Home > Uncategorized > What Became of Belgium Girl and Wounded Soldier

What Became of Belgium Girl and Wounded Soldier

Source: Alvie Davis, “What Became of Belgium Girl and Wounded Soldier,” [Seventh Armored Division
Association] Workshop News
(Winter 1977), page 9.

While serving in the 7th armored division during the Battle of Bulge in December 1944 we were located at St. Vith Belgium.  Our 7th armored division held this town from December 17 until December 22, 1944.  On the night of December 22 we withdrew to Cromback Belgium, a small village about 8 miles West of St. Vith.  We walked several hours dodging German patrols – finally arriving in Cromback about 2 a.m.  We had lost about 100 men out of 150, including our tanks and machine guns.

All day of December 23 we dug fox holes in the snow to set up a defense line.  The Germans did not attack all day.  The battalion HQ and Company HQ – Command Post (C.P.) was set up in a house in Cromback near the railroad track.

About 8 p.m. the Germans made an attack with tiger tanks and infantry.  They over ran our boys in the fox holes.

The tiger tanks and infantry came right by the HQ which was located in a house.  Major McDaniel of 38th Inf. Bn. and Capt. Carl Mattocks of HQ-Co. and about 25 GI’s were in the house.  We fired on the Germans from the windows.  One GI shot from the window and wounded a German soldier.  The German soldier laid in the snow and cried out for the doctor all night long.

Also in the house was a lady who lived there and her small 4 year old daughter.  Finally the fighting got so hot that we all went down into the cellar.

What impressed me was that the small child did not cry out at any time during the battle.  The cellar was total darkness.

During the night Capt. Mattocks told me, his first sergeant, to get a couple of GI’s and go out and put some tank mines in the road near the house.  I took Cpl. John J. TOMKO and another GI out to put the mine down.  I laid my carbine down so as to carry more mines.  While outside I saw a German soldier coming around the house from the East and also a GI coming around the house from the West.  Neither had seen or heard each other.  They continued to approach each other with their backs turned to each other.  Finally, when about 3 feet from each other they both turned and wrestled over the rifle.  There I stood with an arm full of tank mines about five feet away.  After a struggle over the rifle, the American GI got the rifle and fired at the German as he ran into a large hedge.

During the night Major McDaniel talked about surrendering.  I talked with Capt. Mattocks and he told me he did not plan to wave the white flag.

Captain Mattocks told me that we would wait until the moon went down about 4 a.m. then we would make our break.  He said it would be darker and also the German soldiers would not be as alert at that time.

There were about twenty American GI’s in the house about that time.  Mattocks’ order was to leave the house and turn left and cross the railroad track.  The order got mixed up in the confusion and twenty of the GI’s turned right after leaving the house.  They were killed or captured inside of 500 yards.

Four GI’s stayed with Capt. Mattocks.  They were 1st Sgt. Alvie Davis, Cpl. John Tomko, PFC John Bohm and PFC Curado.  As we left the house we passed by the wounded German soldier who had been calling for help all night.  Capt. Mattocks disarmed the soldier.  I looked in his pocket book for identification papers.  I removed his picture from his wallet.  I have kept the picture all these years.

There has been two things that I have often wondered about.  What became of the wounded soldier who called for help all night.  Also, what became of the small Belgium girl who spent the night of horror in the cellar with the American GI’s.

In May of 1974, a group of ex 7th armored men and wives returned to Europe and re-visited the scene of the Battle of Bulge.  We visited St. Vith and also Cromback-Belgium.  Capt. Mattocks and I located the house that we had stayed in during the battle.  I went in the house and told my story to the man who now lives there.  He told me he did not live there during the Battle of Bulge.  He told me that the child of 1944 was grown and was running a cafe in a small village West of Cromback near Veil Salm Belgium.  I asked permission from the man to go into the house and also the cellar.

The next day I went to the cafe Lambe in the village near Veil Salm to locate the child who had been in the cellar with us.

I was lucky that I had a Belgium officer with me to translate for me.  The lady is now about 34 years old and real pretty.  To make sure I had the right person I asked several questions.  I asked if she remembered the Battle of Bulge.  She said yes.  Then I asked her what village she was living in during December 1944.  She stated Cromback Belgium.  Then I asked her if she remembered being in a cellar with her mother and about 25 American soldiers during the battle in Cromback.  She remembered the cellar.  The lady told me that her mother was holding a 6 day old baby in her arms that night in the cellar.  I will be frank and say I did not realize the mother was holding the baby because the cellar was so dark.

Then I asked her if she remembered a soldier being wounded and calling for help all night long.  She stated she remembered the wounded soldier.  Then the final question: What became of the wounded soldier?  She said when day light came, someone sent for the doctor and they carried him back to aid station.

I told her to tell her mother that an ex-American soldier had come back to tell her how brave she and the children were during the Battle of Bulge.

The lady came out in front of the cafe and had her picture made with me.  I also still have the picture of the wounded German soldier.

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