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Friday, September 11, 2015

Chapter 11- Margraten American Cemetery

Margraten American Cemetery
William Allen
Plot E
Row 2
Grave 1


When a U.S. soldier is killed in action, the family has a choice of where they wish to have the body interred. The body of the fallen soldier can be sent back to the family’s local cemetery, taken to Arlington National Cemetery, or put to rest in American military cemetery nearest where the soldier was killed. The family of William Allen, chose to have his remains buried in Margraten American Cemetery.


The U.S. military leaders had promised not to have any Americans buried on enemy soil. So any soldier, such as Bill, who was killed in Germany was brought back to Margraten. The majority of soldiers in Margraten were soldiers brought back from Germany. Margraten is located 408 miles from Berlin, 13 miles from the German border, and 4,390 miles from Alta, Illinois.

With the intense fighting in the area of the Belgium, Holland, and German borders, there was a huge number of causalities. There was a need for the development of a cemetery in the region. The book From Farmland to Soldiers Cemetery by Mieke Kirkels and Jo Purnot describes the immense task of developing the Margraten American Cemetery (The Netherlands American Cemetery).

Much of the land was a farm owned by the Prevoo family. Their son described, ”One morning when they went to harvest the rye, there was not a single spring of rye to be seen; the Americans had already started to bury their dead there.”  (From Farmland to Soldiers Cemetery, p.22)

The burial work during the war fell mainly on African-American soldiers. Jeff Wiggins, an African-American soldier, remembers,” We were all black Americans and we were apparently put to work there because they thought that we were uniquely suited for that kind of work. We were uneducated, hadn’t learned any skills and we had a strong back. They didn’t let us fight: I think that was because they were afraid to put a gun into the hands of people that had been oppressed for so long. And we, young black soldiers, buried all those white soldiers. I often thought, as a did others: “if only they would give us a gun, then we’d finish the job together. The sooner the war is over the sooner we can go home.’ I didn’t bury a single black soldier.” P.46)

By March of 1946, the total bodies at Margraten was 17,742 Americans, 1,026 other Allies, 700 Russians, and 3,075 Germans.  It was decided in April of 1947 by the Secretary of War to make this a permanent cemetery. At this time the German bodies were exhumed and taken to Ysselsteyn where over 31,000 Germans are buried. 1,026 Allies were taken to their own countries to be reburied. The Russians were removed to Amersfoort.

With the closing of other cemeteries, additional American bodies were brought in to raise the American total to over 18,000. Approximately 10,000 bodies were then repatriated to U.S. from Margraten. All total over 170,000 U.S. soldiers were repatriated to U.S.

“At the end of 1948 the gigantic task commenced: All Americans who had been buried were to be exhumed again. Civilians who were paid by the American government were hired to do the work. Because there was hardly any work to be had at the time, many inhabitants of Margraten and the surrounding area reported to the cemetery. Some did not come of their own free will and others came against their better judgment, but they all had to put bread on the table. The civilians had to open the graves to the depth where the body lay, after which the Americans removed the body from the grave. Only a few civilians had access to the tents and sheds where the bodies were “unpacked”, clothing was removed and the bodies were put in basins. Back rubber gloves were used to prevent contamination. Employees were also given pills that were to be taken daily. Nevertheless people often had to be taken to the hospital with signs of cadaver poisoning.” (p.14, From Farmland to Soldiers Cemetery)

“As many as 8,301 Americans found their last resting place at Margraten. The caskets were placed in the typical fan shape that is still there today, after which the caskets were covered with soil. Until that time each casket was covered with the American flag. While these mass burials were taking place, a remembrance ceremony was held every evening.” (p.15)

In 1949 the job was finished and the U.S. Army turned the grounds over to the American Battlefield Monument Commission.

Albert Smaha an American officer later says, “I didn’t talk about Margraten for a good many years. Looking at the pictures I can see how beautiful it became. It is still not easy to talk about it, but that makes it easier.” (p.43)

Today the land is immaculately cared for. Wiel Frints describes the care of the lawn that makes it so beautiful, “The lawns were mowed twice a week. One time, they would leave the cut grass on the lawn, the next time it would be removed.” (p.159)

Families can order flowers to be placed on the graves. The flowers are kept for exactly one week.

