Horace Frederiksen - Remembering WWII

Frederiksen

I, Horace Delbert Frederiksen, was born in Kilgore, Idaho on the Frederiksen ranch August 31, 1924, to Hans Edward and Leah Virginia McGovern Frederiksen.

I was raised in Kilgore, where I also attended the Kilgore School, and went on to Spencer for my last two years of high school and graduation in 1942.

The next year I stayed at the ranch.

World War II started in 1941 and in 1944 I was drafted by the Clark County Draft Board. I went into the army at Fort Douglas, Utah in June of 1944. From there I went to Fort McClellan, Alabama for basic training in the infantry for 17 weeks. I then came back home for a 10-day delay enroute to Fort Mead, Maryland and on to Camp Shanks, New York. From there I boarded a ship for Marcea, France. We landed on December 23, 1944. I went into a combat unit right after landing and was captured by the Germans, January 17, 1945. When we were captured they had flown the entire ship load of us there as replacement troops for the infantry division because they had just been through a battle up in the Hurtkin Forest and they had lost most of their men. I was in the 6th replacement 6 months from D Day (they’d completely replaced these companies 6 times), that’s once a month, and there were very few men there. A private became our squad sergeant the day we arrived. He’d been through one battle so we were green troops, which is part of the reason for my capture. I was not in a regular prison camp until the last two weeks, they just took you out to work camps and put you to work under guard. We were not listed with the Red-Cross as prisoners until about two weeks before we were liberated.

My parents didn’t know where I was or whether I was even alive until I sent a cablegram from Paris while at the hospital. I was at Stalag 12A at Lindbergh, Germany in a prison camp. We weren’t liberated right in the camp. They took us out one night and put us on a train, (in box car), 50 men to a car, about 1,000 of us. They moved us about 20 miles in 6 days and 7 nights and we stayed in the railroad car. There wasn’t even room enough for us all to lay down all at once. You received bread and water once a day. That old black bread was the staple food fed to you all the time you were there (8 men to a loaf of bread). We got out of that box car and they told anybody who could walk 8 kilometers (5miles) to get out. About 800 of us walked without knowing what they were going to do with us. We walked all that day and all that night stopping to rest only once in a while. They were trying to march us further back into Germany so they could get more work out of us, but they were cut off by an armored division. They couldn’t get us out, so the next day we were turned loose. Six armored divisions liberated us, they took us in trucks to Dormstead, Germany where we spent the night. We then went to Meinz, Germany to a field hospital at an airfield, then we were flown to Paris, until we were able to go home. I stayed in Paris for 35 days, I had lost 35 pounds in 70 days as a prisoner. I had amoebic dysentery, which was very difficult to get rid of. Subsequently I couldn’t gain much weight.

1946 I traveled of Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas where I was discharged from the U.S. Army.

After I was discharged I returned to Clark County spending the majority of my days in Kilgore and at the USSES where I retired in 1986. After that I began to travel in the winters.

I married Jane Javaux around 1960. We have three daughters, Alene, Valerie and Danette. After 20 years of marriage Jane and I were divorced.

Nov. 11, 1987 I married Shirley Butenhoffer.

Horace passed away and is buried at the 2nd Cemetery at Kilgore along with many other family members.