253rd Engineer Combat Battalion
#1

Dear Mrs. Chard:

 

I happened to come across your fine web site tonight while searching for

information on the 253rd Combat Engineers. Unfortunately, I can't find this

unit listed anywhere. I'd like to find some vets from that BN because I have

a 30 minute 8mm film of their tour of duty. The film was shot by one of the

vets during his time with the BN. I bought the film on ebay last year and

have transferred it to video and would like to give free copies to anyone

from that unit that I can locate.

 

Dr. Michael Brodhead at the USA CofE Office of History looked the unit up

and sent me the following information:

> The only information I could find on the 253rd Engineer Combat Battalion is

> from a reference work entitled Order of Battle, U. S. Army, World War II, by

> Shelby L. Stanton, p. 574; The battalion was formed 15 October 1943 at Camp

> Crowder, Missouri; sailed from the New York Port of Embarkation 31 October

> 1944, arriving in England 8 November 1944; arrived in France 26 December 1944;

> participated in the Alsace-Ardennes, Central Europe, and Rhineland campaigns;

> was at Ulm, Germany in August 1945; arrived in the U. S. at the New York Port

> of Embarkation 9 April 1946 and was inactivated there the following day.

 

The film begins with scenes at the camp where these men went through basic

training and then follows them on weekend passes at (I believe)

Hopkinsville, KY. It then shows camp scenes but I don't know which camp. If

the town was indeed, Hopkinsville, KY, then Camp Campbell, KY would make

sense.

 

Then, the film shows the men in Europe. Some scenes are at Ulm, Germany and

that fits with the description above. Other locations include the Danube

River, Heidelburg, and Paris, where the unit was getting ready to come home.

There are scenes of guarding German POW's, a crashed airplane, traveling in

convoys, and several small towns where they stopped for chow, etc. It's

actually one man's film of his buddies and their travels in WWII.

 

The seller I bought it from on ebay had no idea as to the original

photographer so the trail was cold right from the start. This isn't an

academy award winner but I'm sure any living vets of the 253rd Combat

Engineers would love to have a copy.

 

Any assistance you can provide about that unit would be a great help.

If you can find any information, I'll send you a copy.

 

Thanks for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jim Herron

Email: hrvideo@mindspring.com

Address: 2016 N. Village Ave., Tampa, FL 33612

Phone: 813 932-3887

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
#2

Dear Jim:

 

Well this looks like a tough one indeed. I have searched through some of my research materials, etc. and the only reference I can find at the moment is this one. It's from a grave marker in:

 

LITTLE VALLEY RURAL CEMETERY

Route 353

Little Valley, NY

 

MATTHIES, Robert H. spouse of Ruth Marie died 8-25-2003 age 82 - US Army 253rd Engineer Brigade WW II

 

You may want to contact someone in that town to see if he has any living relatives or friends.

 

I will continue to search and of course if I come across anything at all, I will contact you immediately. In the interim you may to contact NARA in St Louis for morning reports, etc and NARA in College Park Maryland for after-action reports, etc. I have all the contact information in my forum section here:

 

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=23

 

There is also a contact for a Richard Horrell from WWII Connections who does private research on units. If you do visit his site and contact him, please tell him I sent you his way.

 

Sounds like you have very rare footage there. A real treasure. Of course it would be more meaningful if you could attach some names and faces to it. I would love to see it myself. Are you planning on placing the media on DVD's etc., to make it more accessible?

 

I am going to place your letter in our Lost and Found section in the hopes that someone will run across it while performing a search on this unit. It's amazing how many people have found my site in the last year and have been able to reunite with old buddies, etc. That is the best part of all this and oh so rewarding.

 

Please stay in touch and I will do the same.

 

Warm regards,

Marion J Chard

Proud daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek

540th Combat Engineer WWII

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
#3

Received this later the same day:

 

Dear Marion-

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

Strangely enough, I ran one last attempt at a web search for "253rd

Engineers" and up came two names. One was the cemetery you listed and the

other is a man in Utica, NY who is alive and well. I called him today and

hopefully he will be able to come up with some names, although he says his

memory has slipped and he can't recall any names. I'm sending him a copy of

the video today which I hope will jog his memory. He did seem very alert and

interested in the film.

 

I did get one bit of information from him that the unit had gone on

maneuvers at Camp Campbell, KY in 1944 and that explains why there are

scenes of the men on a pass in Hopkinsville, KY. The unit was activated at

Camp Crowder, MO on 15 Oct 1943.

 

If you will give me your mailing address, I'll send one to you, also.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jim Herron

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
#4

I have pictures of Robert Matthias, along with a few of their buddies, on R&R in Innsbruck Austria, from my dad's collection, and at Campbell.

 

Jim, in my email to you, I forgot to ask if you could pass along the contact information for the person in Utica. These men are all in, or about to be in, their 80's so we need to get what information is available soon or it will be lost for all time.

 

I've attached one of the great pictures. This is labeled:

PFC Joseph Moriarty

PFC Frank Perlberg

PVT Matthias

PVT Zolendy

PVT McGoldbrick

Corp Moran

PVT Edward Hollis

From top, taken Camp Campbell Aug. 4, 1944

 

 

Thanks

Gary

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Reply
#5

Here is more info provided by Richard Horrell of WWII Connections.

 

 

Dear Ms. Chard,

 

Commanded by Lt. Col. T.P. Hughes, the facts I have is that the 253rd was a part of Ninth Army. Not in my list for XIII or XVI Corps, so they must have been at the Army level.

 

Rather atypical for a unit of Ninth Army to have an Ardennes-Alsace Campaign credit, so they must have been in First or Third Army for a brief time before ending up in Ninth Army.

 

I will keep you up-to-date if I find further facts.

 

Happy July 4th Holiday,

Richard V. Horrell

WW 2 Connections

 

More info by Richard. This is an excerpt from his email to me:

 

Dear Ms. Chard,

 

Just a few more facts as per the 253rd.

 

Departed Boston Port of Embarkation, October 31, 1944

 

Sailed on the USS West Point AP-23

 

Arrived at Liverpool, England, November 8, 1944

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
#6

Marion,

I can't keep up with all the engineer battalions but I thought this one sounded familiar----guess not.

I checked my handy refererence book and it confirmed the 253rd Engr served in the 3 Campaigns that Jim mentioned. It lists them as serving occupation duty in Germany from 2 May until 31 Oct 1945.

 

Steve

Reply
#7

Hey, at this point as everyone can tell, every little tidbit is a juicy morsel. Thanks for everyone's contributions. B)

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 can't keep up with all the engineer battalions but I thought this one sounded familiar----guess not.

 

Hey! I was correct. Only 2 threads earlier, Gary Olin submitted a discussion about the 253rd Engrs.

 

Marion----are you trying to see if we are paying attention?!?!

 

<_<

 

Steve

Reply
#9

:lol::lol: They'll be a pop quiz in 10 minutes. -_-
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

I just received letter back from my inquiry to the National Archives for 253rd unit information. When I did this about two years ago, the documents they listed had no obvious connection to the 253rd Engr C BN. THIS time, however, they came back with a list which includes the units history for 1943, 1944, 1945 through V-E day, and then still another for the remainder of their activation period. In addition, they listed after action reports for 1945. There was about $70.00 worth of pages in the listed materials.

 

Obviously, I intend to order the materials but it will take, according to their letter from 10-12 weeks to receive the material. I wish I lived closer to MD so that I could do the copying myself!

 

Once I get it, unless there are restrictions preventing it, I will attempt to share what I can with those interested.

 

Gary

Reply


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