The Netherlands celebrates Memorial Day on May 4 each year. There is a huge ceremony to honor the soldiers at the Margraten American Cemetery. Local school children place flags of either The Dutch or United States on the over 8,000 graves. Estimates are that as many as 5,000 to 8,000 have attended the services. In the 1950’s there were close to 500 veterans who would return for the service. Today there are usually between 30-40 who return for the service.

Each of the 8,000 graves have been “adopted” by local people. The local citizens from generation to generation, take responsibility for caring for each grave. Many of these local citizens take flowers to the grave and attend the Memorial Day service.

In the case of William Allen and Robert Arnold, the Goettgens family adopted their graves. The Goettgens had been the family who had hosted mainly Robert, but on some occasions also William in their home. So starting in the late 1940’s up to today, this family has maintained the care of the two graves. After the death of her parents, daughter Pauline has maintained the care up today. Frans and Pauline Roukens have honored the two fallen soldiers since the 1960’s. It is a unique situation, Pauline as a small girl had actually met both of the soldiers when they visited her home.

Starting in the late 1940’s, the Goettgens first and then later the Roukens have hosted members of the Allen’s on approximately ten different visits to Margraten. The first to visit Margraten, were Lura (William’s mother) and Beth (Robert’s widow and William’s sister). They visited in 1948. The Supt. of the Margraten American Cemetery said they were one of first from America to visit.

The Allen family and the Goettgens (Roukens) families had a period of time in the 1960’s and 1970’s where they lost contact because of family changes of address. It was William’s nephew, Brian who when stationed in the 1980’s “found” the Roukens again. Since that time, the two families have maintained contact.

In the next part, I have included three letters which give a perspective on this relationship. Brian Allen describes the process of becoming reconnected. Then there are two letters- one from Pauline Rouken and one from Frans Rouken, who share their experiences as children in World War II. These two letters help one understand why a family would for 70 years take the responsibility of honoring two fallen soldiers.



The following is an excerpt from Brian Allen’s recollection of the reconnection:

“I'm afraid it wasn't as dramatic as going to the mayor.  First, just to be accurate, the connection to the Roukens (actually the Goettgens family - Pauline's family) was really through Uncle Bob - Elizabeth's first husband. His unit was encamped on the grounds of a coal mine where Pauline's father was the chief engineer. As often happened, the American GIs made friends with the Dutch families and it was a mutually beneficial relationship. The families did the soldiers' laundry and cooked meals and the soldiers got food and some other things that they could get to the family. It happened that Uncle Bob and the Goettgens family established a relationship.”  
“According to Pauline they had met Uncle Bill on at least one occasion, but he and Uncle Bob were in different units, so I can't imagine he spent a lot of time there. Uncle Bob was killed in February of 1945 in the fighting around Aachen, so it wasn't unusual that he would have been interred in Margraten. Uncle Bill wasn't killed til April, so it was kind of a coincidence that he should be interred in the same cemetery. After the war a lot of the families had the bodies of loved ones shipped back to the United States, but apparently the Allens decided not to do that.”

“A couple of years after the war, Grandma Allen and Elizabeth went to Europe to visit the cemetery. At that time they met with the family, and Pauline was pretty much their translator. She and Elizabeth stayed in touch for some time, but gradually stopped corresponding. Just before we moved to Germany, we stopped in Mahomet to see Elizabeth and Tom. Elizabeth started digging around in a box and came up with the invitation to Pauline and Frans' wedding, which was about the last correspondence she had from Pauline. It had an address on it, so she gave it to us on the off chance that we could get in touch with them.”

“We got to Europe in summer of 1987. In October of that year we decided to go to visit Margraten, and we took the address with us. After visiting the cemetery, we went into Kerkrade, the town where Pauline's family had lived and where the address was. We went to the tourist office in town to find someone who spoke English, and it turned out we were only a few blocks from the address. We walked to the address and rang the bell, and a fairly elderly woman came to the door. We knew she couldn't be Pauline, but she spoke no English, French or Spanish, which pretty much exhausted my linguistic abilities, so we couldn't explain who we were or what we wanted. Nonetheless, she invited us in and started making phone calls. She finally reached someone, and a few minutes later a middle-aged man came in who spoke English, and turned out to be Frans' brother. The address on the invitation had been the Roukens' family address. He gave us the address where Pauline and Frans live, so we thanked him and headed out.”

“It was getting late, but we decided that after having come that far and gone through that much, we had to find them. Of course there were no GPSs at the time, but using a map and dead reckoning, we found the Roukens' house, only to find no one home. I left a note in the door telling who we were and why we had come, and left our address in Germany. A week later we had a very nice letter from Pauline with an invitation to come for the Memorial Day Ceremony at Margraten the following year.”

