Full Version: 36th Engineers Company H, Uncle KIA
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I'm researching my uncle John Mitchell "Red" Holt  who was in the 36th, company H. I don't have his military records but I have a decent collection of letters he wrote home.

John joined the 36th when he was 20 years old, after the North Africa landing but before the invasion of Sicily. He did four amphibious landings: Sicily, Salerno, Mairoi, and Anzio. He wrote a short poem about those experiences that was published in a local paper. He described his duties as "among hundreds of other things our duties are to remove enemy mines and booby traps and when necessary put out a few of our own, build bridges and blow up bridges, make tank traps, fix roads, and fight as infantrymen when we are needed. We also do demolition work behind enemy lines at times." While serving in Italy in early 1944 he got trenchfoot and frostbite in the wet and cold winter conditions, and spent some time in a military hospital in March 1944. After rejoining the unit he participated in the invasion of southern France.

On December 10th 1944 the 325th was going to install a bridge in a town called Mertzwiller on the French border with Germany, they were ambushed and shelled with mortars before daylight. There were no infantry units to support so H company of the 36th was sent in to support. They were moving through the town in a double column and a mortar hit a building above the unit and killed John and several others and injured their LT. There were 8 total KIA that day and they took them to the cemetery in nearby Hochfelder where they buried them about 5 pm the same day. John was later re-interred in St. Avold Cemetery. This information was from an "after action report" letter that his brother Francis Holt wrote after interviewing people from his company in late 1945. He spoke with Paul and Russel Carrell, brothers out of Pikeville, KY, who were with the unit through the whole war. Also Page Willever of Morris Plains, NJ; John Grabbel of Pittsburg PA; Manual Castillo from Texas. 

I'd be glad to hear from anybody with information about the 36th or who has record of John. I am busy getting what I have scanned and cleaned up to post.

This is fantastic. Have you seen all the info on the main site, including memoirs. Pleasure meeting you online.


Yes I have dug through it some, thank you so much for hosting all of this. 

I noticed in the interview with John Fallon that said he was injured going to install a bridge in Mertzwiller about 5am and was injured in the shelling. A later paragraph implied that was before Christmas. I think he might be the officer that was injured in the column when my uncle was killed. Paul Carrell said he was just behind the lieutenant in the column and drug the lieutenant into a building to give first aid. 

My uncle John was in the left on both pictures. The other image is the 'after action report' letter my uncle Francis wrote in 1945.

I saw John Fallon had health issues is he still of good mind? I would love to know if he has any memory of this, I really wish I had started researching this 15 years ago :(












I can put you in touch with John. He has good and bad days, but I have spoken with him on the phone a few times within the last few months. I will send you a private message with his email address. 

Oh and I can understand your frustration. WE ALL wish we could have started researching years before we had. Sigh!