Paul R. Carter
#1

I adopted the grave of Paul R. Carter in Margraten Holland. I had the luck that Mrs. Chaffind of the Pope County press helped me with finding the familymembers. I had to give answers to some questions and she published it in the newspaper. Here it is:

 

Grateful European tending to local soldier's grave

By Amy Chaffins

 

News Editor

 

A young man in The Netherlands wants the Pope County community to know he's tending to the final resting place of one of our fallen soldiers.

 

Frank Gubbels, 27, lives in the small village of Noorbeek in The Netherlands, which is near an American cemetery in Margraten, Holland, where World War II soldiers are buried.

 

"There is an adoption program here so I decided to adopt a grave too," Gubbels wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune.

 

That's where the story of a 21-year-old World War II paratrooper killed in 1944 connects with the generous gesture of a young man living in Holland today.

 

Gubbels adopted the grave of Private First Class Paul R. Carter. He was with the 101st Airborne division in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in A-Company.

 

"I did some research and found out that he was from Glenwood," Gubbels noted.

 

Gubbels contacted the Tribune asking for help finding more information about Carter and his family.

 

"I am trying to get in contact with his family members to let them know that there is someone in Europe who is taking care of his grave," Gubbels said.

 

Every year since 2005, Gubbels said he has visited Carter's grave on Easter, Memorial Day, Christmas and the day Carter was killed in action - September 17, 1944.

 

"I go to his grave to place some flowers and to commemorate," he said. "We want to keep the memory alive and make sure that the younger generations will know what happened here and what those men have been through," Gubbels said.

 

About Paul R. Carter

 

The Tribune contacted the Pope County Museum for help searching for more information about Carter and, thanks to the prompt response and information collected by the museum staff, we sent an abundance of information to Gubbels. Here's what we learned:

 

According to Carter's obituary in the October 19, 1944 issue of the Pope County Tribune, he enlisted in the Army with his brother, Chester (Bud), on July 7, 1942. The two brothers stayed together in training for some time, until Bud injured a leg while training, and the two brothers were parted.

 

Paul was then sent to England, where he took more training and was among the first paratroopers that were dropped over France on D-Day.

 

His outfit was then returned to England for replacements and later on they took in the invasion of southern France. It was while making another air invasion in Holland with the paratroopers that he met his death.

 

Carter was born in Swift County, near Benson, but moved with his family to a farm in Barsness Township in Pope County, near Barsness Church.

 

Prior to entering the armed forces, Carter was in a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp and also worked for some time on farms.

 

At the time of his death, he was survived his father, Chester, and the following brothers and sisters: Chester and John, who were in the armed service in France; Lloyd and Calvin who were in Florida and Missouri, in the service; William, Donald, Marvin, Mary, Dorothy and Ruth at home. His mother died September 30, 1938.

 

The last letter that his family had from Paul was written September 8, in which he mentioned that he was going to do some Christmas shopping for his family back home. In spite of the dangerous service that he was in, he wrote cheerful letters home and always looked forward to coming back to his loved ones, and to marry the girl that he was engaged to.

 

At the end of the November 2, 1944, Tribune news article that recaps Carter's memorial service, it reads: "As our country pays its tribute to our gallant fighting men and as the sad tidings come from across the waters we at home realize more deeply the price that war exacts and that ours is the responsibility to see to it that the next peace must be kept."

 

Why adopt an American soldiers grave?

 

It was a book that inspired Gubbels to adopt an American soldier's grave - The Road to Arnhem, by Don Burgett.

 

In an e-mail, Gubbels explained what motivated him to tend to the grave: "I read the stories of Sergeant Don Burgett who served in Able-company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He served in the same unit as Private Paul R. Carter, of Glenwood. The stories of Sgt. Burgett are very detailed and you believe that you are standing next to him when you're reading the book. Unfortunately, he also has to describe how a lot of his comrades were killed. One of them was Paul Carter. "In Sgt. Burgett's book, I read about the moment that Paul Carter got killed. They landed on Sunday September 17, 1944 in Holland during the first day of Operation Market Garden. They landed on a drop zone near the village of Son. They left the drop zone and entered a forest. They had a heavy battle in that forest. Paul Carter was a machine gunner. At the treeline they saw a German 88 canon in a field. Paul Carter and his assistant Prentice Hundley started firing at the 88. The Germans were able to locate them and fired a high velocity grenade to them. Paul Carter and Prentice Hundley were killed instantly. Sgt. Burgett saw everything happen because he was close the both men.

 

After several years of writing back and forth, in September, Gubbels and Burgett met in Holland and had a photo taken together standing next to Paul Carter's grave site. "He was an excellent soldier, Sgt. Burgett told me. It was the last time Sgt. Burgett would make a trip to Europe so I am happy that this wish was realized," Gubbels said.

 

All 8,303 graves at the American Cemetery in Margraten are now adopted, and almost all the names on the wall of missing are adopted too, Gubbels said.

 

At one time, Gubbels had adopted three graves in the cemetery but his brother and a friend wanted to adopt graves, as well. "So, I 'gave' each of them one of 'my' graves," Gubbels said.

 

"I want Americans to know that there are still people over here who are taking care of the graves of the fallen troopers - even after 65 years," Gubbels said. "Those men came here to liberate the countries from the Nazis. They liberated people they never knew."

Reply
#2

Today I had the luck to receive a reply from a familymember. They didn't exactly know what happened to Paul on September 17th and they were happy that I made them aware of the books written by Don Burgett. I hope that I will receive more information from familymembers.

 

Regards,

 

Frank

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#3

Another wonderful story. I appreciate all you do and your very fine efforts. And to think after all this time, the family finally knows and is comforted by the fact, you are now taking care of the grave.

 

Bless you,

M1

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#4

I received some pictures, documents (about the Purple heart with the certificate), a letter from Franklin Roosevelt by email yesterday. I was really stunned. I will ask them if I can post those pictures here. They haven't posted pictures on the internet so if they don't want it I won't post them. Perhaps you need some more patience :).

 

I will visit the spot, where he was killed in action, very soon. I will receive some help from a friend in Eindhoven, Steph Leenhouwers. I am really looking forward to it.

 

I also received a request from a woman of Glenwood if I knew if here uncle's name, who's on the Memorial wall of missing in Margraten, is adopted. I was happy to announce to her that this is the fact and probably she will be in touch with that family soon.

 

What a great day it was yesterday :)

 

Frank

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#5

Here is a picture I received from the family:

 

 

paulcarterkleiner.jpg

Reply
#6

Thankx for the photo Frank!!

 

Paul,rest in peace my friend!!

 

Bert

Reply
#7
It warmed my heart to see the photo. I am so glad you were able to post it here.
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#8

I received a 1923 picture of Paul. He is standing in the middle and about 1,5 years old.

 

paulisinthemiddle.jpg

 

And a picture of the family. His mother died in 1938 so this picture must be made between 1938 and 1942. Paul is at the back (3rd from the left) with his face partially covered behind a younger brother.

carterkidsanddad3.jpg

Reply
#9
Fantastic. It's nice to see the family photos too, Frank!
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#10

Great job! :pdt34:

 

Erwin

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