William E. Adams

Private William E. Adams
– Company C, 15th Combat Engineers Battalion, 9th Infantry Division –

Private William E. Adams

Private William E. Adams

William Earl Adams was born on August 14th, 1922 in Batavia, Ohio to Mr. G.W. and Lillie Adams.

He was raised in Winchester, Kentucky, attending Winchester City Schools and Christian Church. He and His younger brother, Gordon Ishmael, were both inducted into the U.S. Army at Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. They trained to become U.S. Army Engineers in November of 1943 at the Army Engineers Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

His brother Gordon went on to serve with the 1254 Engineer Combat Battalion in Holland.  William was assigned to the “Old Reliables” of the US Army’s 9th Infantry Division, who became known as “Hitler’s Nemesis.” Serving with the 15th Engineer Battalion, Company C., he left Camp Reynolds, Pennsylvania and sailed for Europe in May of 1944.  Landing in Winchester, England, the 15th Engineers prepared for the Normandy Invasion.  Landing on Utah Beach on the 10th of June, the battalion continued to take Cherbourg, and later was involved in the St. Lo breakthrough. They fought across France to the Germany where they penetrated the Siegfried line. After this,  Private Adams found himself fighting in the Battle for the Hurtgen Forest.

On October 6th, 1944 the 39th and the 60th Infantry regiments, to which William had been assigned, began their first attacks on Schmidt. 8 days later, on October 14th. 1944, Private William E. Adams was listed as M.I.A. and remained so until the 13th of April, 1945. Additional information received from SR&D revealed that he became M.I.A. near Germeter and the Todten-Bruch area, where he had gone to remove a road block, when a mine exploded. The entire squad were casualties. Cause of death given as K.I.A. direct hit by artillery fire.

Private Adams’ photo appeared that day on the front page of the Winchester Sun, in the right column, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared in the left column as they had both passed on to their eternal reward.

Silver Star Citation – Dated 26 November 1944:
“Private William E. Adams, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, who distinguished himself by gallantry in action and disregard for personal safety on 14 October 1944 during the operations in Germany, which reflects highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. Entered military service from Kentucky.”

Private Adams was first laid to rest at the Henri-Chapelle U. S. Military Cemetery #1 in Belgium at Plot T, Row 7, Grave 124. He was then repatriated upon the request of His Mother, Lillie W. Adams to Winchester, Kentucky on 4 October 1947. Escorted Home by Tech Sgt. Jack H. Jones, they arrived at Columbus, Ohio on 8 November 1947. PVT William E. Adams was laid to rest with full Military Honors by American Legion Post 19, at a family plot in Winchester Cemetery, Winchester Ky. under the direction of D.B. Scobee Funeral Home.

William E. Adams tombstone

Private William E. Adams tombstone

Private William E. Adams has the tombstone inscription “Gave His Life for His Country to Germany” as requested by his family.

His sacrifice will never be forgotten.


Thank you to Ronald Gayle Burrus, Jr.who wrote this story for AWON: http://www.awon.org/awadams.html.
Tombstone picture by Raymond Patrick on www.findagrave.com