Charles Corbin and Paul Kline meet again near the same spot they met 44 years ago in 1944. Paul was a young boy of 10 years
"REMEMBRANCE OF PARFONDRUY"
It was a warm sunny day in the Ardennes in the Fall of l989 as I stood in the back yard of a home near the corner, overlooking a small bridge. I was waiting for Paul Kline, a man who I had last seen as a small boy in Dec. 22. 1944, being 10 then, at this very spot in Parfondruy, Belgium. Paul had sent word he would meet me here. I was reflecting to 45 years ago when I stood here in the snow armed with a 45 cal. sub machine gun. I had just came out of the house behind me and had seen an old man, a young woman, and a small baby dead. I had went through several houses and it was the same tale of horror in each, old men and women shot through the head with their throats cut, lying in a pool of frozen blood. This had been done by the German SS troops of Col. Peiper's 1st. SS Panzer Div, Hitler's pride and joy the same we ran out as we came in. Out of the fog a small boy and little girl had approached me and said "Vive L' Amerique", as they hugged me and asked to go inside. I had said "No" as the people inside were dead. The boy said they were his Mother, brother, and grandfather, and would like to see them one last time. I told him to go in and I went back to my command post. We had fought our way here the day before, a small task force of nine tanks, knocking out several German tanks and vehicles and killed many SS men. The next day the SS counter attacked and cut us off and overran our aid station in Petit-Coo. I was chief of section of our FO section for artillery support of Lt.Edmark our TF commander under Task Force Col. Lovelady of the 3 Armored Div. Commanded by Maj. Gen. Rose Of the First Army.
On the way into the small village we had paused by a large villa and the people inside had asked for help for the wounded. several of our men went inside with a first aid kit and were applying first aid until I came in and told them to leave the medical supplys and mount up and go forward. Bill Whitten told me later he had applied first aid to a baby in a crib. The baby turned out to be Monique Thonton who was found alive under her dead Mother in a barn. The German SS had hearded 16 Belgium Civilians in a barn and shot them all. Monique had 5 bullet holes in her thighs.
We set up our equipment in a house with Task Force Commander Lt. Edmark and mounted our three 30 cal. machines guns in the windows and sat up all night waiting for the SS to come back. But they did not hit us again until late next day and again the following. We thought hell had really broken loose as they came at us with tank fire machine guns and artillery. We held on until Xmas. eve when at 11pm our forces broke through to us. The war was over for me as I had been hit by tank fire and had to be evacuated for a stay of 8 months in hospitals.
About 7 miles East other GIs weren't faring so good as 120 including 11 of our Spearhead recon were herded into a field at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy and shot several times killing 84, 4 of these being from our own recon. The SS had already murdered 71 GIs the day before. There were 167 civilians' atrocities in the Stavlot area including 24 in Parfondruy. After the war Col. Peiper went on trail and was sentenced to death, but was set free after ten years. He retired to the French Mountains but was killed in the late 70's.
When Paul Klein drove up he parked his car near the bridge and walked up the same way as he had forty-five years ago. He hugged me as he said he remembered me during l944. We walked to his grandfather's old house and it was painful for him to talk about his dead family. When I asked where He had come from in 1944,he told me he and 50-60 others had been hiding in a cellar for five days and would not come out until the second day we arrived because they wanted to make sure we were Americans in U S uniforms. They would send the kids out for apples. Paul sneaked out the day before and when he saw his dead grandfather with his feet sticking out the front door he hurried back. They then made a quick visit to see their dead relatives and escaped to the village of Moline du Rue.
Paul said they would have been killed also if we had not taken the town. He then showed me the plaque near the little church named St.Lucie across the bridge where they had gathered for five years to worship during the Germany occupation.. It had 24 names including Monique's mother, Paul's family and his 3 cousins Killed in a house near where I was wounded. I had remembered these events but never told anyone because I knew it would be hard for anyone to believe.
43 years later, a Historian named Henri Rogister, had a letter put in our 3 A D Assn. newsletter asking if any one was in Parfondruy and had seen a 2 year baby girl named Monique Marquett. I answered saying I was there and what happened, and drew a map. saying I had seen a boy and little girl. After months of correspondence with Monique and she wrote that the SS had ushered her mother and 15 other people in a barn and shot them. She was the only survivor found two days later half-frozen with 5 bullet holes in her thighs. She was taken to the villa Epilogue and was sure she was there when our FO section stopped and gave first aid .One of our guys, Bill Whiten called me and said he remembered giving first aid to a baby in a crib in 1944.
After 18 months of correspondence with Monique and Henri Rogester, My wife Margaret and I decided to accept an invitation to visit. We rented a house for a month in Stavelot across the street from Monique, flew to Frankfort, Germany rented a car and drove to Stavlot.
We were escorted around the battle sights in the Ardennes by Historians and Committee people. We attended affairs and were given gifts and plaques one of which were in honor of the 3 AD capture of Malempre, on Jan. 3, l945. We made two trips to Stolberg, Germany to visit with Historian Gunther von Der Weiden and was escorted to old battle sights and the" dragon teeth"
where with Task Force Lovelady we had captured the first German town and bridged the Ziegfried line on September 12, l944.
We capped our trip off by spending three days in the Wisbaden-Frankford area visiting our Spearhead museum and five days in Paris. Our visit had been a wonderful experience and we promised everyone we would be back at least for the 50 th. years later Historians Henri Rogister of Liege and Eddy Monfort of Malempre, Belgium visited with us for 22 days for meetings on the B.O.B. with several Historians and Bill Merriken, a survivor of the Malmedy Massacre. We toured the East Coast with State B.O.B. meetings and flew to Reno Ne. where they were our guest of honor at the 3 AD reunion for 5 days. They then flew to Seattle, Wash. for meetings with other veterans.
One of the highlights of their trip was a visit with Col. Lovelady in Orlando, FL. and in Birmingham, Ala. where over 50 attended a luncheon for them and a reunion with friend Charles Hunter.
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