Pfc. John Crawford
John With His Wife
John J. Crawford's
career in the Army began December 23,1943 at New Cumberland, PA
where he was processed for six days and classified as a clerk. He
then went to Fort Brag, N.C. for 17 weeks of basic training. After
Basic, some of his group went to Kentucky. He was sent to Camp
Atterbury, Indiana. He became part of 106th Division assigned to
590th Field Artillery. After this training, he went to Fort
Miles Standish, and later left Boston for England and landing in
Liverpool. After three weeks, he left on a L.S.T for Roen, France.
On Dec.10th, 1944 Jack and his crew arrived at their position
relieving the 2nd Division. Their positions had already been set up
for them. It was quiet for a few days. They seemed to become
confused, moving to different positions. On the morning of December
19th they were shelled heavily. They were in a valley surrounded by
trees. As John came out of the woods, his unit was told to throw
down their guns. This was 12/19/44
Luckily John ran back and got his overcoat as they marched for three
days in the bitter cold. At night they slept huddled together to
keep warm. They were finally packed into boxcars for more traveling.
John's group was bombed one night by their Allies who did not know
they were in the cars. Their Sergeant managed to climb out open the
doors and they all scrambled for cover until it was over.
On Christmas day, they arrived at their destination, Stalag IX-B,
Bad Orb, Germany. Johnís first meal was grass soup. Later they
received potato soup, which was a little better.
There was very little food, showers were few, and body lice were
plentiful. After a shower, they put the same clothes back on. The
toilet was a hole in the floor.
One night a German guard was killed in the kitchen. John and others
were forced to line up outside until the man was discovered. John
got the flu for about a week and was sent to the hospital barracks.
Some of the guys gave him extra blankets for his suffering.
John's group received a few Red Cross packages, which were divided
up among the men. One man used to sing the Don McNeil Breakfast Club
theme song to cheer the group up. Johnís camp was finally liberated
on April 2nd, 1945, the day after Easter. John stayed for another
week to help out, during which time he was asked to guard a couple
of the German guards. They were older men and really scared.
On Johns return they came back through Camp Lucky Strike where there
was plenty of food waiting for them and sailed from LeHarve, France
for the U.S.A. to Camp Kilmer and later to Ft. Dix, N.J. were John
received a 60 day furlough and later returned to Asheville, N.C. and
then to Camp Swift, Texas, where he was discharged on November 23rd,
He later married Theresa (Heisse) on September 11, 1948 and had 3
sons and 3 daughters. They now have 3 grandsons and 5