Sgt. Floyd J. Esche               

Mil#  36826783

Enlisted: 10 July 1943

C. Company 643rd TD BN.

 

 

Born: 11 August 1923   Place: Manawa, WI

Died: 13 December 2004  Place:  La Salle, IL

Burielplace: Little Wolf Cemetery, Manawa, WI

 

Wife: Marcia Esche (Siggelkoe)  Married: 25 June 1949

  Children: David, Peter, Margaret and Allison

 

Father: Erwin Esche   Mother: Lorna Esche (Floyd)

 

 

Awards

 

European African Middle Eastern Service Medal

Battle Stars"Ardennes-Rhineland-Central Europe"

 

 

 

E-mail received from Peter Esche.

 

 

Ben... I believe that his number was 36826783.  It's not a problem sending you copies of the files.  I'll try and break it up so any individual email isn't too large.  I think what you are doing is a wonderful tribute to these guys and families.  I have already notified my siblings of your page.  It's a real bonus that my dad's pictures can also be enjoyed by others like yourself and the Gerald Duncan's family.  I also have a photo of Gerald Duncan's Grave that my father took at the time.  I will be sure to scan it in for you as well.

 

I am the (self proclaimed) historian in my family, so I have my Dad's WWII scrapbook and also electronic versions of the letters he wrote home from the war.  It may take some time but I can give you a fair amount of information...  at least what they allowed in letters going stateside during the war.

 

Like many I assume, my Dad didn't talk about the war very much until he was much older.  There are a few things he told us that I remember.  I can pass a few of those things along now and others as I think of them.

 

My Dad was a Staff Sergeant by the time the war was over.  He brought back a few items including a large Nazi flag, two German bayonets and a Luftwaffe  ceremonial dagger.  He had several medals that he kept in a box but I can't tell you what they were for.  I don't think he was very concerned about them because I remember playing with them as a kid.  I'm afraid they've been lost or discarded over the years...  what a shame. 

 

My father tells a story about his volunteering to check out some trenches near their position.  He says that at one point he could hear Germans talking in the next trench.  At some point during that time a Greman and he jumped into the same foxhole.  I guess they were both very startled and didn't know what to do.  My Dad told the soldier to put his hands up first, so he did.  He always laughed that he might have done the same if the German spoke first.  Afterwards, his commanding officer said he was going to put Dad in for a Silver Star.  He never heard another mention of it.  He also tells about crawling through people's "guts" in trenches.

 

Dad was hospitalized for a bronchial infection sometime after the Battle of the Bulge.  I don't recall how long (I can determine) but he did join his company again to cross into Germany.  He claims that near the end of the war the Germans were trying to surrender to the Americans rather than the Russians and that he even saw American planes strafing advancing Russians to give them time.

 

Okay...  al for now.  I'll spend some more time later this afternoon scanning some photos and getting you the files.

 

Best Regards,

 

Pete

 

 

Info/photos received from;

Peter Esche, son of Floyd.

 

 

 

Floyd's letters home during his time with the 643rd

Letter: 9 January 1945

Dear folks,

Here is my first letter of the new year. I hope I can write more often than I have lately. We have seen action in Belgium as you probably realize after you got my last letters, It seems like it will never stop snowing. The country is beautiful when you have time to consider it from a non-tactical viewpoint - pines, and hills. There aren't many civilians left around. It's not nice, but I hope you won't worry too much. I suppose it's useless to tell you, but I worry more about your fears than about myself. I have managed very nicely and intend to continue to do so. We had a large mail call the other day. Your last letter was Dec. 20. I also heard from Uncle Bill and discovered he's in Holland. In your Nov. letters, you were under the wrong impression about the Army I am in. So was Uncle Bill. You also made a wrong guess about my actual location, but you were close. you know, we are not allowed to disclose names of places unless we are at least 25 miles away from them.

I also had letters from Bill, Betty, and several Christmas cards. I don't know how I'll ever answer them unless the situation changes. I am writing this inside, however. Two more Advocates [hometown newspaper] came today. I haven't met that cheesemaker from Baldwin's Mills over here yet, but I may soon because he must be near here.

