6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 10, 2020 3:02 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII

    Bryan Kardisco Newbie

      I've been attempting to research my paternal grandfather's time in World War II.  He passed in the early 80s so first hand accounts can not be obtained, as he did not discuss his time in theater with my father nor my grandmother whom has also passed.

       

      My research to date revolved around the following.

      1. Obtaining his military serial number and then filing the appropriate requests with the National Archives in St. Louis.   As one can imagine, the majority of the records were lost.  All that could be provided was affirmation that he did serve, was drafted (entered as a private) and left as a sergeant.

       

      2. I then obtained his Veteran Compensation Application to determine when he was in theater.  March '45 to March '46.  (As this is a separate line-item from time in the United States vs OCONUS)

       

      3. From this point I then went to newspapers.com and searched for his name from 1944 to 1947.  I was able to find his draft date, enlistment date, date of departure from the states and then one interesting nugget.  A news paper clipping from Friday June 22,1945 says that he's in the 26th Division in Germany.

       

      At this point in time I know he served in the Army.  Was with the 26th Division and when he entered/exited service.  However, the 26th is a huge group and I'd love to know more about his time in theater.  Short of paying someone to scan all the after-action reports from the 26th and hoping to get lucky, what would people suggest I do next?

        • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
          Lisa Sharik Adventurer

          For information on Individual soldiers the best information, short of their personnel record, is Morning Reports.

           

          After Action Reports( AARs) are overarching information about a unit as a whole, and while occasionally some soldiers are mentioned by name it is very hit or miss.  In addition for WWII, on a Infantry Division level, AAR's are done by Regiments, not the Division as a whole. So each of these elements ( at least the larger elements):

          • 101st Infantry Regiment
          • 104th Infantry Regiment
          • 328th Infantry Regiment
          • 26th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
          • 101st Engineer Combat Battalion
          • 114th Medical Battalion
          • 26th Division Artillery
          • 101st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
          • 102d Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
          • 263d Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
          • 180th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)
          • Special Troops
          • 726th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
          • 26th Quartermaster Company
          • 39th Signal Company
          • Military Police Platoon
          • Headquarters Company
          • Band

           

          would have their own AAR. Unfortunately Morning Reports are the even smaller, they are usually at a Company level. Do you have any pictures, or letters sent home? those often contain clues which would help find his Company, Battalion or Regiment.

           

          Lisa Sharik

          Deputy Director

          Texas Military Forces Museum

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
              Bryan Kardisco Newbie

              Lisa,

               

              Thank you for informing me of looking at Morning Reports as opposed to the AAR's.  To answer your question, I do not have any letters/photos/etc.  I've talked to my father about this on a few occasions (as I needed his signature to request any info from the St. Louis Archives)

               

              He has mentioned that his father did not speak of his time in service.  I've asked if he (my grandfather) kept anything from the war.  He had kept a bayonet but did not mention where or when it was acquired.  Furthermore, my father says that his father mentioned the calvary on one occasion but never dug in for further details (as those things weren't talked about).

               

              I do know that my grandfather was drafted at the age of 23 and was a truck driver prior to and after the war.   Nevertheless, that's all the information that I do have at this time.

               

              My biggest confusion is as follows.  My grandfather was from Pennsylvania, and the newspaper clipping states information regarding my great-uncle on a Furlough in Italy.  It then says, "He has two brothers in service, Joseph and George, who is with the 26th Division in Germany"

               

              I've always been curious about this as I was under the impression the 26th was comprised mainly of New England States while the 28th was from Pennsylvania. 

               

              I do know that when he was drafted he entered as a private and when he was honorably discharged he exited as a Sgt.  What are the odds that the promotion would have been listed in an AAR or Morning Report?  I thought maybe if I could find that, I could work backwards?

                • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
                  Lisa Sharik Adventurer

                  Promotions, wounds, transfers etc... are listed in the Morning Reports. I don't have a copy of it on my work computer, but when I got copies of the Morning Reports for one of my grandfather's who served. He appeared in the daily report 3 times in a 9 month period and  1 time was because he had been demoted in rank, due to a joy ride he took in a jeep in Casablanca!  I did attach an example from one of the 36th ID units in WWII showing a group of soldiers who had been transferred or assigned to the particular unit ( Company C, 143rd Infantry Regiment)

                  Morning Report September 18 1944

                  Lisa Sharik

                  Deputy Director

                  Texas Military Forces Museum

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
                    joan stachnik Scout

                    Hi Bryan, Lisa is right about the morning reports over after action documents. I was able to find a lot of information about my dad's service (as well as a few of my uncles) by reading through morning reports for his unit. Once you have a starting point, MRs are fairly easy to search through. I've made several trips to the St. Louis Archives and always found it to be useful and the staff there to be very helpful. 

                     

                    When you requested your grandfather's records, was a final payroll voucher available? That should also indicate what his last unit was. And as Elliot suggested, state or county veteran's offices might have his separation papers, if he registered when he returned home.  Good luck with your search.  joan

                • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
                  Elliot Schneider Navigator

                  Bryan,

                   

                  You can try contacting the county recorder's office, or veterans service office of the county your grandfather lived in at time he entered service. Most service members filed their discharge papers with the county recorder. This was because what they were told and some states offered a stipend from the state for service in the war.

                   

                   

                  Hope this helps.

                   

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  Elliot Schneider

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • Re: Seeking records about Grandfather during WWII
                    Jason Atkinson Pioneer

                    Dear Mr. Kardisco,

                     

                    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

                     

                    We suggest you begin by searching the National Archives’ Access to Archival Databases: World War II Army Enlistment Records.  Please be aware that there are gaps in these records. This information will assist you should you decide to locate auxiliary files such as the morning reports that Ms. Sharik and Ms. Stachnik have mentioned. For more information on auxiliary files and how to access them, please review this presentation.

                    You also may request his Selective Service Card and Classification Ledger from the National Archives at St. Louis.  This collection includes men who registered for the draft with dates of birth through March 1957.  Ledgers can indicate duration of service, while the draft cards may include more specific information such as branch of service, service number, or reserves service. The National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) can be contacted via email at stl.archives@nara.gov

                    As others have mentioned, unit records such as action reports rarely mention individual soldiers, however they can be used to learn more about the unit as a whole.  Unit records for the 26th Infantry Division and its subordinate units are in Boxes 7109-7206 of the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-1981 (Record Group 407).  General Orders in the unit records often list awardees. For access to and/or copies of these records, please contact National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

                     

                    In addition, you may search online for web sites that have books, articles and other secondary sources about the 26th Infantry Division and its component units.  A few of the examples we found online are as follows.

                     

                     

                    Plus, if you have not done so already, you may wish to search Ancestry, Fold3 and FamilySearch.  These websites can be accessed for free at any National Archives location, to include Presidential Libraries.  Some state, university and local libraries also provide access to their patrons.

                     

                    We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!

                    1 person found this helpful