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Herman Dennis

Story submitted by Jim Carpenter

This is my stepfather, Herman Dennis, taken in August of 1982 about 8 months before he died.  The building in the background is the nursing home where he was staying at the time.  I had asked him for a picture by the flagpole but the salute was his own idea.  He was very proud of that old flag.

 Herman Dennis lived in Rural Claremore most of his life and operated a business in Claremore for a few years.  He was in his 30's and had a wife and family when he was drafted into the U.S. Army sometime in 1944. He was one of the older men in his outfit and was known as "Pappy." He drove a "Half-Track" with 13 soldiers including driver.

He served in Germany in 1944 / 45 and had some very interesting stories to tell about his adventures there, some of which I taped.  Following are some excerpts, from my notes, from a 1980 Interview I did with him, about his wartime experiences:

Left New York Harbor in Nov. 1944. Large convoy including at least two aircraft carriers. Arrived, Liverpool England, took English ship to Omaha Beach, France. Arrived just behind the invading allied forces. Went ashore at Omaha Beach. Headed toward the German border. Moving fast. Bypassing many German soldiers. No time to take prisoners. Out-ran the supplies including the "Kitchen." Some bypassed Germans captured the "Kitchen." Went back and took it back. Full speed ahead. Heading for the Rhine River.

Crossed the Maginot Line into Germany. Came under air attack [by one German plane] in strafing attack.

Feb. 28, 1945, crossed the Rhine on pontoon bridges. Main bridges destroyed by retreating German Army. Allied gliders were crossing the Rhine at same time.

Passed area with shredded trees and dead German soldiers littering the ground. Going through mine fields. Some damage from mines. Moving fast.

Rolled into German town that appeared quiet. Met German ambush. Many American casualties. Of the 13 in truck, 7 came out. Retreated to countryside. Shelled town all night. Continued rolling in morning. Bypassed the town. Little left of it.

Another town - found abandoned trains, every car full of naked, dead bodies. Was heading for a Crematory before abandonment.

Arrived at Elbe River. About 70 miles from Berlin. Must wait at Elbe for the Russian Army. The Russians soon took Berlin and met allies at the Elbe. Eventually Germany officially surrendered.

About Sept. 1, 1945 boarded a train for France. Arrived at Normandy France. Boarded ship and headed home. Narrowly escaped being sent to fight in Japan.

 "Iíve been shot at so much . . . came so close. The Lord just had his hand on me."

Herman Dennis, March 22, 1980

William Herman Dennis was born Feb. 16, 1909.  He died in Claremore, Oklahoma May 11, 1983 and is buried beside his first wife, Bobby Pauline, at Oowala Cemetery, near his childhood home.

Herman Dennis in 1944





Rogers Co, OK


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