“Actually we made it up for the ceremony three different years: 1988, 1989 or 90 (I don't remember which) and 1991. These ceremonies are impressive. If you are family of someone in the cemetery, you get special treatment and are seated in a special section. There are always high ranking speakers from both countries (like ambassador and cabinet level), military bands and units from both countries, they have also had choirs and there is almost always a fly over by an Air Force unit from one country or the other. When we went up for the first time, we also were invited to a reception thrown by the Lord Mayor of Kerkrade, but that was the only time we got that treat. The bottom line is that the Memorial Day Ceremonies in the US cemeteries overseas (and there are a number in Europe) are pretty impressive.”

“I don't know if the Roukens sent you all a copy of the book The Margraten Boys which describes the beginning of the cemetery and how it came about that all the graves have been adopted by Dutch families. Every grave will be decorated for Memorial Days, and many of the attendees at the ceremony are from the families. They had also sent us a book a couple of years ago that describes how much of the work of moving remains from the battlefields to Margraten, and much of the work actually developing the cemetery itself was done by the black civil engineering units and graves registration units - a legacy of the segregated military.”

Brian describes the visit of his parents, Lee and Pat, and Elizabeth in the 1980’s.
“By the time Mom and Dad and Elizabeth came over, Leni had passed away, but Alex was still alive. So for Elizabeth and Pauline and Alex, it was a reunion with someone they hadn't seen since 1948 and was a very strong link to the time right after the war. Obviously the visit to the cemetery was moving for both Dad and Elizabeth, again, more so for Elizabeth, I think. I'm pretty sure Dad ordered one of the pictures of Bill's grave that you can have done, but neither Karen or I have come across it, so I may be wrong about that. I'm going to order one while we're there this year.”

“A little sidelight about Alex (who has since passed away). During the war he was a teenager. The father of a friend of his was arrested by the Germans and apparently was executed. The family was notified to come to claim the body. Alex had his own contacts in the underground, and they told him not to let his friend go alone to claim the body, or he would just disappear. Alex went with him to claim the body, and both of them were arrested. They were sent to Germany to some sort of internment camp, from which Alex somehow escaped and made his way back to Holland. Of course once he got home, they couldn't let anyone know he was there because they didn't know who they could trust. Consequently he lived in a small room in the basement of the house for some time. Pauline remembers him spending a lot of time reading to her, and she remembers being told that she had to be very careful not to let on to anyone that he was home. It's one thing to see that kind of thing in movies or TV, but something else to talk to someone who actually lived it.”

Brian Allen





The following is a letter from Frans Roukens:

Evan,

When WWII broke out in Western Europe (May 10, 1940), I was three and a half years old. So I cannot remember much of those days. The only thing I do remember of the invasion is that in the evening of May 10, I went with my father to the center of our town in Kerkrade (that lays against the German border). There is still a street of which one side is German and the other one is Dutch, at that time and shortly after the war divided by barbed wire.

I clearly remember an enormous number of all sorts of German vehicles standing in the marketplace and streets around the market. They came from the German border and drove further on out of our town (so Belgium so I heard later).

For me as a young boy the rest of the wartime went on as if there was nothing wrong. I can’t remember having seen any German soldier. The only nasty things were the air-raids foreboded by wailing sirens. In the daytime I could see hundreds of planes, high in the sky with long vapour trails behind them. Then it was was time to leave school and run as quick as possible to a shelter. When it happened at night we had to leave our beds, pulling on clothes over our pajama’s and go to the cellar of our house. We shivered with cold and fear and prayed. Very agonizing was the night when Aachen (10 km’s from Kerkrade) was bombed by the end of the war. Dozens of bombers flew over our town to drop their bombs on the city of Archeon. The horizon was red by the fires. “Aachen is burning,” we were told at school the next morning.

War started for me, when it was nearly over for us on September 25, 1944, the day that 37,000 inhabitants of Kerkrade Est had to evacuate by order of the German occupiers.

To understand why we had to evacuate I must give some geographic information of the town of Kerkrade. It is a queer town. It exists out of two parts, Kerkrade West (10,000 inhabitants) and Kerkrade East (37,000 inhabitants). The two parts are separated by fields, a valley where a brook streams, then a forested slope and at last a railway. To from West to East, you have to drive through a tunnel or go over a winding road. So Kerkrade East is a classical example of a town that easily can be defended. So a tough task for U.S. troops.

