Private Edward Webber Jr.
– Company L, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division –
Edward Webber Jr was born in 1919 at Stone Bluff, Oklahoma.
He spent his early days before the war working in the oil fields. He married his girlfriend Juanita in Wagoner, Oklahoma in 1939 and their daughter Janice was born in 1940. Edward was drafted in 1944 and took basic training at Fort Robinson, near Little Rock, Arkansas. From there he was placed on Ordnance and began training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. This was in December 1944 when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. The Army then needed more infantrymen in Europe so he was placed in the Infantry and sent to Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Maxey, Texas. He set sail for Europe from New York Harbor aboard the British Ocean Liner “Aquitania” on February 24th, 1945, the day his son Eddie was born.
After an eight day Atlantic voyage that docked at Liverpool, England they were trucked to Southampton for the shuttle across the English Channel to Le Havre in France. Near Le Havre they were processed at Camp Lucky Strike. From here they boarded the “forty and eight” box cars (forty men or eight horses) for the railroad trip to Verviers in Belgium. From Verviers they were issued bayonets and additional ammunition and started out on trucks for the front lines. Private Webber wrote in his diary “there was a lot of laughing and joking on the trucks. But soon we began to pass dead bodies and see Artillery flashes in the distance. The laughing stopped and a strange stillness fell over the group“.
Traveling over roads clogged with vehicles, they arrived early in the afternoon in the vicinity of Remagen. After de-trucking they trekked through Remagen towards the Rhine River and the Ludendorff Bridge. At 3:30pm March 9th, Private Webber began crossing the bridge under terrific noise and chaos. Artillery shells were falling everywhere. German aircraft were bombing and strafing the bridge. Red hot flack from their own anti-aircraft guns rained down. The wounded were screaming ‘medic’. What a way to start fighting the war. Once across, Webber’s group was met by guides who led them to their units. Being a replacement, Private Webber was assigned to Company L, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. From here, Private Webber participated in some of the brutal battles that took the lives of many of the 9th Infantry Division’s men. Even though the war was about to end two months later, the battles fought were far from easy. Private Webber witnessed the killing of several of his friends up close, in terrible ways and remembered this in high detail for the rest of his life. Stephen Ambrose wrote a short story from Private Webber in his book “Citizen Soldiers”.
Eddie, Edward’s son has done extensive research to the actions of the 47th Infantry Regiment, and collected this in a manuscript. He also designed two wonderful tribute patches that can be found on the Commemorative Patches page on this website.
Private Edward Webber passed away in July 1976 from a massive heart attack at San Bernardino, California.
His actions will never be forgotten.