Floyd J. Esche
Enlisted: 10 July 1943
C. Company 643rd TD BN.
11 August 1923 Place:
December 2004 Place: La Salle, IL
Little Wolf Cemetery, Manawa, WI
Marcia Esche (Siggelkoe) Married: 25
Margaret and Allison
Erwin Esche Mother:
Lorna Esche (Floyd)
Middle Eastern Service Medal
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Okay... al for now. I'll spend some more time later this
afternoon scanning some photos and getting you the files.
Peter Esche, son of Floyd.
Floyd's letters home during his
time with the 643rd
9 January 1945
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
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.
getting dark so we're going to black out the windows.
I'll have to close. I'll write as soon as I can.
in Belgium - 11 January 1945
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.
are as well as I am,
Letter: Somewhere in Belgium (Sart?) - 16 January
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.
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
in Belgium (Adrimont) - 18 January, 1945
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.
here was looking at your picture last night - I keep
it in my writing pad - she said you were a "belle
received word that we are moving from this house to
another, so I'd better close.
Cider and onion soup beside the
hedgerow in our orchard home.
"Hi-Ho Silver" ... Floyd visit
Robert Wickham and Raymond Meckel
Paul "Pop" Warner
Raymond Meckel and Robert Wickman
"Lots of apples in our orchard"
Raymond Meckel, Robert Wickham and
Jullouville, France ´44
Top Left: John Ventura,
Robert Wickham, Joe Kowalski, Elden Gillan, Bill
Kneeling: Orville Pearce,
Nick Evancha, Neff Caroll, Gilbert Kershaw, Floyd
Christmas Day '44 Floyd Esche in
overcoat facing halftrack
Floyd Esche and Ed
Robert Wickham writing
Several drawings Floyd made