In the beginning of September 1944, U.S. forces liberated Kerkrade West. But they hesitated to push through to Kerkrade East for they feared the strength of the German forces. The Germans had the advantage of the natural circumstances and besides the Germans didn’t want to give up Kerkrade East for then the road to Aachen was open for the U.S. forces. The U.S. forces needed time to recover and to strengthen their forces. A street by street fight was feared.

So in the middle of the night of Monday, September 25 the inhabitants of Kerchrade East were ordered to leave their houses and the town between 2:00am and noon. Only one road was available. Can you imagine what a disorder it is when so many people (37,000) with what is strictly necessary on bikes, carts, and baby carriages, etc. in an immense row? People were extremely glad that they could go to the liberated area and not to the East to Germany. Of that march I remember two special things.

Going down that winding road we passed in the valley German soldiers in their trenches. Going up the hill about 300 meters farther, there were the GI’s and the Dutch flag fluttered in the wind. The U.S. soldiers were distributing “real” chocolate, chewing gum, and many, many cigarettes. The men immediately lighted up a real cigarette became sick and some had to vomit, because they were not accustomed to real tobacco but to home-grown substance.

Further on we had to walk through the fields. The small path was full of mud that made walking difficult. About 500 meters in front of us a German grenade exploded in the crowd. We had to stop for a long time. When we passed that spot I saw 12 corpses, among whom 3 children laying along the path and many wounded persons, screaming with pain. A long row of army-ambulances came to meet us to pick up the wounded to take them to the hospital in Maastricht. We walked about 15 miles further and spent the night in a shed of a winery together with some neighbour-families. We slept in straw and stayed a week there. In the fields around that little village many U.S. soldiers had been encamped. (Many, many years later we discovered that Pauline stayed as a five year old girl at a farm next door to our shed.) After that week we went to Heerlin, where we stayed three weeks at two families. The fathers were colleagues of my father.

When we returned after 4 weeks we came home in an intact house, only the glass was out of the windows. Our neighbour’s house had been hit by a grenade and was heavily damaged. The windows were shut by mica. It lasted nearly a year before we became glass and we could look outside.

When I walked out of our street I came to a large field where U.S. soldiers were with cannons and defensive cannons against hostile air raids. As boys we liked to play around that military equipment but when the GI’s came we were severely ordered to go home because it was too dangerous in case of an attack.

Alarming was that grenades for the cannons were piled up against the houses in our street. I didn’t sleep many nights out of fear the grenades could explode.

But I was an eight year old and innocent boy, so I would go straight to heaven. So my little brother who was killed in a car accident just before my eyes two years earlier.

Those were the thoughts of a young Dutch boy by the end of the war.

Landgrasf, November 23, 2013
Frans Roukens
Landgraaf
3 December ‘13





The following are memories of Pauline Roukens:

Dear Evan, Amy, and Allen,

In reply on your letter of 21 August 13:

A very good article. Fascinating story and puts on to reflecting. Good Bible texts. Even to those who do not read the Bible, it appeals to ethic thinking.

Thinking between profession and vocation, Bill felt called upon to something higher. He put himself a higher object. He felt a serving task, because people thanked him for fighting for their freedom. Every time I am standing at their grave I feel:

I.               I can stand here because he gave his young life for me, my parents.
II.             I could start my life after 1945 and have been able to live it for 74 years.

Bill’s life stopped, he was not able to exercise his profession anymore, he could not marry and didn’t become children. When his brother-in-law was killed, he was fully aware of this still more. He felt the approach of his end and this declares his sad radiation that I felt as a six year old child in his presence in our living room.

At my age of 74 years old, I begin to understand a bit what Bill thought and felt. He had much inner struggle and loneliness. That loneliness I begin to understand now. He was also a human being who saw when his fellow soldiers needed some extra attention. That is why he went to fetch the meal and took back the used utensils. From his position, he didn’t need to do that, but he just did it for them.

Bill did something commor for them but it really was something exceptional, something additional to motivate and to support them. He and his brother-in-law were like you Evan called it: “serving people.” I call them “exceptional” people and that is why my husband and I go to those two guys in Margraten, keeping up Memorial Day and other days, laying rose when making a walk in the environ. For us they belong to our life, to the freedom thanks to their fighting for us. Next Memorial Day I will say at his grave: “Bill, it was not for nothing.” And that is what we will pass for them to our child, wittingly our grandchild our friends. We take them with us to Margraten and tell about them.

