This blog is dedicated to my father, Edward Alden Johnson (1915-2001), who served in the U.S. Army during the entire duration of World War II and then some–from the time he joined the Texas National Guard Unit in San Antonio, Texas, in September 1940 until his discharge at Camp Shanks, NY, on October 18, 1945.

It also aims to honor–and hopefully provide information to their children and grandchildren–the 185 or so brave men who served with him in the 111th Ordnance Company, Medium Maintenance. After various types of training in the United States and Canada, the men were sent to Wales, Great Britain, as part of the preparations for the invasion of Normandy. They arrived on Omaha Beach shortly after D-Day and made their way across Europe through Northern France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany by the spring of 1945. They lost just two men, both of whom drowned while on a boat on the Weser River, near Brake in northern Germany, just days after V-E Day in May 1945.

The unit was originally part of the 36th Infantry Division. In France, the unit was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division and ultimately came under the Ninth Army.

In the fall of 2013, my husband, Ed Sutcliffe, and I decided to return to Wales and–based on the information on the backs of photos we found and the timeline we developed–follow my father’s route in WWII, from Wales across the Channel to Normandy, Northern France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. The first few posts of this blog provide background; as we traveled through Europe in October 2013, we described what we learned there. Posts from November 2013 talk about our search (thanks to the Internet) for survivors of the unit and contacts with them and their children, a search that will continue for a long time to come.

–Andrea Sutcliffe

  1. mom says:

    Very amazing and interesting. What a tribute to the men, especially your father.

  2. Dan Turner says:

    Hello, my name is Dan Turner. My father served in the 111th! I was told by my sister about your website. A letter was mailed to her by someone here on the website concerning my father who passed in 2011. His name was Cpl. Marcus Frank Turner. I noticed he was mentioned in the article titled, “Story of the 111th: Memories of Roland Unangst” This is amazing. I’ve searched for years in vain trying to discover information about my fathers unit during World War II. I thank you so much for starting this website! I have pictures and information to share from my Dads material he saved after the war. Who do I need to contact to help? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Andrea says:

      Dan, thanks so much. This is so exciting and is the reason my husband and I stsrted this project. I will send you an email privately to tell you how to send me things.

  3. Dan Turner says:

    Fantastic! Thank you so much!

  4. Peggy Roethel says:

    Thoroughy enjoyed your site — the history, the pictures, your travels…truly a labor of love! Keep up the excellent work! Having a father who also served in the war but not so fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear his stories, your blog was more than informative.
    Peggy Roethel

  5. Glenn Booker says:

    I am most interested in the US presence in south Wales during WW2!
    Glenn Booker

  6. T. R. says:

    I am a young French student interested in the Falaise Gap battle.
    I would gladly get in touch with you to discuss some of the photographs you posted on your blog.
    You have done a fabulous job, thanks for sharing your researches with us!
    Feel free to contact me by email.


  7. James W. Mason says:

    This is a cool page.. My grandfather was James T Mason, and unforntunately died before i became mature enough to ask about his work in World War Two.. Have just ordered 5 books to give to various family memebers. As someone who still misses thier grandfather and a veteran, thank you and your husband very much.. If there is any information you might have on him i would be gratefull for it. As for me, i only have a few sparce artifacts (a set of tags hammered in lava rock from Vesuvius) and one or two stories..

    Again, thank you very much and have a great day..
    James W. Mason

  8. Laura S. says:

    My grandfather was Peter Patrick, Jr. He is on your roster, but he was from Binghamton NY, there is no “p” in the name. Grandpa never talked about his time in WW2, and now it is too late to ask. Thank you for your website.

  9. patrick osborn jr says:

    Mutual friend Sergio Gomez looked me up at my Mom’s funeral.
    Would like to touch base and see if we have any info or pictures you can use.
    Just ordered your book on Amazon.

  10. Krishinda Bledsoe says:

    This is a wonderful website. Thank you for sharing your family’s story! We are trying to find out more about my Grandfather’s WWII division and route. We have a photo with a patch that led us to your page. We understand his records were destroyed in fire years ago, but we have some photos and newspaper articles from the local paper that quote his letters to his wife. He was part of the D-Day invasion and we know he was in Cherbourg, Avarachen and Granville toward Brest. We have a photo of him by a sign that says N 403 Fort de Vaux with an arrow that with a 6 next to it and an arrow pointing in the same direction that says Verdun 11. We would love it if anyone knows anything about this. His name was SSGT Loren Lund. Thank you.

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