometers, it's very unlikely that he was buried that day. Even because they were shipped back which takes some time.


And he had another important issue.


He told us that he found out that K-company went to the south of Terlinden and L-company came into our village and went into another direction to go to Terlinden. He even knew the road in our village they took 64 years ago. They never came to the place where the soldier was killed. So that made us sure for Roy Booher.


Tomorrow we will go to Henri-Chapelle cemetery and put some flowers on his grave. 1 Detail: tomorrow it's 64 years ago that he was killed in action. So we were just in time.



I knew I couldn't make a short story but I hope it was interesting to you and for the people who know that a soldier is killed near your hometown and you don't know the name. Start your research. It's worth it.


I will add a picture of Adan Farias too because he gave his life for our freedom and you will also see his face.


Perhaps you will say that you would be sure baout it when you see his haircolour but we don't know how much the paper and time did with the colour of the picture.




Don't hesitate to ask questions. I will answer them always.





Fascinating story Frank! Trust me; I LOVE DETAILS! LOL! So never hesitate to include.


Research is like that; two steps forward, one step back. Some days it feels as it's coming all together. Then the next day you get conflicting information and it sends your head into a spin.


Here's to both men, and to your dedication to bring this to light. You will go far as an historian, because you care about detail and ALL the facts. I wish more people were like you.


Once again - :drinkin:


Fascinating story Frank! Trust me; I LOVE DETAILS! LOL! So never hesitate to include.


Research is like that; two steps forward, one step back. Some days it feels as it's coming all together. Then the next day you get conflicting information and it sends your head into a spin.


Here's to both men, and to your dedication to bring this to light. You will go far as an historian, because you care about detail and ALL the facts. I wish more people were like you.


Once again - :drinkin:


Sometimes it feels like one step forward 3 steps back and the you make 4 steps forward. Never be sure about a thing untill you've got your 100%. That's the main lesson. We are creating a new website (which includes our now and then website) about the liberation of our village and more World War 2 related things. Unfortunately we don't have an English site yet but it will come as soon as our Dutch site is finished.


Liberation of Noorbeek


There isn't much on it now but there will be shown some interesting and surprising things on it very soon.

We went to Henri-Chapelle cemetery today because it's exactly 64 years ago that SsGT. Roy Booher was killed near our village. We put some flowers on his grave and a picture on it. Later we went into the visitors room and had a conversation with the chairman. He was really interested in what we were doing and things like that. He had a surprise for us. We all could adopt his grave. That's a real surprise for us. We took advantage of it immediately as you will understand.


Roy Booher's grave this afternoon:





Here you can see the movements in our area near Aachen. The first German city captured by Allied troops. You can see the 30th to the north of Aachen and the 1st (Big Red One who landed at OMAHA Beach on June 6) to the south of the city.








Well that caught my attention, because this is also the anniversary of my father's passing. Always a sad day for me, but one to remember him by, in a good ways!

I am sorry for you Marion. I didn't know that.





Finally We received our certificates of adoption. Now we will have 2 more objectives.


1) To erect a monument for him.

2) To get his family overhere next year.


I'll keep you informed.



I am happy for you. Congrats on your accomplishment!
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