I urge them to read the book about Margraten Boys of Professor Schrijvers, so they will realize how war and sorrow was for American families to lose a husband or son, or like the Allen family to lose two family members just before the end of the war. At my voluntary work at school there is a group of students of Defense Division called for Safety and Homeland. They will join the army for at least six years. I draw their attention to Margraten and I advise them to pay a visit to the cemetery to make them aware of what their choice of profession may mean.

My father was a mining engineer and working as a superintendant on the Domaniale Mine, the oldest mine of Europe. Since 1100 the monks of the Abbey of Rolduc in Kerkrade had started to dig coal in surface mining. This Domaniale Mine was in 1944-5 place of a division of Major Robert (Arnold) and there he met my father who took him home to his family in Marketstreet 22, Kerkrade. And this has been repeated very often. Robert found at my parents hospitality and a warm family life, talking English with my brothers Herman and Alex and sister Geny, eating the meals my excellent cooking mother prepared, feeling without explaining that those sturdy American soldiers enjoyed the clean uniforms washed and ironed by my mother and sisters. For that reason he took sometimes William (Allen) with him, suffering from home-sickness. Shortly they felt treated like one of the family.

My very first war memories (at probably 3 ½) was laying in my bed and heard marching, stamping steps. It was summer, early in the morning. My father, in his pajama’s was standing in the open window, looking down, saying to my mother, “There are coming the Germans.” I didn’t know what that meant.

First of all the air-raid alarm nearly always in the middle of the night. In a very quick time all the family members present at that moment had to put on their winter clothes. Running to the cellar. In our house there were 4 cellars. In the first, next to the stairs was standing a simple wooden bench. With noise of the wailing sirens and low-flying airplanes, we took place. I was sitting stiff and fearful, next to my mother. Sometimes if he was at home, I was between my dad and mama. The other children were sitting in another cellar, also on such a bench.  

This bench was situated next to pile of coal. This pile my father had stocked up before a small, low, iron door in the wall, made by workmen of the mine. This little door gave entrance to the wine cellar of our neighbours. They had a licensed victuallershop. Along their cellar walls were racks within were laying and standing wine casks and hundreds of wine bottles. Between the racks was a camping bed, that was nearly to be seen.

On that, my brother Alex (21 years old) was laying most of the day and night time. Because he had been escaped from German imprisonment in Berlin. He was a student in Nymegen as he was arrested for propagating  and distributing resistance pamphlets. He had been transported to an arms factory where he had to work. He was treated badly and became ill.

In one way or another he succeeded in sending a message to my father. With help of the Dutch resistance (and it must be said, of some good German connections of my father), he succeeded in an escape from Berlin. In a night my brother arrived by feet (from Berlin!!) in Herzongenrath, the little town near Kerkrade, where was one side of the street German territory and the other side behind the meter high barbed wire Dutch territory.

On German side he climbed over the wire. On Dutch side my father was standing. As my mother always told me, my brother fainted in the arms of my father, who carried him on his shoulders to my elderly house in Marketstreet (about 2 ½ km’s).

Our neighbours and my parents had a knocking signal: 3 times knocking on our kitchen wall: the Germans are coming to visit (=inquire) our home and cellars: “open the gate.” In the highest speed someone ran downstairs shoveled away the coal, opened the gate, my brother went in, door closed, coal again shoveled in front of the gate. Where my brother hid was a secret from me, so I couldn’t betray.

My mother had told me in a very severe way that Alex had now a new name. He was named now Johan and if the German soldiers came and asked him, I had always to say, “Johan is in Berlin.” If my brother was in our home, safety measures went in the other way in reverse. The knocking signal was 2 times knocking on our kitchen wall. I am still always thinking that it is a God’s miracle that all went well.

One afternoon there was a raid of two German soldiers. In a hurry Mother dragged me to her bedroom and jumped under the blankets. I had to do the same, totally dressed. Just in time because the soldier opened the door and stared at us. In my memory it seems like that took a long time. The other soldier ran through the house. Finally he turned and went downstairs. I felt the fear of my mother and I also was very afraid. Without a word said to me, we went again downstairs.