It's getting dark so we're going to black out the windows. I'll have to close. I'll write as soon as I can.

Floyd

 

Letter: Somewhere in Belgium - 11 January 1945

Dear Folks,

I shaved and washed today. It feels good. We are having a chance to wash up. clean our equipment, and rest for a while. It sill snows now and then making a pretty deep covering by now. We are inside, and it's my turn to sleep in a bed tonight. We were not paid for the month of December but expect to be soon. I would just as soon not be paid. It just means carrying a lot of money until I can secure a money order. There is no way to spend any even if we did have Belgian francs instead of French. This is a nice large modern house. The floors are tile and the couple who lives here keep it very neat. I had a couple of letters yesterday. Rumor has it we will have a large mail call today. Some of it should catch up soon. We have a radio here. Just heard about the invasion of Luzon. The further one is from the front lines, the more he knows about the situation there.

Hope you are as well as I am,

Floyd

 

Letter: Somewhere in Belgium (Sart?) - 16 January 1945

Dear Folks,

I'm not in the same place as I was when I wrote to you last. Travel is nice, but sitting in one place would be nicer, Anyway, I am seeing a lot. I'm sending some pictures of the Palace at Fountainbleau which I have been carrying with me. Also, there is a clipping of some atrocity killings. We were able to see the bodies and witness the mass funeral. I hope the clipping is readable. I have read in the paper that the general public has now been informed that the city of Marche never did fall to the Germans. I had been wondering why the correct information had not been given before.

Yesterday, I got four letters from you and your Christmas card. The letters were all written during the first week of December. Some of the questions you asked have already been answered; others are no longer important. It will not be necessary to send my sweater because we are issued one with long sleeves and a high neck.

I got six or seven Advocates yesterday too. (Advocates = Hometown Newspaper, WI)

The place where we are now has beer, but it isn't very good. Many people here speak German as well as French. I have to cook supper soon. It's my turn today

 

Somewhere in Belgium (Adrimont) - 18 January, 1945

Dear Gret (sister),

I'm writing this in a nice cozy room. Everyone is sitting around writing letters, reading, or playing cards. Our host is an old Belgian couple who are very nice to us. They are cooking venison for themselves just now. It smells good. When they finish eating, we have the use of their cookstove to cook our rations. They all marvel at the color of our white bread. Their own bread is black, but it isn't bad. I much prefer French bread, though. It is lighter and has excellent flavor. It comes in a long thin loaf. Belgium bread is round. The bed I slept in last night is about five feet long. Many Belgian beds are like that. The explanation given is that it used to be a habit to sleep half sitting up.

The woman here was looking at your picture last night - I keep it in my writing pad - she said you were a "belle mademoiselle".

We just received word that we are moving from this house to another, so I'd better close.

Floyd

 

 

 

 

Cider and onion soup beside the hedgerow in our orchard home.

Floyd Esche

 

"Hi-Ho Silver" ... Floyd visit at farm.

 

 

 

Robert Wickham and Raymond Meckel

 

Paul "Pop" Warner

 

 

        

Raymond Meckel and Robert Wickman

 

 

"Lots of apples in our orchard"

Raymond Meckel, Robert Wickham and Nick Evancha

 

            

Jullouville, France 44

Top Left: John Ventura,  Robert Wickham,  Joe Kowalski,  Elden Gillan,  Bill Santarsiero

Kneeling: Orville Pearce,  Nick Evancha,  Neff Caroll,  Gilbert Kershaw,  Floyd Esche

 

 

John Ventura

Christmas Day '44 Floyd Esche in overcoat facing halftrack

 

 

           

Floyd Esche and Ed Wandtke

 

Elden Gillan

 

Bill Santarsiero

 

Bill Kitto

 

                   

Robert Wickham writing home

 

 

Several drawings Floyd made

 

      

 

 

Floyd and Marcia's Grave Marker on Little Wolf Cemetery

 

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