WWII Memoirs

WWII Memoirs

 

1rst Lt Richard K. BLANKENNAGEL

Return from the Hospital in Liege, Belgium

"The first thing I heard when I returned from the hospital in Liege, Belgium to my unit in Hellenthal was that my best friend, Lieutenant Joseph Patrick Bloomfield, had been killed the day the attack was launched.

At 3rd Battalion Headquarters, Colonel Barsanti related the details of the battle which proved to be a difficult operation since Hellenthal had been heavily fortified. Colonel Barsanti told me Bloomfield was at the top of the ridge overlooking the town. He was using his binoculars while facing the sun. The sun reflected from them making him an easy target. A machine gun cut him through the middle. One of the most appreciated letters I received was from Private Jesse Sharp, the man I had helped at Krinkelt. He wrote from the hospital in England where he was being treated. His handwriting, which had been beautiful, now was very ragged. He wrote the following:

 

Dear Blank,

I thought I would write to the Company and I naturally thought of you first. I hope you are able to read this without much trouble as my arm is still bunged-up. I would have written sooner, but I didn't want to ask anyone to do it for me. I am in England again and am in pretty good shape. I was able to walk a little yesterday but felt weak after two weeks in bed. I heard about the old man ( Captain Rogers) and I feel bad when I recall that I could have made him stay where he belonged. I am really sorry but I somehow knew that it had to turn out that way. Remember what I said about being able to control your emotions? I knew what I was saying as that turned out to his fault.

I will forever remember your trying to help me that night and for keeping those boys from panic. You gained my admiration and gratitude that night. Shadow (Sergeant Balogh) and I were together for a while but he went to another hospital. I am honestly glad that he was hit bad enough to be evacuated. It will do him a world of good. He looks 15 years younger already. I saw Johnny (Sergeant Johnny Little) too but haven't seen him since Belgium. Send my best wishes to Sammy (Sergeant Sammy Lee) and Foss (Private Cyrus Foss). I hope to see them again. I'll close now.

I would like to write more but it is hard on my arm. I hope you will find time to answer me soon but anyway best of luck Blank, and take care of yourself. Say hello to Bloomfield for me. Sharp I appreciated Sharp's letter very much, but the last sentence, "Say hello to Bloomfield for me" hit me very hard. I wished I could see and talk to Bloomfield once more."