This Blog is about the World War II 109th Combat Engineers of the 34th Infantry Division who served in North Africa and Italy. Send your stories or photos to email@example.com and we will add them to the blog.
January 26, 2009
Company A - Welby Mathew King
"3rd Platoon Co. A 109 Engr. Combat Bn. Taken After African Campaign July, 1943."
Sgt Lyle Haug & Welby Mathew King
John Leslie King
I am glad to make you acquaintance, Craig. I attach the two photos I mentioned. They appear to have been taken on the same day, probably by John Mackenson.
The only information the archivist had on them was penciled on the back of the group photo. It reads, "3rd Platoon Co. A 109 Engr. Combat Bn. Taken After African Campaign July, 1943." My father is in the middle of the back row, and I think Sgt. Haug is to his right in the picture. For the record, the pointer to the two pictures below is http://www.lib.utk.edu/spcoll/manuscripts/ms2012fa.html
These photo files have been reduced in size so as to not tie up too much bandwidth. The quality of the prints, however, is not likely to yield a lot more detail from increased scanning resolution. The originals are between 17 and 19mb each. If you would like higher resolution files, you can download them from the following links, but it will take a while:
Sgt. Haug was my father's Staff Sgt. for a time. I am currently pulling together materials related to my father's time in WW II. Among the things I have gathered are two photographs taken by John C. Mackenson, also of the 109th Engineers -- one a large group photo and another of Sgt. Haug and my father. They are part of the special collections at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The special collections librarian there kindly scanned them for me and sent them to me.
There is more material on the 109th Engineers there, and I plan at some point to visit the archive. In the mean time, I would like to send the photos I have to Sgt. Haug if possible, and would be glad to send the materials I have to you when they are more fully organized, should you want to have them.
If you are not aware, my father died in 1991 and is buried at the National Cemetery in Riverside, CA. My mother, Dorothy Nolan King, died in 1995 and is buried with him there.
I've read the first and second books of Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle. If you haven't read them, I recommend them. They cover the North African and Italian campaigns, and make frequent mention of the 34th Infantry and the combat engineers (although not the 109th directly). The second book ends with the capture of Rome.
The Fifth Army fought on, of course, and Atkinson's third book will cover that time. But that did not involve my father. He was rotated home right around the time of Rome's liberation and the launch of the Normandy invasion. He was an OCS instructor in Virginia until the war ended.
I will be accumulating more photos as time goes on, now that I have all of the photo archives from my parents. It will take time to go through the 18 boxes I have, though. In the mean time, I've accumulated quite a bit of documentary information that I'd be happy to share if you or anyone else is interested. I'll probably be at this project for some time. I appreciate the effort you're making to preserve this important history. I don't have much to put up on the blog right now, but that will change in time.
As to my father's death, thanks for the kind words. In fact, both he and my mother went just the way they told me and my siblings they wanted to go -- all at once, no suffering, no decline. I wasn't in a position to argue with that.