Of the evacuation, one day we had to leave the house on Marketstreet. I was allowed to take my beloved patch work doll with me. I had to sit on the carrier of my brother’s bike. He didn’t like that, so every time I fell down to earth. At last I went hadn in hand with my mother. On a certain point of the long, long way, my father came with a driver from the coal mine and picked up my mother and me. He took my mother and me to a private address in Kerkrade West- to a couple without children, an ex-miner. On the ceiling the man had an aviary with tens of birds.

Every day I had to go upstairs with him to look after these birds, making a lot of noise in the their cages. I didn’t like this. I found it creepy, but didn’t dare to tell my mother. Luckily my father came to us and brought news from him and the other children. They had been brought to a farm where they had to work in the fields and at night sleep on the straw with tens of other young ones. My mother got very angry and said to my father he had to take care for of another address to stay. She liked to have her family all together and no “Sodom and Gomorrah” like sleeping at night in the straw with others.    

There was another farmer’s family in Kunrade (a village near Heerlen) who could adopt a complete family, but my father had to pay them 100 guilders a month. So we came to this farm. My sisters and future sister-in-law had a room on the ceiling, and the boys also. I slept on two wooden arm chairs pushed together, two pillows on it, and one blanket.

During night as I turned, the chairs shove out and I fell on the floor. My father always had to come out of bed to pick me up and restore my bed, sometimes three times per night. Then he became angry and said, ”It is the last time.” Stiff as a shelf I laid the rest of the night.

In the meadows American soldiers were encamped. Every evening two or three of them came and took an evening meal with the farmer and us. And so we made the acquaintance of James Poinsatte from Fort Wayne in Indiana. He played with me, carried me on his shoulders, and named me his little girl friend. I really can say he lightened my evacuation days between all those grown up people. He had also a warm friendship with my parents. After the war he visited them two times until in the 1980’s. But he never wanted to go to Margraten. He couldn’t because so many of his companions were laying there.

Everyone of the family had a task on the farm. My brothers and sisters had to work in the fields, to bring or fetch the cows in from the fields.  Once a cow ran away and dragged my sister with him over the street and through the mud. She was very upset. On another day a German pilot crashed with his airplane in the fields during when my father and other family members were working there.

My mother and the fiancé peeled pails and pails of potatoes. I observed, so she told me. I told the fiancé that she made them better and and thinner than Mother. She told that for years and years! Daily I asked one of the three farmers daily I asked one of the three daughters of the farmers if I might accompany them to feed the pigs and prepare their meal. Always hands on my back, I observed and thinking of the smell and odor of the food.

Everyday in the afternoon my mother took a little knife and we went together upstairs to one of the ceilings where apples and pears were laying and had been spread out. She peeled then a pear for me. Never I have eaten a more delicious pear!

Some years ago we discovered that during evacuation, Frans had been several times in the neighbour’s house. At that time we shared already destiny together!

As we returned home after the evacuation, our house in Marketstreet was very disordered. American soldiers had been living there. And of course they used the little gate to the neighbour’s wine cellars. My mother’s pots and pans were in an other house, but I can’t remember there was said any plaintive words. My parents educated me with a lot of respect for the Americans as our liberators and bringing peace.

After Brian (Allen) found out in 1985 where Frans and I were living, I renewed immediately the contact and writing with Elizabeth. She came with Pat and Lee and Brian in 1988. We had already been corresponding for three years. So for me that was the moment in which became the reality of fulfilling of a wish of mine. Elizabeth was more than a friend for me. Pat and Lee wrote such cordial letters and became also a part of my life.

Beaucoup d’amities, je t’embrasse et salutations pous Amy et Allen,


Pauline

Original wooden cross on Bill Allen's grave.

1948 visit by Lura Allen, Pauline's sister, Elizabeth, Pauline, Pauline's mother, Pauline's father, brother-Alex.

1948- Elizabeth at Bob Arnold's grave.

Pauline with a G.I.

1980's visit by Lee, Pualine's father, Pat

1980's reunion with the Goettgens.

1980's Reunion with the Goettgens.

1990's- Ben and Ruth Allen
In 2013, Frans Roukens greeting Allen Massey at the Maastricht train station.

In 2013 at Bill Allen's grave- Mary Lemon, Amy Massey, Allen Massey, Frans Roukens, Pauline Roukens, Amanda Robertson.

In 2013 at Bill Allen's grave- Bill's great-nephew, Allen Massey wipes sand from Omaha Beach to make the letters readable.

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Lura and Benton Allen's tombstone in Mt. Hawley Cemetery outside Peoria has information about William Allen and Robert Allen at the bottom of their stone.

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